ICC denies fixing draws to place India and Pakistan in same group
India and Pakistan are placed in the same group in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
In the last few years, cricket fans all over the world have seen India and Pakistan clash against each other in ICC tournaments regularly. They have often been pitted in the same group and millions of viewers across the globe have relished the high-voltage clashes with gusto. With the increasing viewership, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been able to boost its cash flow but recently in a shocking claim, ICC chief executive David Richardson admitted that they deliberately try to put the two nations against each other in ICC events.
Recently, the two countries were placed in the same group again in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and they are slated to meet on 4 June 2017 at Edgbaston. Starting from the 2007 ICC T20 World Cup, these two countries have met each other often in ICC mega-events and their last encounter was at the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 which India won comfortably thanks to a splendid knock by Virat Kohli.
But now, according to reports, sources within the ICC have denied the tantalizing claim and tried to clarify their stance. A spokesperson said, “David Richardson has explained and clarified in the same interview that the groups were formed on the basis of the eight teams' rankings as on 30 September 2015. It is just a coincidence, like it is that Australia, England and New Zealand are in Group A, that India and Pakistan are in Group B.”
According to the logic given by the apex cricket body, the first eight teams within the stipulated timeframe of 30 September 2015 qualified for the event and the groups were formed keeping in mind the balance of the sides.
They clarified pointing out the cumulative total of ICC rankings is 18 for both groups. Australia (1), New Zealand (4), England (6) and Bangladesh (7) comprise group A and the sum total of their rankings is 18 (1+4+6+7).
Similarly, in group B, India (2), South Africa (3), Sri Lanka (5) and Pakistan (8)'s sum total of rankings is also 18. They have also pointed out that other games such as Australia-England, England-New Zealand, Australia-New Zealand are also big-ticket games like India and Pakistan.
The spokesman also added, “This method has been consistently followed for all previous events and strictly within those parameters, it has turned out that India/Pakistan have found themselves legitimately and fairly in the same group.”
Matches between the two Asian cricketing giants often accumulate close to one billion viewers across the globe and it is easily one of the most lucrative fixtures in cricket. Has Richardson really leaked a close-guarded secret? That is one question which surely will keep the viewers intrigued.