International Cricket

India to play 2019 Cricket World Cup opener against South Africa

The 2019 World Cup will be held in the UK from May 30 to July 14.

India will open their 2019 World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 and square off against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 16, a senior BCCI official told PTI on Tuesday.

The 2019 World Cup will be held in the UK from May 30 to July 14 and India will start on June 5 as the BCCI will have to maintain a mandatory 15-day gap between the IPL final and international assignment as per the Lodha Committee recommendations.

The matter was discussed during the ICC Chief Executives Meeting in Kolkata.

“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 a 15-day gap, we could have only played on June 5. Earlier, we were scheduled to start on June 2 but we couldn’t have played on that day,” a senior BCCI official present here told 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 said. The official had earlier stated that the match will be on June 4 but later corrected himself.

The clash against Pakistan will take place on June 16 in Manchester. India have never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup.

Interestingly, ICC, in their various marquee events, have started with an Indo-Pak fixture in the past which is almost always a sell-out. It happened in the 2015 World Cup in Australia (at Adelaide) and the 2017 Champions Trophy in UK (in Birmingham).

“This is the first time an 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.

Other decisions that were formalised included the FTP for the next five-year cycle from 2019-23.

“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.

It was also confirmed that India will not play any Day/Night Test match for now as it’s not a part of the World Test Championship.

“All matches in the ICC World Test Championship are day matches played with the red ball. If that’s the case, there is no point in playing pink ball Tests if it doesn’t help in preparation for World Test Championship,” he concluded.

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