Image Source: Twitter/Babar Azam & Rohit Sharma
ODI World Cup, the mega event of international cricket, is scheduled to take place in India later this year. However, the dates and venues are yet to be officially announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Meanwhile, rumors have been circulating that Pakistan might have to play their matches at neutral venues due to tensions between India and Pakistan.
Reports in Pakistani media suggesting that matches involving their team could be played at a neutral venue during the October-November event have been denied by an official at the global cricket body.
Recently, there were media reports claiming that Pakistan's matches in the upcoming World Cup will be relocated to a neutral venue. However, the ICC has denied these reports and distanced itself from any such comments. It is worth noting that ICC GM and ex-CEO of PCB, Wasim Khan, was quoted in some media reports stating that Pakistan's World Cup matches will be played at a neutral venue.
BCCI has already had talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) about adopting a "hybrid model" for the upcoming Asia Cup in September. This model would involve hosting the tournament in Pakistan but holding the India games in neutral venues. Reports suggest that the same model will apply for the World Cup, and Bangladesh is being touted as a possible host nation for Pakistan's matches.
The World Cup will follow the same format as the last edition in England in 2019. All 10 teams played against each other once before the semi-finalists were decided. This would mean nine Pakistan matches will be hosted in India. However, BCCI has maintained its position that it cannot play cricket in Pakistan without government permission. Pakistan is putting forth the same argument at the ICC forum.
While negotiations may be on for the Asia Cup to remain in Pakistan with only the India games and the final to be moved out, BCCI is reportedly unwilling to let PCB use this as a bargaining chip to move World Cup matches out of India. This could create a deadlock, and the situation will have to be resolved before the start of the tournament.
In conclusion, the rumor mill is working overtime regarding the venue for Pakistan's matches in the upcoming ODI World Cup. While some reports suggest that the matches could be moved to neutral venues, the ICC has denied these claims. However, negotiations are ongoing, and the final decision is yet to be made.