India to play South Africa in World Cup 2019 opener


In a bid to maintain the Lodha Committee recommendation, which says a mandatory 15-day gap is required between the Indian Premier League (IPL) final and any global match, the South Africa game was postponed by three days from June 2 to June 5.

Acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary once again stated Indian cricket board's long-standing position that BCCI "never signed any contract" with PCB with regards to bilateral series.

In recent times, arch-rivals India and Pakistan have played each other in their respective opening encounter at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and the 2017 Champions Trophy in the UK. "Earlier, we were scheduled to start on June 2 but we couldn't have played on that day", a senior BCCI official said on conditions of anonymity.

The matter was discussed during the ICC Chief Executives Meeting here today.

The marquee clash of the 2019 World Cup between Pakistan and India will take place on June 16 in Manchester, sources have confirmed.

"South Africa are our first opponents". "It is the first time in Cricket World Cup history India-Pakistan match won't be a starting affair". The top four teams of the group will then progress to the knockout stage. "The CEC agreed and the matter has been referred to the ICC board", he further added. The complete schedule is expected to be released by April 30.

The match holds importance for other reasons as the two nations aren't playing any bilateral cricket outside the ICC tournaments due to political tensions.

Among the other decisions that were formalised included the FTP for the next five year cycle from 2019-23. "However, the number of home Tests will increase from 15 to 19".

Since pink ball Test matches will not feature in the ICC World Test Championship, India will not play any day-night Tests in the near future.

Meanwhile at the women's committee meeting, India captain Mithali Raj was asked whether she had ever been approached by bookies for match fixing, to which the right-hander who led India to the final of the World Cup previous year, said no. Mithali attended the meeting as a special invitee.