Cricket World Cup: Lucknow’s Ekana to host five matches; India, England face-off on Oct 29
First match to be played between Australia and the Proteas on Oct 13; stadium likely to help spinners due to red clay turf
With India to play host to the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, the Uttar Pradesh capital is scheduled to organise five of the 48 fixtures during the 46 days of the tournament starting October 5. The state, meanwhile, will host Men’s World Cup matches for the first time since 1996.
While the first of these five matches will take place on October 13, Lucknowites may have the fortune of witnessing a high-stakes tussle between top spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal on one side, and Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid on the other when India meet the defending champions England in a big-ticket match here on October 29.
The slow nature of the 22-yard strip at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, which will host all five fixtures, is certain to help spinners.
The match between India and England may be played on one of the five red clay turfs at the Ekana stadium, which has a total of nine turfs. “The red clay turf here is best suited for India as the wicket has turn and bounce, as well,” said a pitch expert on the condition of anonymity. “We have five red clay pitches here for all five matches,” he added.
While the 13th edition of the World Cup kicks off with a face-off between England and New Zealand at Ahmedabad on October 5, Lucknowites will get to see their first match on October 13 when the mighty Australia take on South Africa. The second match in Lucknow will take place between Australia and Qualifier 2 on October 17.
A day game between Qualifier 1 and Qualifier 2 will be played on October 21. In the final match to be played in Lucknow, Afghanistan will lock horns with Qualifier 1 on November 1.
“It’s like a dream come true. I, and many others, have been waiting for a moment like the India and England match ever since the Ekana stadium came into existence in 2016,” Ekana Sportz City’s managing director Udai Sinha said soon after the ICC officially announced the fixtures on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have successfully held several international matches and, recently, the Indian Premier League matches, and I am thankful to the ICC, as well as to the BCCI and UPCA, for giving us the hosting rights for the World Cup matches,” added Sinha.
Prior to the upcoming event, Lucknowites witnessed eight matches of a Women’s World Cup event in the 1990s played at the KD Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium. The last World Cup Men’s match in Uttar Pradesh took place in Kanpur where India took on Zimbabwe in 1996. India had won the match.
“It’s a great moment for everyone in Lucknow as it is the first time when we all will be witnessing World Cup matches here. This will allow our young athletes to watch and learn the finer points of the game,” former India cricketer Gyanendra Pandey said.