There might just be a twist in the India vs Pakistan 2023 ODI World Cup tale scheduled in Ahmedabad for October 15th.
Reports coming in that security agencies have advised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to tweak the itinerary and advance the date since October 15th coincides with the start of the Navratri festival.
If the date indeed gets changed and advanced, it will prove to be a logistical nightmare that fans from all over India and abroad will face in the lead-up to the biggest match of the tournament.
It's a known fact that India-Pakistan match tickets get sold out within hours of the window opening online. With the match being held at the Narendra Modi Stadium, the world's largest cricketing venue, one could expect almost 1.3 lakh fans to reschedule their travel plans.
It could be a humongous exercise for all parties concerned to ensure the rescheduling is done in such a way that it causes relatively less inconvenience to people.
Fans booking hospital beds in Ahmedabad
With the fan craze at its peak with recent news reports revealing that hospitals in Ahmedabad have also been booked ahead of the India-Pakistan game, it's all the more important that BCCI plans the exercise in a well thought out manner.
One could most certainly expect either mass cancellations by fans or booking at a frenzied pace. Airfares that are already sky-high could further go up if the date is advanced as being thought about.
In any case, the reports of the possibility of the date being changed has added further spice and intrigue to the Ahmedabad Blockbuster. World Cup games featuring India and Pakistan always have that extra something outside of the cricketing arena in the build-up to the match.
With Pakistan stating their confirmation of playing in Ahmedabad will only come after their government grants them the clearance, the latest update regarding date change possibilities has added to the mystery of this most awaited game of the 2023 ODI World Cup.
Team India's schedule
If the date change actually happens, what would be interesting to see is how the Indian cricket team adapts to the revised itinerary.
Team India are scheduled to open their World Cup campaign on October 8th against five-time world champions Australia at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Then they head to Delhi to play Afghanistan on October 11th after a two-day break. Now a two-day break makes sense while preparing for a match against a team like Afghanistan, who with all due respect are not exactly the same giant-killing outfit they are in the T20Is.
Now if the India-Pakistan match is advanced to the 14th instead of the 15th, India will effectively have a two-day break before possibly the biggest game of the World Cup and that's something the Indian team and management will have to evaluate.
In terms of rest and recovery and getting into match mode, Indian players will have to get their act right a lot sooner than usual.
Pakistan in a squeeze?
However, more than India, the date advancement plan could really affect Pakistan's preparations for the marquee clash in Ahmedabad.
The Pakistanis begin their World Cup with a gig against minnows Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6th. The 'Men in Green' play their second match at the same venue on October 12th against South Asian neighbours Sri Lanka.
With that schedule, the Pakistanis will have a nightmare thinking about the fact that they will just have a one-day gap if the Indo-Pak game is scheduled for the 14th instead of 15th. Not the most ideal preparation for Babar Azam and his boys while playing against your arch-rivals.
As of now, nothing is confirmed but these are tentative scenarios that we are talking about. However, if the India-Pakistan match is advanced to October 14th and the other dates remain the same, then everyone is in for a tough time and that includes not just the cricket fans.