The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed that the warm-up match between Pakistan and New Zealand ahead of the ICC Men's World Cup 2023 match will be played behind closed doors.
This decision comes in response to recommendations from local security authorities in Hyderabad, the match's designated venue, coinciding with ongoing festivals in the area.
The simultaneous celebration of these festivals is expected to draw large crowds, necessitating the precautionary measure of playing the match behind closed doors.
"The ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 warm-up match between New Zealand and Pakistan scheduled to take place in Hyderabad on September 29 will now take place behind closed doors as per the advice of the local security agencies," the BCCI said in a statement.
"The match in Hyderabad coincides with festivals on the day and large gatherings are expected around the city. The spectators who bought tickets for the game will receive a full refund."
This match marks the initial encounter in a pair of warm-up games for Pakistan ahead of the main tournament. Pakistan's second warm-up match will take place on Tuesday, October 3, against Australia.
On the same day as Pakistan's match against New Zealand, two other warm-up games are scheduled: Bangladesh will face Sri Lanka in Guwahati, and South Africa will compete against Afghanistan in Thiruvananthapuram. Both of these fixtures are expected to have spectators in attendance.
The warm-up matches for the tournament will conclude on October 3, just before the tournament itself commences with the first match on October 5. Pakistan's debut match in the tournament will be against the Netherlands on October 6.
The scheduling of the 2023 World Cup has encountered challenges due to festivals that attract large gatherings. Several matches had to be rescheduled after the initial tournament schedule was announced due to security concerns about overlapping with public festivals.
Notably, the highly anticipated India-Pakistan fixture, originally planned for October 15 in Ahmedabad, was moved to October 14 to avoid conflicting with the commencement of Navratri, a nine-day annual festival in Gujarat.
Friday - 29 September
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati
South Africa v Afghanistan, Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
New Zealand v Pakistan, Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
Saturday - 30 September
India v England, Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati
Australia v Netherlands, Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
Monday - 2 October
England v Bangladesh, Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati
New Zealand v South Africa, Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
Tuesday - 3 October
Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati
India v Netherlands, Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
Pakistan v Australia, Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad