The historic Ferozeshah Kotla grounds at the Arun Jaitley Stadium will host five out of 48 matches of the ODI Cricket World Cup to be held in India in October-November this year, according to the schedule released by International Cricket Council (ICC).
Delhi’s first match in the tournament, which starts on October 5 in Ahmedabad, will be played on October 7 between South Africa and Qualifier 2 (runners-up of the ongoing Cricket World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe).
This will be followed by India’s match against Afghanistan on October 11, England vs Afghanistan on October 15, Australia vs Qualifier 1 (winners of World Cup qualifiers) on October 25 and Bangladesh against Qualifier 2 on November 6.
“It is a good schedule with games involving big teams (South Africa, England, Australia and host India all play here). It is pleasure to host these games. We are expecting a great crowd for the matches,” said Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rohan Jaitley to Patriot on Tuesday.
A concern with the schedule is that there won’t be a match involving top Test teams against each other in Delhi unlike other big venues like Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad or even Lucknow and Dharamsala.
As many as 10 cities will host the main round games (Hyderabad and Pune being the others).
Hyderabad is also one of the three cities to host warm-up matches along with Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram.
However, Jaitley says that since it is a World Cup, the matches will be houseful.
“We are hoping it will be houseful since these are World Cup matches,” he added.
The Kotla grounds have been relaid this season and that is the major reason why none of the DDCA Hot Weather league games could be played there.
“The grass in the outfield has been redone. The BCCI and ICC teams will recce the ground in the third week of July like they’ll do other venues,” said DDCA Joint secretary Rajan Manchanda to Patriot.
Manchanda also pointed out that Delhi would have at least got a match involving top nations since West Indies were expected to come through the qualifiers.
“We did not expect that they will do so badly in the ongoing qualifying tournament and will face a serious risk of losing out on a spot,” added Manchanda.
Ahmedabad, which is the home of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah, has got plenty of high-profile games at its Narendra Modi Stadium including India vs Pakistan on October 15 and the final on November 19.