ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – India vs Pakistan – ICC to review Arthur’s ‘bilateral series’ comment

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Arthur admitted after his side’s seven-wicket loss that with barely any Pakistan presence at the packed Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the team was affected by the partisan crowd. Pakistani fans were conspicuous by their absence at the ground, with no fans having received visas to travel across the border. Only a handful of Pakistani journalists made it in time to cover the match, and a small number of Pakistani-origin fans who are residents/citizens of other countries.

“Look, I’d be lying if I said it did [not affect us],” Arthur said after the match. “It didn’t seem like an ICC event, to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI event.”

Asked to respond to Arthur’s comments, ICC chairman Greg Barclay seemed to downplay them as the kind of criticism that is par for the course at such tournaments. “Every event that we have, there’s always criticisms from various quarters,” Barclay was quoted as saying by AFP in Mumbai, where he was attending the International Olympic Committee Session, which voted for T20 cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

“Things that perhaps we’ll take away and try to work on, try to do better… so this event’s only [at] the start. Let’s see how the whole thing plays out and we’ll go away and we’ll review what could change, what we can do better, how we can improve World Cups and the general offering around cricket.

“We will just take it as it plays out, get to the end of the event. I’m satisfied that it will still be an outstanding World Cup.”

While the India vs Pakistan contest was watched by a record crowd – both at the ground and globally – the organisers have not yet put out the official attendance.

The Ahmedabad venue is the largest ground in cricket in terms of capacity with over 110,000 seats.

ESPNcricinfo has sent a query to both the ICC and the BCCI, the tournament hosts. There has also been no response from ICC and BCCI to a query on to how many seats were officially put on sale for the marquee contest. When the plan for ticket sales for the tournament was released in late August, the BCCI had said September 3 was slotted solely for the India vs Pakistan game tickets. On October 8, the BCCI announced it was putting a further 14,000 tickets on sale for the match. Three days later, the BCCI put out a post on X (formerly Twitter) announcing that another set of tickets – no numbers revealed – originally meant for its official partners, was being sold.

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