LONDON: The highly anticipated schedule of the upcoming World Cup will be announced only after organisers Inter­national Cricket Council’s (ICC) “consultations within the cricket system and governments”, the sport’s global governing body’s chief executive Geoff Allardice has said.

The 50-over format’s showpiece is set to start in the first week of October and its fixtures not out in the public with just three months to go before the first match is an unusual occurring.

The schedule of the 2019 edition was released 13 months before the tournament. The fixtures of the edition before that were known to the teams and the fans 18 months ahead.

Although there has been no official statement on the reason of the delay, its highly likely that it’s the ongoing deadlock between the Pakistan Cricket Board and its Indian counterpart over the upcoming Asia Cup.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has refused to send its team to Pakistan, which is to host the continental tournament in September. The Indian board is always opposed to a “hybrid model”, which the PCB had proposed as a midway solution.

BCCI’s apparent stiff stance may well result in Pakistan boycotting the World Cup, which PCB chief Najam Sethi had said was “very much a possibility”.

“… in some places, there’s a lot of consultation that needs to take place, both within the cricket system and with governments, etc,” Allardice told the BBC’s Test Match Special on Wednesday.

“When we put on events, we very much work hand in hand with the hosts.

“There’s a lot of responsibility on a host to deliver a good event, and they’ve got to go through the right checks and balances.”

Allardice was reluctant to speak on whether the matter between the PCB and the BCCI was causing the delay in the release of the schedule. “Until I see the schedule… I’m waiting, and I’m hoping that I’ll see something in the next day or two on that,” he said. “Our events team is very experienced at putting on cricket events in all different countries, and you control what you control.

“And I think that’s the approach that our team is taking, and they’re working on the things that they can progress for the event. The moment we have that information, we’ll be pushing on it at a rate of knots.”

Allardice, who made a two-day visit to the PCB’s headquarters in Lahore along with ICC chairman Greg Barclay recently, said that the schedule can come out anytime now, but said it was still subject to a few formalities.

“I think even today (Wednesday) we might be receiving the schedule from the hosts, and we’ve just got a bit of consultation to do with all the participating teams and the broadcasters,” said the official.

“Then we’ll be publishing that as soon as we possibly can.”

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2023

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