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Pak-NZ warm-up game to be played behind closed doors: reports

By Our Correspondent
September 20, 2023

KARACHI: Security issues continue to come up in the lead up to the ICC World Cup in India following reports that the warm-up game between Pakistan and New Zealand on September 29 in the south Indian city of Hyderabad will take place behind closed doors.

According to reports in the Indian media, spectators will not be allowed to witness the practice games due to security concerns. Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told The News that nothing has been conveyed to PCB by the World Cup organisers about this development. “The PCB was not aware about tickets being sold for the game and isn’t aware that the decision has been reversed and the match will be played behind closed doors,” a source in the PCB said.

According to reports, the decision to hold the warm-up match between Pakistan and New Zealand without spectators was taken after the Hyderabad city police — citing two major religious festivals, Ganesh Visarjan and Eid Milad-un-Nabi in the city — expressed their inability to provide adequate security for the match.

According to an official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), “Processions will go on late into the night and the local police would not be able to provide adequate security for a match of this scale. There will continue to be full security for both the teams during their stay and transit to the stadium.”

The BCCI, in collaboration with the hosting association and ticketing partners, will arrange for ticket refunds for the affected spectators.

Previously, the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) had requested a change in the schedule for back-to-back matches scheduled for October 9 and 10, involving New Zealand-Netherlands and Pakistan-Sri Lanka, respectively, in the city due to security concerns raised by the local police.

Although, a late change in dates was not feasible, security authorities have accommodated this request. The Pakistanis are expected to reach Hyderabad via Dubai on September 27.