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ICC ODI World Cup 2023: Will Pakistan Play?

Babar Azam scoring a run for Pakistan in an ODI match against England at Headingley Carnegie Stadium
Will we see Babar Azam and Pakistn at the ODI World Cup in October? Copyright: xMixNewsx

The ODI World Cup schedule has been finalised. The tournament will be played in October-November 2023 at 10 different venues in India. Defending champions England will clash with the 2019 World Cup finalists in the tournament opener in Ahmedabad on 5 October. The competition will end with the final set to be played in Ahmedabad on 19 November.

Ten teams will play in a round robin league, with each team playing every other once:

  • Afghanistan
  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • England
  • India
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka and Netherlands qualified for the competition via the recently concluded World Cup Qualifier tournament held in Zimbabwe. Based on their ICC rankings, the other eight teams qualified automatically.

Bookmakers Favour India to Win

Hosts India are bookmakers’ favourites to win the ODI World Cup 2023. Apart from defending champions England, 2019 finalists New Zealand, and Australia, Pakistan are counted among the strong contenders. In fact, many experts – including former India skipper Virendra Sehwag — predict that Pakistan will clash with India in the final. Given that the World Cup will be played on subcontinental wickets, this is a plausible prediction.

Most Awaited Clash: India vs Pakistan

India vs Pakistan is arguably the most awaited clash in world cricket. India and Pakistan are due to play their league match on 15 October in Ahmedabad. Not surprisingly, cricket fans and observers around the world can barely wait for this match that could prove to be a virtual rehearsal of the final.

Cloud Over Pakistan’s Participation

There has been much debate recently as to whether Pakistan will play in the ODI World Cup 2023. Many key Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials have been threatening not to travel to India. 

How the Controversy Began

The controversy erupted after India’s refusal to visit Pakistan for the upcoming Asia Cup.

Jay Shah’s Statement

In October 2022, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said that India would not go to Pakistan, in view of the political tensions between the neighbouring countries. Pakistan had been confirmed as hosts of Asia Cup 2023. Shah (who is also the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President) added that the competition would be held at a neutral venue.

PCB’s Response

In response the PCB wanted the ACC Board to call an emergency meeting to discuss what they held to be an “important and sensitive matter”. According to the PCB, Shah’s statement could cause Pakistan not to participate in the ODI World Cup 2023.  PCB officials added that Pakistan could also decide to boycott other ICC events hosted by India during the 2024–2031 cycle. In December 2022, Ramiz Raja — PCB chairman at the time – said that Pakistan might retaliate by pulling out of the Asia Cup if they were not allowed to host the tournament.

ACC’s Solution

In January 2023, ACC listed the teams and groups of the upcoming Asa Cup, including both India and Pakistan among them.

In March 2023, PCB proposed that Pakistan should continue as hosts and that India should play all their matches at a neutral venue.  However, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka did not agree to this hybrid model.

After much to and fro on the subject, on 15 June 2023, the ACC announced that the Asia Cup would follow a hybrid model. While Pakistan would host four matches, Sri Lanka would host the remaining nine, including matches involving India.

Some PCB Officials Unhappy

Even though the PCB accepted the new Asia Cup plan, some of its officials were unhappy. They demanded some changes to the ODI World Cup schedule. For instance, they said that Pakistan would not play the scheduled match versus India at Ahmedabad. They wanted the match to be shifted to another venue. Likewise, they wanted changes to the venues of Pakistan’s matches against Australia and South Africa. These matches were set to be played at Bengaluru and Chennai. However, the PCB did not give any reason for these demands.

PCB Awaits Government Clearance

PCB will await clearance from the Pakistan government before committing to participation in the ODI World Cup 2023. Before giving PCB the go ahead, a delegation of the Pakistan government will visit India. They will take stock of security arrangements in place at the proposed venues for the World Cup. Ahead of the delegation’s visit to India, Pakistan’s Inter-Provincial Coordination (Sports) Ministry is reportedly awaiting the selection of a new PCB chief.


It would be a pity if Pakistan chose not to travel to India to play in the World Cup. This would be particularly regrettable as Pakistan are expected to mount a strong bid for the trophy. Many of the players are said to be keen to play. Many ex-players of Pakistan – such as Afridi and Akram – have urged Pakistan not to withdraw from the competition. For the sake of exciting cricket, we hope fervently that Pakistan will travel to India and perform at their best level.

If you are looking to bet on the ODI World Cup you can check out out comprehensive guide on how to bet on the ODI World Cup.