NEW DELHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has slotted its team’s marquee Champions Trophy match against arch-foes India in Lahore on March 1 next year but the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to give its consent to the tentative schedule, a senior ICC Board member told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency on Wednesday.

The tournament is slated from Feb 19 to March 9 with March 10 as reserve day. It is understood that PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi, who was invited to watch the T20 World Cup final in Barbados, submitted a 15-match schedule with all of India’s games kept in Lahore for security and logistical reasons.

“The PCB has submitted the draft of the 15-match ICC Champions Trophy. Seven games in Lahore, three in Karachi and five in Rawalpindi,” an ICC Board member said. “The opening match will be held in Karachi with the semi-finals in Karachi and Rawalpindi, final in Lahore. All India matches [including semi-final if the team qualifies] in Lahore,” the source added.

India has been clubbed with Pakistan, Bangladesh and New Zealand in Group ‘A’. Group ‘B’ comprises Australia, South Africa, England and Afghanistan.

Recently, ICC head of events Chris Tetley met Mohsin in Islamabad after the world body’s security team inspected the venues and other arrangements.

The last tournament that Pakistan hosted was the Asia Cup in 2023, conducted in a ‘hybrid model’ with India playing their matches in Sri Lanka as the government refused to permit the players’ travel across the border.

“All board chiefs of the ICC Champions Trophy participating countries [minus BCCI] have assured him of their complete support but BCCI will consult its government and update the ICC,” the source added.

The ICC, on its part, can’t force any Board to go against its government policy and it will be interesting to see as to when the BCCI takes a final call on the matter.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2024

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