The Pakistan cricket team is concerned about playing Afghanistan in Chennai and Australia in Bengaluru. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is looking for ideas from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) about the itinerary before announcing the World Cup schedule.
A PCB source said that the board’s experts in data, analytics, and team strategy have a task to review these venues. The team management advised the board against accepting Chennai as the venue for the game against Afghanistan. The reason is historical and statistical factors favouring spinners there.
Playing Afghanistan in spin-friendly Chennai is about facing spinners like Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad. Both players showed their skills for the Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League. Bengaluru’s conditions are usually batting-friendly. It raises questions about Pakistan’s reservations about playing Australia at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The source also stated that team management recommended the ICC and BCCI reschedule Pakistan’s matches. They proposed playing Afghanistan in Bengaluru and Australia in Chennai.
A BCCI source said that the ICC’s request for venue suggestions is part of the protocol, but changing venues requires strong reasons. In 2016, Pakistan requested a venue change for the T20 World Cup in India for safety reasons. But, expressing reservations based on a team’s perceived strengths and weaknesses is a different story.
Last month, the PCB announced a new national selection committee. It would include individuals with analytics and team strategy expertise. The committee aims to incorporate data and analytics to develop a comprehensive team strategy.
The highly anticipated match against India will take place in Ahmedabad. Yet, the final decision rests with the government. Pakistan’s initial two qualifying matches will take place in Hyderabad. Other games will happen in Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad.
It is unclear whether the Pakistan team’s concerns will end in any changes to the World Cup schedule. The focus now shifts to accommodate team preferences and maintain the tournament’s integrity.