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Pakistan to play nine World Cup league matches at only five venues

Pending clearance from their government, Pakistan will play their World Cup matches in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata

Fireworks go around the Narendra Modi Stadium right after CSK won their fifth IPL title, Chennai Super Kings vs Gujarat Titans, IPL 2023 final, Ahmedabad, May 29, 2023

Pakistan are scheduled to play India in Ahmedabad on October 15  •  AFP/Getty Images

Unlike the other teams, who have their league matches spread across most of the ten venues for the 2023 ODI World Cup in India, Pakistan will play their nine league matches in only five cities, according to the schedule released by the ICC and BCCI in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Pakistan begin their campaign by playing the two qualifiers from the tournament in Zimbabwe in Hyderabad on October 6 and 12, before travelling to Ahmedabad to take on India on October 15. They then travel to Bengaluru to play Australia on October 20, and onward to Chennai, where they play Afghanistan on October 23 and South Africa on October 27.
The PCB had requested the ICC to swap venues for their fixtures against Afghanistan and Australia (they wanted to play Afghanistan in Bengaluru and Australia in Chennai) a request that has not been granted.
Pakistan then head east to Kolkata for their fixture against Bangladesh on October 31 and back to Bengaluru for their match against New Zealand on November 4. Their final league match, which will take place on the last day of the league phase, is against England in Kolkata on November 12. If Pakistan qualify for the semi-finals, they will play the game in Kolkata.
They will gear up for the 2023 tournament in India with warm-up games against New Zealand and Australia on September 29 and October 3 in Hyderabad.
The World Cup schedule was finally released at an event in Mumbai just 100 days before the start of the tournament on October 5. In comparison, the fixtures for the 2019 World Cup in England and the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand were released more than 12 months in advance.
The tournament will be played across ten venues in India, with the semi-finals in Mumbai and Kolkata on November 15 and 16, and the final in Ahmedabad on November 19. The knockout games all have a reserve day provisioned. The format will be the same as it was in 2019, with ten teams playing each other once in the league phase and the top four qualifying for the semi-finals.
India qualified for the event as hosts, while Afghanistan, Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa made it by finishing in the top eight of the 2020-2023 World Cup Super League. The remaining two qualifiers will be identified at the ongoing World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, which is being played by Sri Lanka, West Indies, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Scotland, UAE, USA and Zimbabwe.

But will Pakistan travel to India at all?

Despite the World Cup schedule being announced, there is still no official confirmation from Pakistan that they will travel to India. Due to strained political relations between the two countries, Pakistan have not toured India since the 2016 men's T20 World Cup. The latest word on the matter was that Pakistan's ministry of foreign affairs was evaluating the team's participation in the World Cup and would convey its view to the PCB in due course.
"The PCB requires the Government of Pakistan's clearance for any tour to India, including the match venues. We are liaising with our government for guidance, and as soon as we hear something from them, we will update the Event Authority (ICC)," PCB communications director Sami Ul Hasan said. "This position is consistent to what we had told the ICC a couple of weeks ago when they shared with us the draft schedule and sought our feedback."
It is understood that with the term of the ruling government in Pakistan ending in August, the decision on whether the team will travel to India will be deferred until the next government takes charge. This being an election year, the government will not make a formal announcement at this stage, though tentative permission has been given. The final decision will be taken closer to the departure date, like it was when India hosted the 2016 World Cup.
Back then, Nawaz Sharif's government gave the team last-hour clearance to travel after sending a delegation to India for security reconnaissance. The PCB had threatened to pull out of the T20 World Cup in India unless they had assurance from the Indian government regarding the security of the Pakistan team, which eventually resulted in the India-Pakistan match moving from Dharamsala to Kolkata.