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PCB unsure but ICC ‘confident’ Pakistan will travel to India for ODI World Cup

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New Delhi/Karachi, June 27 (PTI): The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is still apprehensive about sending its team to India for the ODI World Cup but International Cricket Council (ICC) is “confident” that the Babar Azam-led team will compete in the 50-over showpiece.

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The ICC on Tuesday announced the fixtures for the October 5-November 19 tournament and rejected PCB’s request to not schedule their matches in Chennai and Bengaluru against specific teams.

PCB did not want to play Afghanistan on a spin-friendly track in Chennai and also wanted to avoid facing Australia in Benglauru.

As part of the announcement in Mumbai, it was confirmed that Pakistan will lock horns with India in Ahmedabad on October 15 and take on Australia (October 20) and Afghanistan (October 23) at pre-decided venues.

Soon after the announcement, the PCB made it clear that its participation in the ODI World Cup will be subject to government clearance.

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“Our participation in the World Cup and us playing in Ahmedabad on October 15 or in Mumbai if we qualify for semi-finals will all be dependent on government clearance,” said a PCB official.

The PCB official said the government has not yet issued any NOC to the PCB to travel to India and since it was a sensitive issue, the Board can only move forward after getting clear directives from its government.

“We have already informed the ICC that our participation in the tournament or any issues over venues is linked to firstly the PCB getting clearance from the government to travel to India,” the official said.

Pakistan have a signed participation agreement to compete and the world governing body “100% expects them to be there and has had no indications to the contrary”.

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“All members have to abide by the rules and the laws of their country and we respect that. But we’re confident Pakistan will be in India for the men’s cricket World Cup,” an ICC spokesperson told PTI. Pakistan last played in India in 2016 in the T20 World Cup. The two teams play each other in the ICC events and Asia Cup due to the tense relations between the two countries.

The ICC not entertaining Pakistan’s request to relocate two matches was on expected lines as it usually addresses concerns over venues on potential security threat and not on cricketing grounds.

With the elections for the post of PCB chairman now postponed at least until July 17, it remains to be seen how the Board reacts to the World Cup schedule announcement.

With the Balochistan High Court issuing a stay order against the holding of elections for the Chairman’s post on Monday on petitions filed by two former members of the PCB’s cricket management committee, confusion reigns in Pakistan cricket at the moment.

After Najam Sethi’s resignation, the Board is being run by interim chairman Ahmed Shehzad Farooq Rana.

Zaka Ashraf, nominated for the chairman’s post, has to win votes of the Board of Governors to officially take charge of the key post.

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