NEW DELHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has scheduled a high-profile Champions Trophy encounter between Pakistan and their fierce rivals India to be held in Lahore on March 1, 2023, according to a senior ICC Board member who spoke to PTI on Wednesday. However, the BCCI has not yet provided their approval for the proposed schedule.
The Champions Trophy is planned to take place from February 19 to March 9, with March 10 designated as a Reserve Day.
It is believed that PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi who attended the T20 World Cup final in Barbados as an invitee, has submitted a schedule consisting of 15 matches. All of India’s games have been allocated to Lahore, citing security and logistical considerations.
“The PCB has submitted the draft of the 15-match ICC Champions Trophy. Seven games in Lahore, three in Karachi and five in Rawalpindi,” an ICC Board member said.
“The opening match will be held in Karachi with two semifinals in Karachi and Rawalpindi, final in Lahore. All India matches (including semifinal, if the team qualifies) in Lahore,” the source added.
India find themselves in Group A, alongside their traditional rivals Pakistan, as well as Bangladesh and New Zealand. Meanwhile, Group B features cricketing powerhouses Australia, South Africa, England, and the rising Afghanistan team.
In a recent development, Chris Tetley, the ICC head of events, held a meeting with Mohsin Naqvi in Islamabad. This meeting took place following a comprehensive inspection of the venues and other arrangements by the ICC’s security team.
Pakistan’s most recent experience hosting a major cricketing event was the Asia Cup in 2023. The tournament was conducted using a unique ‘Hybrid Model’ due to the Indian government’s refusal to allow its players to travel across the border into Pakistan. As a result, India’s matches were played in Sri Lanka, while the rest of the tournament took place in Pakistan.
“All board chiefs of the ICC Champions Trophy participating countries (minus BCCI) have assured him of their complete support but BCCI will consult its government and update the ICC,” the source added.
The ICC finds itself in a challenging position, as it lacks the authority to compel any cricket board to act in opposition to its government’s directives. The BCCI is faced with a complex decision, and the cricketing world eagerly awaits its final stance on the issue.