The International Cricket Council (ICC) has admitted that it often tweaks the draws of major events to get India and Pakistan into the same group.
The draw for the 2017 Champions Trophy in England saw India and Pakistan being grouped together, with defending champions India beginning their title defence against their arch-rivals at Edgbaston on June 4.
“No doubt, we try to put India versus Pakistan in our event,” said ICC chief executive Dave Richardson, according to a report in ‘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.”
It is the fifth tournament in succession where India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in the group stage. Matches between the two countries attract huge television audiences, sometimes up to one billion. It had long been suspected that the ICC was doctoring draws to guarantee fans and broadcasters regular opportunities to savour cricket’s most lucrative fixture, but this is the first time that the governing body has admitted it publicly.
Richardson denied that the ‘tweaking’ impacted the integrity of any tournament. “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 said.
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