Even as the cricket-crazy India gears up for yet another edition of the Indian Premier League, the team management as well as the fans have their eyes on the bigger goal of doing well in the marquee international events. India have a massive chance at the World Test Championship final in June this year where they can prove themselves.
They would, however, also have their eyes set on the ODI World Cup later this year where they will start as the favourites in home conditions. While there were initial reports which suggested that the International Cricket Council (ICC) could agree to Pakistan matches of the tournament being played at a neutral venue like Bangladesh, a recent Cricbuzz report suggests that the ICC and BCCI has denied any such formal discussion happening.
The same report has, in fact, claimed that BCCI is mulling to host 48 matches of the tournament across 12 cities in the country with each venue getting to host four matches. While the Narendra Modi Stadium, the world’s largest cricket stadium, will host the final as per this report, Wankhede Stadium is almost confirmed to host one of the two semifinals. Meanwhile, Delhi or Chennai could host the much-anticipated India-Pakistan encounter, in sharp contrast to the earlier claims. However, nothing has yet been finalised.
The final schedule has not yet been announced by the BCCI or the ICC but the October-November window is booked for the World Cup. This will be the third World Cup which will be played on Indian soil but the prior two editions India were co-hosts sharing the hosting duties with Pakistan in 1987 and with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2011.
This is set to be the first time that the entire competition will be played in India. The Men in Blue who last won the ODI World Cup in 2011 and an ICC trophy in 2013 will look to add another trophy to their credit especially with the last three ODI World Cups won by the host countries.