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No deliberate attempt to schedule Indo-Pak clash: ICC sources

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council said that there has been no deliberate attempt to schedule an India versus Pakistan encounter during next year's Champions Trophy in England as it has been widely reported in the British media.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson

In the tournament supposed to be held between June 1-18, next year, India and Pakistan have been placed in group B and are scheduled meet on June 4 at Edgbaston in Birmingham. "No doubt we want to try to put India versus Pakistan in our event," said ICC chief executive David Richardson has been quoted by the 'Daily 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 has been further quoted. But according to sources in the ICC, they feel that a wrong twist is being given to the groupings which has been done in a fair manner.

"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," an ICC spokesman told PTI yesterday.

The logic for ICC is that the first eight teams within the stipulated timeframe of September 30, 2015 qualified for the event and it has been ensured that both groups are equally strong keeping in mind the balance of the sides. Their explanation is that cumulative total of ICC seedings is 18 for both groups. Australia (1), New Zealand
(4), England (6)and Bangladesh (7) comprise group A. The sum total is 1+4+6+7 which equals 18.

Similarly, in group B, India (2), South Africa (3), Sri Lanka (5) and Pakistan (8)'s sum total of rankings is also 18. For ICC, if Indo-Pak contest is a big ticket game, so are
Australia vs England on June 10 in Edgbaston and England vs New Zealand or Australia vs New Zealand games.

"The groups were determined strictly according to the rankings as at the cut-off date and in such a way as to create parity in each group, so that one group is not stronger than
the other. This requires that the total ranking points in each group should be the same i.e. 18 points each.

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," the ICC spokesman added further.

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