As the ICC announced the ODI World Cup fixtures, some Opposition leaders on Tuesday hinted at political interference in scheduling, raising questions over Ahmedabad getting big-ticket matches while their home states miss out.
There will be a total of 10 venues for the marquee tournament — Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Dharamsala, Delhi, Chennai, Lucknow, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Taking to Twitter, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said, “Disappointed to see that Thiruvananthapuram’s #SportsHub, hailed by many as the best cricket stadium in India, is missing from the #WorldCup2023 fixture list.”
“Ahmedabad is becoming the new cricket capital of the country, but could a match or two not have been allotted to Kerala?” he said.
Punjab Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer condemned the exclusion of Mohali from the list of host cities in the schedule released for the ODI Cricket World Cup 2023.
He described the decision as being motivated by political reasons and said the state government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann will raise the issue of this “discrimination”.
He said several high-profile matches were held in the Mohali stadium, including the world cup semi-finals in 1996 and 2011, but still it was not included to host any match this time.
He alleged that there was “political interference” in the functioning of the BCCI. “Everyone knows who is heading BCCI”.
Pointing out that Dharamshala will host five matches, Hayer said Mohali is a much bigger stadium in terms of capacity and Punjab has better facilities for hosting such games but it has been ignored.
The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world’s largest with a seating capacity of 1,32,000 spectators, 32,000 more than the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) — will play host to the big-ticket ODI World Cup group match between India and Pakistan on October 15, besides staging the grand finale on November 19, the ICC announced on Tuesday.
The tournament will begin on October 5 with a clash between defending champions England and runners-up New Zealand at the Ahmedabad stadium.
The two semifinals of the mega event will be played at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium and the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, as per the schedule announced on Tuesday
There will be 10 teams at this year’s World Cup. As hosts, India have qualified directly, as have Afghanistan, Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, and South Africa through the 2020-2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Super League.
Two other teams will make it to the World Cup through the World Cup Qualifiers, which are being currently played in Zimbabwe.