Pakistan’s ICC Cricket World Cup warm up match against New Zealand to be held behind closed doors

The stadium seats will be closed to fans for Pakistan’s warm up match against New Zealand

Sonia Twigg
Friday 29 September 2023 09:37 BST
Interest has already been building in Hyderabad ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup
Interest has already been building in Hyderabad ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup (AP)

Pakistan and New Zealand will have to play their first ICC Cricket World Cup warm-up match on September 29 in Hyderabad behind closed doors.

The warm-up matches take place between 29 September and October 3 in three different cities in India, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Hyderabad.

The Cricket World Cup gets underway on 5 October when England take on New Zealand at the 134,000-seater stadium in Ahmedabad.

During the main competition the sides will all play each other once in a round-robin group format, but before that each of the 10 nations competing will play two warm-up matches.

All teams will play twice, and it should offer an opportunity for spectators to go and watch their sides, with only Hyderabad also hosting matches during the main tournament.

The Indian Express first reported that there will be no fans allowed into both sides’ first warm-up match.

While behind-closed-doors matches are not unheard of and were held across the world during the recent Covid-19 pandemic, they have also been held for other reasons, such as to prevent crowd trouble or security concerns.

Local police reportedly told the Hyderabad Cricket Association that it would be difficult to meet the security demands of the ICC concerning World Cup matches but extending to the pre-tournament games as well – largely due to two major religious festivals taking place around the same date.

Those with tickets for the game will reportedly have their money refunded.

Pakistan have already been subject to match rescheduling, with the highly anticipated game against India moved a day forward, from 15 October to the 14th to avoid clashing with a festival.

Pakistan’s first game of the tournament was unchanged, however, and they will play against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on 6 October.

The tournament scheduling has already drawn criticism from a number of fans including ticketing grievances, largely centred around the late date for venues and fixtures.

The schedule was only announced on June 27, just over three months before the start of the Cricket World Cup.

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