Pakistan-NZ World Cup warmup game in India to be played behind closed doors: reports

Published September 21, 2023
Babar Azam plays a shot during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the National Stadium in Karachi on January 11. — AFP/file
Babar Azam plays a shot during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the National Stadium in Karachi on January 11. — AFP/file

The warmup game for the cricket World Cup 2023 between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in the Indian city of Hyderabad on September 29 will be played behind closed doors, according to local media reports.

According to The Indian Express, the match would be played with no fans in attendance after the police had asked the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) to postpone the tie due to security concerns because the police would focus on religious festivals that culminate on September 28.

With the schedule being rigid, the officials decided barring the entry for the spectators, the publication reported.

Those who hold tickets for the match will be issued refunds, according to the Indian Express report published on Monday.

“The game will be played without spectators and those who have booked their tickets, their money will be refunded,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official told The Indian Express.

“Discussions have been going on for the last few days regarding the security arrangements for the warm-up match on September 29 as it is coming on the heels of the two festivals. The police have said that they will be hard-pressed to provide security for that game because of the Ganesh immersion. After much thought, it was decided to play the match behind closed doors,” Kode Durga Prasad, an official linked to the Hyderabad Cricket Association, told The Times of India on Tuesday.

Prasad confirmed that Pakistan’s other warmup game against Australia will be played in front of spectators.

The schedule for the World Cup has gone through many changes after nine matches, including the high-voltage tie between India and Pakistan, were rescheduled by the ICC last month.

The overhaul of the schedule came after the BCCI said foreign teams had requested changes.

Indian media reports said Ahmedabad officials had also raised concerns about their ability to provide adequate security because the match was originally scheduled at the start of a nine-day Hindu religious festival.

Security concerns were also reported on back-to-back matches on October 9 and 10 in Hyderabad by the police last month after the rescheduling was announced.

The match on October 9 will be played between Netherlands and New Zealand whereas Pakistan and Sri Lanka will go up against each other the following day after the tie was brought forward by two days.

The tie between Pakistan and England was also rescheduled to November 11 from November 12 which coincided with the Kali Puja festival.

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