Political Controversy In Cricket: Why Mohali And Kerala Removed From ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 Hosting Venue?

The recently announced schedule for the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 has stirred up controversy as several prominent cities were left out as venues for the tournament. While India gears up to host the highly anticipated cricket event, the absence of cities like Mohali and Thiruvananthapuram from host venues has garnered significant attention and sparked disappointment among cricket enthusiasts and political figures alike.

The exclusion of Mohali, a well-known cricket destination in Punjab, and Thiruvananthapuram’s SportsHub, hailed as one of the best cricket stadiums in India, has left many disheartened. These omissions have raised questions about the selection process and allocation of matches, particularly considering the emphasis on newly renovated stadiums like the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, representing Kerala in Parliament, expressed his disappointment on social media regarding Thiruvananthapuram’s absence from the list. Tharoor questioned the decision to concentrate matches in Ahmedabad, branding it the “new cricket capital of India.” He urged authorities to reconsider and allocate a match or two to Kerala’s SportsHub, given its reputation and capacity.

Tharoor tweeted, “Disappointed to see that Thiruvananthapuram’s #SportsHub, hailed by many as the best cricket stadium in India, is missing from the #WorldCup2023 fixture list. Ahmedabad is becoming the new cricket capital of the country, but could a match or two not have been allotted to Kerala?”

The exclusion of Mohali and Thiruvananthapuram has raised suspicions of political interference. Punjab Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer alleged that political differences might have affected Mohali’s exclusion. With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) forming a government in Punjab, which stands against the BJP-led Centre, some see the decision as politically motivated. The Punjab government intends to raise this issue with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to seek clarification.

“The exclusion of Punjab’s Mohali from the list of host cities for the tournament was due to political interference. Punjab government will raise this issue with BCCI,” Hayer said on ANI.

The ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 schedule reveals a notable concentration of matches in cities such as Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. While these cities boast excellent cricket infrastructure and fan bases, excluding other significant venues has raised concerns about equity and inclusivity in the distribution of matches across the country.

One of the most anticipated fixtures, the India vs. Pakistan match, is scheduled to take place at the iconic Narendra Modi Stadium in Gujarat on October 15, adding to the controversy surrounding the allocation of matches. The selection of this venue for such a high-profile encounter has drawn attention and further intensified the debate.

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