Friday, May 05, 2023

Pak-India clash in ICC World Cup to be held at Narendra Modi Stadium

The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad is India’s largest by capacity. — AFP/File
The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad is India’s largest by capacity. — AFP/File

  • BCCI will announce World Cup schedule after IPL concludes.
  • Only seven venues will host India's league matches.
  • Pakistan likely to play most matches in Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata.

The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad is set to host the much-anticipated India vs Pakistan match in the ICC 50-over World Cup this October-November. 

This will be the first time the two arch-rivals face each other on Indian soil since 2016. With a seating capacity of 100,000, the stadium is the largest in India and has been selected in anticipation of a large number of fans expected to travel from abroad for the fixture.

The BCCI is set to announce the World Cup schedule at a grand launch once the Indian Premier League (IPL) concludes. The tournament is set to kick off on October 5, with venues in Nagpur, Bengaluru, Trivandrum, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Rajkot, Indore, Bengaluru, and Dharamshala shortlisted for matches.

However, only seven venues will host India's league matches, with Ahmedabad being the only venue where India could play two matches, provided the team makes it to the final. Meanwhile, Pakistan and Bangladesh could play most of their matches in Chennai, Bengaluru, Guwahati, and Kolkata, respectively.

The BCCI has consulted with the Indian team management to seek their preferences for the matches apart from the one with Pakistan. The team has requested the BCCI to allot fixtures against Australia, England, New Zealand, and South Africa to venues that aid spinners, as they prefer slow pitches to maximise their home advantage.

The state units have already given their wish list to the BCCI, but a decision on the allotment of matches to venues will be taken only by the BCCI. There is a strong chance of Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium hosting India's match against Australia, while games against New Zealand, England, and South Africa will be played in other centres with slow pitches.

The BCCI has earmarked over Rs500 crore to upgrade stadiums across the country before the World Cup. Upgrading existing infrastructure, including clean toilets, easy access, and clean seats, is a top priority for the BCCI following recent criticism over the condition of stadiums.