World Cup 2023 – Pakistan vs New Zealand warm-up to be played behind closed doors


The ODI World Cup warm-up match between Pakistan and New Zealand, on September 29 in Hyderabad, will be played behind closed doors (without spectators in attendance) after the local police failed to provide assurance about arranging adequate security for the game. ESPNcricinfo has learned that the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) has updated the BCCI about the development.

The news, first reported by the Indian Express on Monday, will impact the fans who bought tickets for the match. It could not be confirmed whether the fans have been alerted about the development by Bookmyshow, the ticketing partners for the World Cup. The BCCI, in charge of the entire ticketing process, has so far not put out a public update.

There has been a question mark over the Pakistan vs New Zealand warm-up game, a day-night fixture, since the HCA was told by local police that it would struggle to meet the security demands put in place by the ICC, for World Cup matches including the warm-ups. This is because of two major religious festivals, which take place around the same date as the match and involve large crowd gatherings.

The HCA had updated the BCCI recently about the issue, but was confident that it would conduct the match on schedule by coming up with a back-up plan in case the match date wasn’t changed. With the tickets sold and the broadcast plans set in stone, it was not possible to shift the match date.

Earlier in August, Hyderabad police had expressed concerns over security arrangements following a tweak in the original schedule, which led to the city hosting back-to-back matches on October 9 and 10. It was a fallout of as many as nine fixtures from the original schedule being juggled once the India vs Pakistan match had to be brought forward by a day – October 15 to October 14 – as it coincided with the first day of the festival of Navratri.
The HCA aside, the Cricket association of Bengal (CAB) too had requested the BCCI to reschedule a fixture in November as it clashed with the festival of Kali Pujo. In a letter to the board, the CAB had requested for the game – England vs Pakistan on November 12 – to be played a day earlier. But the BCCI had turned the request down.

Hyderabad is one of three venues, along with Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati, that will host the warm-up segment of the tournament, to be played between September 29 and October 3, before the tournament proper starts on October 5.

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