India-Pakistan World Cup.

The October 15 India-Pakistan World Cup match in Ahmedabad is likely to be rescheduled.

With the International Cricket Council (ICC) slotting the tournament’s most anticipated game on the first day of Navratri, a festival celebrated with mass participation at garba nights across Gujarat, security agencies, it is learnt, have advised the BCCI to tweak the itinerary.

In case the date does get changed, a logistical nightmare awaits fans who have finalised travel plans for the game whose tickets get sold out within hours, and bring sky-high TRPs for broadcasters.

“We are mulling the options that we have and a decision will be taken soon. We have been told by the security agencies that a high-profile game like India vs Pakistan, for which thousands of travelling fans are expected to reach Ahmedabad, should be avoided since they will be stretched because of Navratri,” a top BCCI official, who did not wish to be identified, told The Indian Express.

Late last month, when the ICC announced the World Cup schedule, the nearly 1-lakh-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium got four marquee games – the tournament opener between New Zealand and England, India vs Pakistan, England vs Australia, and the final. The event will be held in 10 cities, with the semifinals to be held in Mumbai and Kolkata.

Reports from Ahmedabad say that most hotels are already over-booked for mid-October and even homestay options have been exhausted. A surge in airfares is expected as well. Mass cancellation and frenzied booking are on the cards if a new date for the India-Pakistan game is announced.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, BCCI secretary Jay Shah wrote to the associations hosting World Cup matches to attend a meeting in New Delhi on July 27. It is learnt that the board might apprise the members of the security concerns around Ahmedabad and finalise a new date for the match.

“I feel it will be in the best interest of all concerned that we meet again to exchange notes and take stock of any issue which needs discussion and decision. Accordingly, you are hereby requested to attend a meeting of the World Cup hosting associations,” the letter sent to all state associations states.

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