India to open 2019 World Cup campaign against South Africa

Two-time World Cup champion India will begin its campaign against 2015 World Cup semifinalist South Africa on June 5.

India vs South Africa 3rd ODI

The 2019 World Cup will witness a change in format, with the participating teams - reduced from 14 to 10 - playing each other in a round-robin league.   -  AFP

India will open its 2019 World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 instead of June 2 in order to comply with the Lodha Committee recommendation of maintaining a 15-day gap between the Indian Premier League (IPL) and an international event.

The IPL will be held from March 29 to May 19 next year (apparently due to the impending general elections), while the World Cup will be staged in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.

Since the proposed schedule, which pitted India against Pakistan on June 2, would have violated the Committee recommendation, the BCCI took up the matter at the International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives’ meeting here on Tuesday and ensured that the country opened its campaign on a different date than the one proposed.

In recent times, arch-rivals India and Pakistan have played each other in their respective opening encounter at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and the 2017 Champions Trophy in the UK. The 2016 World T20 was an exception where India played its first match against New Zealand.

However, following the change in the schedule , India and Pakistan will clash at Old Trafford, Manchester, on June 16, informed the official.

The 2019 World Cup will witness a change in format, with the participating teams - reduced from 14 to 10 - playing each other in a round-robin league.

The round-robin format (involving nine teams) was last adopted in 1992 when the World Cup was played for the first time in coloured clothing.

Besides, the Future Tour Programme, which was formalised for 2019-2023, ensured less workload for Indian cricketers.

"India will play a maximum 309 days of international cricket across all formats. It is a reduction of 92 days from the earlier cycle. However, the number of home Tests will increase from 15 to 19.”

Since pink ball Test matches will not feature in the ICC World Test Championship, India will not play any day-night Tests in the near future.