Fearing protests and disruption, the Pakistan women's cricket team's World Cup matches have been shifted to Odisha, bringing an end to the uncertainty over the fate of the team's participation following the killing of two Indian soldiers at the border.
Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the International Cricket Council are yet to make an official announcement, tournament director Suru Naik confirmed that the matches will be shifted to Cuttack in Odisha.
All the teams in Group B, comprising New Zealand, Pakistan, Australia and South Africa, will play their matches in Cuttack. A fresh schedule is being worked out.
The BCCI had been looking for alternative venues ever since tension on the India-Pakistan border escalated, forcing all the nine Pakistani hockey players taking part in the high-profile Hockey India League to return home without playing a single match.
Originally, the entire tournament was scheduled to be held in Mumbai, but fears of widespread protests by the Shiv Sena and other right-wing organisations against the Pakistan team prompted the MCA to ask BCCI for an alternative venue.
The eight-team women's World Cup is scheduled to begin on January 31 and culminate on February 17.
Apart from the Barabati stadium in Cuttack, the Wankhede stadium, the Cricket Club of India's Brabourne stadium, the Mumbai Cricket Association's (MCA) Bandra-Kurla Complex ground and MIG Club in Bandra are venues for the matches.
As per the schedule, the Pakistan team is set to arrive in India on January 26.