PCB had previously also expressed concerns about playing in Ahmedabad due to security reasons
The complete schedule of 2023 World Cup is set to be announced on Tuesday in Mumbai. Mumbai and Kolkata have been designated as the venues for the semi-final matches of the mega event, which is scheduled to begin in October.
According to a recent media report, Pakistan is not ready to play a World Cup match in Mumbai due to security concerns. Pakistan has informed ICC officials regarding their reservations.
If India qualifies for the semi-finals, they are likely to play their knock-out match in Mumbai. In the event of an India-Pakistan semi-final match, it is likely to be held at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Pakistan would prefer to play their semi-final match in Kolkata, if they qualify.
In 1991, late Hindu leader Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena party, vandalised the pitch at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium two days before Pakistan were to play a one-day series in India. Pakistan cancelled that tour, and two more in 1993 and 1994, because of security fears.
In 1999, about 25 supporters of the aforementioned party stormed New Delhi's Feroze Shah Kotla stadium, the venue of the first Test of Pakistan's first Test series on Indian soil in 12 years, and dug up the pitch.
Pakistan had previously also expressed concerns about playing in Ahmedabad due to security reasons. However, following extensive discussions and negotiations between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), a resolution was reached. The decision to resolve the issue came after the BCCI agreed to accept the PCB's proposed hybrid model for the Asia Cup. Now, the arch-rivals are expected to take on each other at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 15.
Initially, the draft schedule allocated the two semi-finals to Bengaluru and Chennai. However, a meeting between top officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and representatives of state associations in Mumbai on Monday, resulted in a decision to change the venue. Consequently, both semi-finals will now be hosted at the iconic venues of Wankhede and Eden Gardens.
Earlier this month, Cricket Pakistan reported that the PCB had sought to swap venues for their matches against Afghanistan and Australia. Specifically, they requested that their match against Australia be relocated to Chennai and their match against Afghanistan to Bengaluru.
The PCB's concern stemmed from the fact that the Chennai pitch is known to be favorable to spinners, which could pose a challenge for the Pakistani team in their match against Afghanistan. As Afghanistan possesses skilled slow bowlers, Pakistan felt apprehensive about playing them in Chennai.
Despite these concerns, the BCCI remained firm and dismissed the PCB's requests made to the ICC.
Both Wankhede and Eden Gardens have previously hosted significant World Cup fixtures. Wankhede was the venue for the 2011 World Cup final, while the final of the 1987 World Cup took place at Eden Gardens. Now, these two iconic venues will have the honor of hosting the semi-final matches of the 2023 World Cup.