The International Cricket Council (ICC) has admitted that it deliberately tries to put India and Pakistan in the same group at world events as it is hugely important for the success of tournaments.
India and Pakistan are set to meet in the group stage of Champions Trophy in England next year, making the mouthwatering clash a reality for the fifth tournament in succession.
“No doubt we want to try to put India versus Pakistan in our event,” ICC chief executive Dave Richardson was quoted as saying by ‘The Telegraph’.
“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.”
Richardson, however, denied that the constant clash between the arch-rivals affects the fairness of ICC events.
“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,” he added.
The draw for the eight-team tournament was announced in London on Wednesday. The Asian powerhouses will go head to head at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on June 4.
The 18-day tournament will run from June 1 to 18 and will also see matches played at the Cardiff Wales Stadium in Cardiff and The Oval in London.
A couple of days before the all-Asian clash, Australia and New Zealand will lock horns in a repeat of the 2015 World Cup final at Edgbaston.
The top eight sides as on September 30, 2015 have qualified for this tournament, with world champions Australia seeded number one. They head Group A, which also includes fourth seeds New Zealand, sixth seeds England and seventh seeds Bangladesh, who will be returning to the competition for the first time since 2006.
India lead Group B, which also comprises third seeds South Africa, fifth seeds Sri Lanka and eighth seeds Pakistan.
The top two sides from each group will progress to the semi-finals, which will be played at Cardiff and Edgbaston on June 14 and 15 respectively, with The Oval hosting the final.