World Cup 2023

Security Concerns Force Pakistan vs. New Zealand ODI World Cup Warm-Up Match Behind Closed Doors

In a surprising turn of events, the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023 warm-up match between Pakistan and New Zealand, scheduled for September 29 in Hyderabad, will be played behind closed doors due to security concerns raised by the local police. This decision comes as Hyderabad gears up for major festivals, causing the authorities to express their inability to provide the necessary security measures for the match. The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) has promptly informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about this development, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

The news, initially disclosed by the Indian Express on Monday, carries significant implications for fans who had already purchased tickets for the match. However, it remains uncertain whether Bookmyshow, the official ticketing partner for the World Cup, has communicated this development to ticket holders. As of now, the BCCI, responsible for managing the ticketing process, has not issued any public updates regarding this situation.

The uncertainty surrounding the Pakistan vs. New Zealand warm-up game, a day-night fixture, has persisted since the HCA received information from local law enforcement agencies that they would struggle to meet the stringent security requirements mandated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for World Cup matches, including warm-up matches. This predicament arises due to the simultaneous occurrence of two major religious festivals, both involving large congregations of people. Despite these challenges, the HCA had initially conveyed its confidence in proceeding with the match as scheduled, outlining a contingency plan in case the match date remained unaltered. With tickets already sold and broadcast plans firmly in place, rescheduling the match date became an impractical option.

Notably, earlier in August, the Hyderabad police had voiced similar concerns regarding security arrangements following adjustments to the original schedule. These adjustments were made primarily to accommodate back-to-back matches in the city on October 9 and 10. The reshuffling of fixtures was necessitated by the rescheduling of the highly anticipated India vs. Pakistan match, which was moved forward by a day from October 15 to October 14 due to a clash with the beginning of the Navratri festival.

In addition to Hyderabad, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) had also approached the BCCI with a request to reschedule a fixture in November, citing a conflict with the Kali Pujo festival. The CAB specifically sought a change in the date of the England vs. Pakistan match scheduled for November 12. However, the BCCI declined the request.

Hyderabad, along with Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati, is among the three venues chosen to host the warm-up matches of the ODI World Cup, scheduled to take place between September 29 and October 3. The main tournament is set to commence on October 5.

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