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Will WC Schedule Change Once Again? BCCI Reacts To HCA Security Concerns

New Delhi:

Hosting two World Cup games in as many days is not ideal for organisational as well as security reasons, said a Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) official on Sunday but BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla was clear that any further tweak in schedule is “unlikely”. After a much-delayed schedule announcement in June, the BCCI and ICC rescheduled as many as nine games earlier this month, including the marquee clash between India and Pakistan. With the Indo-Pak fixture in Ahmedabad advanced by a day on October 15, Pakistan’s game against Sri Lanka in Hyderabad was moved to October 10 from October 12. The HCA is also hosting New Zealand versus Netherlands on October 9.

Now, with Hyderabad police expressing its reservations on providing security for back-to-back games, the HCA had sought another change in schedule, wanting a gap of at least a day between the two games.

“I can’t say it would be changed for sure but back to back games are not ideal. I mean if they (BCCI) are reconsidering that will be well and good. We will have to work with security agencies.

“Anyone would want a day in between two World Cup games. We are still engaging with security agencies to see if it is possible or not. At the same time we are also keeping BCCI in the loop. The BCCI is completely aware of what we are trying to do,” said an HCA official on condition of anonymity.

However, Shukla said in an official statement that no further changes are likely as it requires involvement of multiple stakeholders.

“I am in charge of Hyderabad venue for WC. If there will be any issue or anything, will try to get it resolved. It is not easy to change the World Cup schedule and it’s unlikely to happen. Only BCCI can’t change schedule, teams, ICC, all involved,” said Shukla, who is also a Congress Rajya Sabha member. For an international game, the Hyderabad Police deploys between 2000-2500 personnel.

“Deployment also depends on nature of the game and how many people turn up. Police makes those assessments and deploys accordingly,” the HCA source added.

Considering Pakistan’s involvement in one of those games, the security is expected to be heightened.

Pakistan, who will play in India for the first time since the T20 World Cup in 2016, will have a lengthy stay in Hyderabad as they play two warm-up games before featuring in as many tournament proper matches at the venue.

Their opening fixture is against the Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on October 6.

The ticket sales for the ODI mega event start on August 25, not providing enough time to the average cricket fan to plan his or her travel.

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