Officials ‘disappointed’ as major cricket centres miss out on staging ODI World Cup

ICC and host BCCI announced the World Cup schedule on Tuesday, finalising 10 venues for the event beginning October 5.

New Delhi: The officials of major cricket centres, which have not been allocated an ODI World Cup matches, have expressed their disappointment at missing out on an opportunity to host games of the ICC event in October-November.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) and host BCCI announced the World Cup schedule on Tuesday, finalising 10 venues for the event beginning October 5.

The established cricket centres that have missed out include Mohali, Indore, Rajkot, Ranchi and Nagpur.

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The chosen venues include Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Dharamsala, Delhi, Chennai, Lucknow, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata.

The metro cities usually get to host the World Cup games and apart from that, the matches are allocated zone wise and in some cases personal preferences come into play.

Though it is an ICC event, the world body tends to go with venues proposed by the local organising committee, which is the BCCI in this case.

Indore, which regularly gets to host international games and staged an ODI and Test earlier this year, is among the major centres to have missed out on a World Cup fixture.

Abhilash Khandekar, president of Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, expressed his disappointment.

“Indore hosted a World Cup game between Australia and New Zealand back in 1987. We feel bad that Indore has been left out. I don’t know the compulsions of the BCCI. Indore has a rich cricketing history and therefore we expected it to be a venue of the World Cup,” Khandekar told PTI.

Though the ICC doesn’t put a limit on the number of venues, the lesser the venues the lesser the logistical challenges in organising an event which lasts for a month and a half.

In the 2019 ODI World Cup, 11 venues were used though teams did not need to take flights as it was being held in England. In the 2015 edition held in the much bigger Australia, as many as 14 venues were used to stage 49 games.

The T20 showpiece, on the other hand, is wrapped up within a month as it was the case with the 2022 edition in Australia.

Officials of state units were briefed by the BCCI over venues during the IPL final last month and more recently on Monday, a day before the schedule was announced.

“We were told that 4-5 big metros will be picked plus there will be zones (north, south, west, east, central) will get a game each and Ahmedabad being the largest stadium will host the final,” said a state unit official.

Barring Hyderabad, all the chosen World Cup venues will get five games.

Ahmedabad, which has hosted the previous two IPL finals, will get to host the World Cup final, as well as the most awaited clash of the tournament — India versus Pakistan — on October 15.

“It seems only metros and cities where the office bearers are from have got games. We pushed for it really hard but could not get a game. Disappointing not to get even a practice game,” said a source in the Punjab Cricket Association which has been hosting World Cup games since 1996.

Punjab Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer claimed that leaving out Mohali from the World Cup venues was very a much political decision.

“It is good that World Cup is coming to India but it is sad that a stadium which has produced many superstars of Indian cricket, a stadium that used to be among the top five venues in the country, has not got a single game.

“On the other hand, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad is hosting the opening game as well as the final and also the big game between India and Pakistan.

“To the neighbouring Dharamsala as well you are giving them five games but Punjab has not got even one. That makes it clear that politics is being played,” he said.

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