• Thursday, July 18, 2024

CRICKET

Pakistan’s warm-up match in India to be played behind closed doors

Babar Azam and his men will meet 2019 runners-up New Zealand on Friday

Pakistan’s cricket team captain Babar Azam speaks during a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on September 26, 2023. (Photo by ARIF ALI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

PAKISTAN’s first warm-up match ahead of the World Cup will be played behind closed doors in Hyderabad for security reasons, India’s cricket board (BCCI) said.

Babar Azam and his men will meet 2019 runners-up New Zealand on Friday (29) but fans will not be allowed inside the stadium in Hyderabad “… as per the advice of the local security agencies”, the BCCI said in a statement.

“The match in Hyderabad coincides with festivals on the day and large gatherings are expected around the city.

“The spectators who bought tickets for the game will receive a full refund.”

India and Pakistan have suspended bilateral cricket, thanks to soured political relations between the neighbours, and play each other only in multi-team events.

Pakistan players do not feature in the Indian Premier League either, which means most of them would have little knowledge of the conditions they are going to face during the showpiece event beginning on Oct. 5.

Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Babar Azam dismissed suggestions it increased the pressure on his team to do well across the border.

“There’s no such pressure,” the 28-year-old told reporters as his team prepared to leave for India via Dubai.

“Every player keeps himself ready to perform in every condition, in every country.

“Most of us have not played in India but the information we have gathered suggest conditions are going to be similar, except in Chennai maybe where spinners get more help.

“Rest of the venues will have good, sporting tracks.

“I played the 2019 World Cup as a player but this time I’m leading the side. It’s a big honour for me and our effort would be to perform well and bring home the World Cup.”

Pakistan will play two warmup matches in Hyderabad before beginning their World Cup campaign with an Oct. 6 match against the Netherlands.

Pakistan will play another warm-up match against Australia on Oct. 3 and launch their bid for a second 50-overs World Cup title against the Netherlands three days later.

The 1992 champions, who received their visas on Monday (25) after some delay, will leave for India via Dubai on Wednesday (27).

(Reuters)

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