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Nine matches in the upcoming ODI World Cup have had their dates or start times changed, the ICC has finally confirmed, including the India-Pakistan fixture in Ahmedabad, which will now be played - as reported earlier by ESPNcricinfo - on October 14 instead of October 15. The changes were confirmed by the ICC with less than two months to go before the start of the game's showpiece event.
Pakistan, Bangladesh and England are the most affected: while three games of Pakistan have been shifted, Bangladesh and England have had two changes each in their schedule, aside from having their originally-planned day-night fixture on October 10 converted to a day game. As a result of the change in the India-Pakistan game, Pakistan's match against Sri Lanka in Hyderabad has been moved from October 12 to October 10, to give them an adequate gap leading into their India match.
But the Australia-South Africa match in Lucknow has also been brought forward a day and will take place on October 12 instead of October 13. The England-Afghanistan game in Delhi, which was originally scheduled for October 14, will be played on October 15. New Zealand's match against Bangladesh in Chennai has been changed from a day game on October 14 to a day-night fixture on October 13.
The double-header scheduled for November 12 - Australia vs Bangladesh in Pune and England vs Pakistan in Kolkata - will now be played on November 11, following concerns raised by Kolkata police to the Cricket Association of Bengal about holding a match on the same day as the Hindu festival of Kali Puja.
The league stage of the World Cup will now end with India playing Netherlands in Bengaluru on November 12, instead of November 11. The World Cup starts on October 5 with defending champions England taking on New Zealand in Ahmedabad, and culminates in the final on November 18, also in Ahmedabad. The semi-finals will be played in Mumbai and Kolkata on November 15 and 16 respectively. The ICC also announced that tickets for the event will go online from August 25.
The schedule of the 2023 ODI World Cup was released after a long delay on June 27, just 100 days before the start of the tournament on October 5 in Ahmedabad, whereas the schedules for the last two tournaments in Australia and New Zealand (2015) and England and Wales (2019) were out more than 12 months in advance.
It later emerged that the local police in Ahmedabad had raised concerns over providing adequate security on October 15, the original date of the India vs Pakistan game, which is also the first day of Navaratri, a major, nine-day Hindu festival.
Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, had, however, dismissed that as the reason. "If security was an issue then why would the match go there [to Ahmedabad] - 14-15 is not the problem," he had said after a BCCI meeting on July 27. "Two or three boards have written in, asking to change based on the logistical challenges. There are some matches where there is only a two-day gap, so it will be difficult to play and then travel next day [and then play again]."