At the ICC meeting in Kolkata, the 2019 World Cup draw schedule was made and fixtures announced. At the meeting, it was announced that India would play their opening game against South Africa on June 4. The tournament, to be played in England, will begin on May 30 and go on until July 14. The complete schedule is expected to be released by April 30. While the Men in Blue play Proteas in their tournament opener, they will play arch-rivals Pakistan on June 16. The match is reportedly scheduled to take place at Old Trafford.
India were intitally scheduled to play on June 2 but the game has been pushed two matches in order to abide by the Lodha Committee recommendations which require a 15-day gap between IPL and an international assignment.
“The 2019 IPL will be played between March 29 and May 19. But we need to maintain a 15-day gap and World Cup starts on May 30. Therefore as per 15 day gap we could have only played on June 4. Earlier, we were scheduled to start on June 2 but we couldn’t have played on that day,” a senior BCCI official present told news agency PTI on conditions of anonymity. “South Africa are our first opponents. The CEC agreed and the matter has been referred to the ICC board,” he further added.
After India opened their 2015 World Cup and 2017 Champions Trophy campaigns against India, it is the first time India will begin against another country. “This is the first time Indo-Pak match won’t be a starting affair. Since the format will be a round robin affair (all teams playing each other like 1992),” the official added.
In more decisions pertaining to the schedule, IPL in 2019 was earmarked for March 29 to May 19 leaving teams just under two weeks to join up with their national teammates for the 50-over format.
Additionally, with the current Future Tours Programme ending this year, it was announced that India will play 19 home Test matches during the 2019-2023 window. “As we had decided, India will play a maximum 309 days of international cricket in this cycle across formats, a reduction of 92 days from the earlier cycle. However the number of home Test matches will increase from 15 to 19. All these Tests will be part of the World Test Championship,” he added.
Among other things, ICC will deliberate on the process for the election of its chairman. The election, if required, will be held at the June-end annual conference and the ICC Board will finalise the process for it. Giles Clarke of England, who has been instrumental in organising World XI matches in Pakistan is an aspirant but incumbent Shashank Manohar is likely to be offered extension. Should Manohar accept the extension, the requirement for an election may prove futile. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) members, who recently met in Delhi, had decided to oppose his re-election but Manohar may have enough numbers if there is a situation of an election.
PCB chairman Najam Sethi and chief executive Subhan Ahmed have been granted visas to travel to India after early confusion. There were doubts if the PCB officials will be allowed entry into India but they were granted permission by the government to travel to Kolkata to attend the ICC meeting.
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