Babar Azam’s Pakistan will take on New Zealand in an ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 warm-up match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on September 29. However, the match will be organized without any spectators at the Hyderabad stadium, according to a decision by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) had requested the BCCI to reschedule the warm-up match involving world No. 1 ODI side but BCCI, who have already tweaked the reschedule once after announcing, refused to make any changes. According to the Indian Express newspaper, the BCCI will be issuing directions to ‘Bookmyshow’ website, the ticketing partner for the Cricket World Cup 2023, to refund the money to those who have booked tickets for the game.
“The game will be played without spectators and those who have booked their tickets, their money will be refunded,” a BCCI official confirmed to Indian Express newspaper.
Pakistan vs New Zealand warm-up match in Hyderabad will be played behind closed doors with lack of security due to festival day. [The Indian Express] pic.twitter.com/5HKIPxYKY7
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) September 19, 2023
The city police had asked the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) to postpone the game as they won’t be able to garner enough security as they are tied up with the festivals Ganesh Visarjan and Milan-Un-Nabi that culminate on September 28. With the schedule already changed once, the organisers were unable to accede to the request and have decided to ban the entry of spectators for the contest.
“The security agencies had earlier raised red-flags over the two back-to-back World Cup 2023 league games scheduled to be held on October 9 and October 10 at the Rajiv Gandhi international cricket stadium in Hyderabad. The October 10th game involves Pakistan and Sri Lanka and the match on the 9th is between New Zealand and Netherlands. Around 3,000 police personnel will be deployed for one game and a large number of police personnel will be stationed at the hotel where the Pakistan team will be put up,” the report added.
Already one of the biggest matches in the Cricket World Cup 2023 – India vs Pakistan – has been rescheduled from the original date of October 15 to October 14 due to first day of ‘Navratri’ festival. Apart from this, Kolkata was earlier scheduled to host the Pakistan vs England fixture on November 12, coinciding with the Kali Puja, a major festival in Bengal. That game has now been shifted to November 11.
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 is scheduled to get underway with a clash between defending champions England New Zealand on October 5 in Ahmedabad.