ICC admits draws are fixed to have India play Pakistan in international tournaments
The ICC chief executive has admitted the draws for international tournaments are regularly fixed in order to have arch-rivals India and Pakistan in the same group. This revelation comes in the wake of the release of the 2017 Champions Trophy draws which again pitted the two countries against each other.
The tournament in 2017 will be the fifth consecutive international tournament where India and Pakistan will be playing against each other. Matches between the two countries often get upto 1 billion viewers across the world, making it one of the most-watched encounters in the sporting world and one of cricket’s most lucrative fixtures.
The long-held suspicion that the ICC tampers with the draws to put the rival nations together was confirmed publicly for the first time when ICC chief executive David Richardson spoke to the media at the Oval after revealing the draws for the Champions Trophy.
He said, “No doubt we want to try to put India versus Pakistan in our event. It’s hugely important from an ICC point of view. It’s massive around the world and the fans have come to expect it as well. It’s fantastic for the tournament because it gives it a massive kick.”
He added, “What we try and do is make sure that when you add up the rankings of the different groups, they all add up to the same number of points. You can do that in a number of ways. So long as the pools are balanced, it’s silly to avoid [the fixture] when you can fairly cater for it”, while denying that this had an effect on the integrity and fairness of tournaments.
India boast of a stellar record against Pakistan in World Cups, having never lost a game to Pakistan while Pakistan hold a 2-1 advantage over India in Champions Trophy matches. India, who are the reigning champions, will kick-off their tournament against their arch rivals at Edgbaston on 4 June 2017.
The draws for the eight-team Champions Trophy have been decided on the basis of ICC’s ODI World Rankings in September 2015. India (ranked 2nd) have been grouped with Pakistan (ranked 8th), South Africa (ranked 3rd) and Sri Lanka (ranked 5th). This format caused West Indies, the reigning Twenty20 champions to not be included in the draw as they were ranked 9th by the ICC.