Second venue likely for women's World Cup
A decision on Pakistan's participation in the Women's World Cup is likely to be taken on Friday, with the addition of a second venue in India the most likely solution. There has been uncertainty over India's willingness to host Pakistan in Mumbai - as of now the sole venue - following recent political tensions and the threats of a regional party to disrupt the tournament; staging Pakistan's matches in another city in the same country could bypass that problem.
Both the BCCI, the hosting country, and the ICC were tight-lipped amid growing media speculation about whether Pakistan would play the tournament but late in the day the organisers confirmed that the tournament - from January 28 to February 14 - would be played in India.
"The World Cup will happen in India. It will take place at two venues. As for the Pakistan team, the BCCI and ICC are trying to work on an alternate venue. It will be finalised tomorrow," a BCCI official told ESPNcricnfo.
The ICC, too, dismissed reports that Pakistan would not be playing in the tournament. "A decision should be taken by the weekend, latest. We are working with the BCCI about the logistics," an ICC spokesperson said.
According to the existing schedule, all matches will be played in four venues across Mumbai: Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium, the Bandra-Kurla Complex Cricket ground and the Middle Income Group ground, Pakistan, in Group B, are scheduled to play their league matches against Australia (January 31), New Zealand (February 3) and South Africa (February 5).
However with the Shiv Sena remaining adamant about disallowing Pakistan to play in Mumbai, the organisers have been forced to go hunting for an additional venue. Though Kolkata and Bangalore have been reported by the media as being open to hosting Pakistan, officials from both associations denied any knowledge. "We have no information," Jagmohan Dalmiya, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president, said. A Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) official, too, said that he was unaware about any such development.
Meanwhile, the England squad lands in Mumbai tomorrow morning before heading to Pune where they will hold a preparatory camp.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor