International Cricket Council is hopeful that match between India and Pakistan will happen as scheduled. ICC is confident that recent strained relations between South Asian neighbours will not affect cricket. Arch rivals Pakistan and India are set to face off in Cricket World Cup 2019 at Old Trafford in Manchester on 16th June 2019.
India-Pakistan rivalry is one of the most furious sporting rivalries in the world. Pakistan have better win record in head to head matches with India in tests and one day internationals. India have not played a bilateral cricket series since hosting Pakistan in 2013. Both neighbours continue to square off in ICC tournaments though. Relations between India and Pakistan have turned bitter after recent Pulwama attack.
India versus Pakistan is the most wanted match of every world cup edition. CWC 2019 has witnessed the same trend on ticket ballot. Nearly half a million applications are submitted for India-Pakistan game. It has left behind Cricket World Cup Final in popularity, that has attracted a quarter of a million applications. It is way ahead of England vs Australia fixture as well. Steve Elworthy, Managing Director of CWC 2019 revealed these stats on 100 Day Countdown to Cricket World Cup 2019 milestone at Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London. ICC CEO David Richardson displayed optimism that India vs Pakistan will be held surely.
ICC’s CEO David Richardson said: “We haven’t written to the boards as yet. We are monitoring the situation with our members including the BCCI and PCB. Certainly there are no indications any of the matches, including the Pakistan-India match, will not be played as planned at the World Cup. But as I say we will continue to monitor the situation. Sport, and cricket in particular, is perfectly placed. It has the wonderful ability to bring people together to unite communities. And hopefully cricket can be used in this fashion rather than a way of [dividing] people.”
World Cup tournament director Steve Elworthy stated: “It is probably one of the biggest sporting events in the world. You think of that match and you think of the passion, the support, the audience, the [number of] people who applied for tickets. To put that [number] in perspective, England v Australia was around 230-240,000. And the final was around about 260-270,000 applications for tickets. So that gives you a bit of perspective for the demand for this match [India v Pakistan]. It’s a big game. They could end up playing each other in the final [too], you never know.”