The Indian cricket team will play their first match of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup against the Proteas aka South Africa on June 4 instead of June 2 as the BCCI will have to maintain a 15-day gap between IPL final and international tournaments as per the Lodha Committee recommendation. India, who won the 2011 World Cup and also reached the semi-finals in 2015, will be the top-favourites for the title in 2019. The ten-team consist World Cup is scheduled to play from 30 May to 14 June 2019, at 12 venues across England and Wales. Each team will play nine group matches, and the top four teams will qualify for the knockouts.
Interestingly, ICC in their various marquee events has always started with an Indo-Pak fixture which is assured to be a sell-out. It happened in the 2015 World Cup and 2017 Champions Trophy in the UK (in Birmingham). “It is the first time in Cricket World Cup history India-Pakistan match won’t be a starting clash in WC History. The format will be a round robin affair (all teams playing with each other like 1992),” the official added. The knockout stage will see two semi-finals, with the winners of each progressing to the final at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The final fixture list is expected to be announced after the completion of ICC meeting in Kolkata. ECB has indicated that the final would be held at Lord’s, and the semi-finals at Old Trafford and Edgbaston Cricket Ground. Also, the opening game of the tournament will be held at The Oval.
The officials said,”As we had decided, India will play a maximum 309 days of international cricket in this cycle across all three formats, a reduction of 92 days from the initial cycle. “However the number of home Test matches will increase from 15 to 19. All these Tests will be part of the World Test Championship,”