The recent announcement of the venues for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023 in India has stirred controversy and criticism from traditional state associations that were not allotted matches. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) faced heavy backlash for its decision, particularly from venues like Mohali, Indore, Rajkot, Ranchi, and Nagpur, which were excluded from hosting matches. This article delves into the concerns raised, sheds light on the explanations provided by BCCI officials, and examines the factors influencing venue selection.
The ICC World Cup 2023, scheduled for October 5 to November 19, will be played across ten venues in India. These include Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamsala, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune. Trivandrum and Guwahati have been designated as hosts for warm-up matches. However, the omission of certain renowned cricketing centres, such as Mohali, has raised eyebrows and sparked intense debates.
Mohali, a stadium with a rich history of hosting important World Cup matches since 1996, stands out as the most unexpected omission. The decision drew sharp criticism, particularly from the region, with Punjab Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer publicly expressing disappointment and accusing the BCCI of political interference in the selection process.
In response to the criticism, Rajeev Shukla, the BCCI vice president, explained that Mohali’s exclusion was not a deliberate snub but a result of certain factors. Shukla highlighted that the current stadium in Mohali did not meet the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) standards, which played a crucial role in the selection process. However, he assured that bilateral series matches would still be assigned to Mohali, emphasizing that no discrimination occurred.
“Virat Kohli’s 100th Test last year was given to Mohali. Mullanpur Stadium is getting ready in Mohali. Had it been ready, they would have got a World Cup match. The current stadium in Mohali did not meet the standards of ICC and hence was denied matches. But that does not matches would not be given to them. Bilateral series matches will be given to them, it is based on a rotational system. No ‘pick and choose’ has been done. ICC’s consent is important in finalizing the venues. In Trivandrum, warm-up matches have been given, for the first time. It is not that any centre/zone has been ignored. Stadiums have been chosen after a lot of consideration, even in North East Zone, Guwahati got the matches. A lot of accommodation has been done in the schedule,” Shukla told news agency ANI.
Shukla highlighted the extensive considerations undertaken while selecting the World Cup venues. He mentioned that the inclusion of new venues, such as Lucknow, Guwahati, and Trivandrum, aimed to provide opportunities to regions that had not previously hosted World Cup matches. Shukla further explained that a rotational system was in place for assigning matches, ensuring fair distribution among different centres and zones. The final selection of venues required approval from the ICC, emphasizing that it was not solely within the BCCI’s control.
One notable aspect of the ICC World Cup 2023 is the inclusion of twelve venues, a higher number than in previous editions. Shukla highlighted that this decision aimed to accommodate a broader range of cricketing centres across India. The selection process considered regional representation, with four venues from the South Zone, one from the Central Zone, two from the West Zone, and two from the North Zone. Delhi and Dharamshala were chosen as the North Zone hosts.