India will host Pakistan for the first time in seven years after the schedule for the 2023 men's ODI World Cup was released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday.
The World Cup will begin on October 5 in Ahmedabad where defending champions England take on New Zealand in a rematch of the 2019 final. The tournament will conclude with the final on November 19, also in Ahmedabad, after the semi-finals in Mumbai and Kolkata on November 15 and 16.
Hosts India begin their tournament against Australia on October 8 in Chennai, before facing Afghanistan in Delhi on October 11. They will then face neighbours Pakistan in Ahmedabad on October 15.
India's remaining fixtures are: Bangladesh in Pune on October 19, New Zealand in Dharamsala on October 22, England in Lucknow on October 29, a qualifier in Mumbai on November 2, South Africa in Kolkata on November 5, and the other qualifier in Bengaluru on November 11.
India and most of the other teams will play nine of their 10 league games at different venues across the country, but Pakistan will play in only five cities, those being Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Kolkata. Australia, meanwhile, will play in eight cities.
Should India reach the semi-finals, they are expected to play the match in Mumbai, unless their opponents are Pakistan. In that case, the game will be moved to Kolkata.
England win 2019 Cricket World Cup
The release of the official schedule comes just 100 days before the start of the tournament, causing plenty of concern and criticism among fans and stakeholders. One of the main reasons behind the delay is the back and forth between India and Pakistan over scheduling of major tournaments, mainly for political reasons.
By comparison, the schedules for the 2019 and 2015 Cricket World Cups were released more than a year in advance.
The 2023 World Cup will follow the same format as 2019: 10 teams will be involved in the league stage and will all play each other, with the top four progressing to the knockout semi-finals.
Two qualifiers are aiming to join India, Pakistan, England, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh at the tournament. Among those still in contention to qualify are Zimbabwe, where the qualifying tournament is being played, and Sri Lanka.
However, the West Indies' hopes of reaching the tournament have been dealt a major blow after the two-time champions suffered successive shock defeats to Zimbabwe and the Netherlands.