The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi, has expressed concerns to his counterpart at the International Cricket Council (ICC), Greg Barclay, regarding the scheduling of the World Cup match against arch-rivals India at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, according to sources. The PCB reportedly prefers to have its matches scheduled in Kolkata, Chennai, and Bengaluru instead. Sethi conveyed these preferences during a meeting with Barclay and ICC General Manager Geoff Allardice, who had visited Karachi to seek assurance that Pakistan would not request to play their ODI World Cup matches at a neutral venue.
A senior PCB source stated that Sethi has requested the ICC to consider scheduling Pakistan’s matches in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata, provided that the national team receives clearance from the Pakistan government to travel to India for the tournament scheduled for October and November. The source added that Sethi expressed reservations about playing in Ahmedabad, citing security concerns for the players. However, it is worth noting that the Pakistan team played at the Motera Stadium (now Narendra Modi Stadium) during their 2005 tour of India led by Inzamam ul Haq.
The PCB official also revealed that Sethi urged the ICC officials to persuade the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to accept Pakistan’s proposed Hybrid Model for the Asia Cup, although it is unlikely to be accepted. Additionally, Sethi emphasized that Pakistan would not agree to the new revenue sharing model unless its share was increased in the new five-year cycle. He argued that it was unfair for Pakistan to receive a smaller share of ICC revenues compared to Australia and England, as the latter two countries regularly engage in bilateral series with India and their players participate in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), resulting in additional revenue for their respective boards.
The BCCI and ICC officials, who are currently in London for the World Test Championship Final, are expected to finalize the World Cup schedule and venues in the coming days before circulating them to the participating nations. The concerns raised by the PCB chairman highlight the complexities involved in scheduling high-profile matches, particularly those involving rival teams, and the various factors that need to be considered, including security, logistics, and revenue distribution.