Despite concerns about the early-stage crowd size and composition, International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman Greg Barclay remains confident that India will host an exceptional World Cup. The Pakistan team’s director, Mickey Arthur, criticized the ICC for not adequately supporting his side during their match against arch-rivals India in Ahmedabad’s 132,000-seat stadium.
Mickey Arthur, the South African, remarked that the game resembled more of a “BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) event” than a significant international cricket fixture. In response to a question from AFP in Mumbai on Monday, Barclay acknowledged that there are always criticisms and areas for improvement in every event.
The BCCI, known as the financial powerhouse of global cricket, faced criticism for delaying the announcement of the World Cup fixture list until just three months before the tournament started. The schedule was subsequently revamped a few weeks after its initial publication, including changes to the dates of some major matches. Fans have also voiced complaints about online ticketing problems, and matches not involving the host team have seen lower attendance.
Pakistan fans were effectively barred from attending the Ahmedabad stadium due to visa issues, resulting in an overwhelming presence of Indian supporters during India’s seven-wicket victory. Nonetheless, Barclay, speaking in Mumbai following the International Olympic Committee’s decision to include Twenty20 cricket in the 2028 Los Angeles Games, defended the organization of the World Cup and expressed his confidence in its success.
Arthur, in contrast, described the event in Ahmedabad as not meeting the standards of an ICC event and more akin to a bilateral series or a BCCI-sponsored event. He also accused the public address system organizers of favoring India by not playing “Dil Dil Pakistan,” the unofficial anthem of Pakistan. However, he refrained from using these factors as excuses.
Since the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India and Pakistan have not played a full bilateral series due to a bitter diplomatic dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad.