ICC confirms Cuttack switch
The ICC has confirmed that Pakistan Women and the rest of Group B will play their Women's World Cup matches in Cuttack. Originally the entire tournament had been due to be staged in Mumbai but threats by political activists against the Pakistan team's presence in the city lead to the change, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.
All of Pakistan's matches will be held at the Barabati Stadium, while Australia, New Zealand and South Africa will play their other group matches at the DRIEMS Ground. Both stadiums are in Cuttack, which is situated in the eastern state of Odisha. Some Super Six matches will also be played in Cuttack but the final remains scheduled for the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
ICC chief executive, David Richardson, said: "I am grateful for all the support ICC has received from the Board of Control for Cricket in India during a difficult situation, which was not of cricket's making. We are also indebted to the Odisha Cricket Association for making excellent grounds available at such short notice.
"We also wish to thank the competing teams and member boards for their cooperation in allowing both the ICC and BCCI the opportunity to explore the complicated logistics so that we can ensure that this event takes place on the dates scheduled in India."
Protests by the Shiv Sena, a right-wing political party, had lead to negotiations to move Pakistan's matches from Mumbai. Similarly minded political groups such as the Bajrang Dal and Kalinga Sena have opposed Pakistan's presence in Odisha but Asirbad Behera, the Odisha Cricket Association secretary, did not envisage any problems. "Odisha is a peaceful state with strong brotherhood bonds, so we hope that there will be no trouble for any team to play in Odisha," he said last week. "Still, we are taking all sorts of precautions and are in touch with the state government who have offered their support to us."
The Women's World Cup, which begins on January 31, will now be played across two cities and five stadiums. The venues in Mumbai will be the Brabourne Stadium, the MIG Club and MCA's Bandra-Kurla Complex, after the Wankhede Stadium was confirmed as the venue for the Ranji Trophy final.