7 Instances When Countries Refused To Play Cricket World Cup Matches

The Cricket World Cup is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, but it has also been marred by instances where countries have refused to play matches. These refusals have been motivated by a variety of factors, including security concerns, political tensions, and unforeseen events.

Countries Refused To Play Cricket World Cup

A look at past instances when cricket teams refused to play matches

Here is a look at seven instances when countries refused to play Cricket World Cup matches:

1996 World Cup – First instance of boycotting a World Cup Sri Lanka vs Australia

In the 1996 World Cup, Australia refused to travel to Sri Lanka to play their match due to security concerns following a terrorist attack by the LTTE. This gave Sri Lanka a walkover, and the teams met again in the final, which Sri Lanka won.

1996 World Cup – Sri Lanka vs West Indies

Despite assurances from the Sri Lankan government, the West Indies also withdrew from their match against Sri Lanka due to security concerns. This meant that Sri Lanka topped their group with a perfect record, while the West Indies reached the quarterfinals but were eventually eliminated.

The West Indies’ boycott was the second instance of a World Cup tie being boycotted. The first instance had occurred earlier in the same tournament, when Australia refused to travel to Sri Lanka for their match against the hosts.

2003 World Cup – Zimbabwe vs England

2003 World Cup match between Zimbabwe and England was the third instance of a World Cup tie being boycotted.

Political unrest in Zimbabwe led British Prime Minister Tony Blair to order England’s withdrawal from the match. The ICC refused to move the match to a neutral venue, so Zimbabwe were awarded a walkover. This result impacted England’s qualification, alongside Australia, India, and Zimbabwe.

2003 World Cup – Kenya vs New Zealand

Security concerns made New Zealand hesitant to travel to Kenya. The Kiwis forfeited their match, granting Kenya four points. This advantage carried to the Super Sixes, allowing Kenya to reach the semifinals for the first time.

1987 World Cup – India vs Sri Lanka

In the semifinals of the 1987 World Cup, India refused to continue their match against Sri Lanka due to crowd disruption. The game was awarded to Sri Lanka, who eventually reached the final.

2011 World Cup – England vs India

England refused to travel to Kolkata for their group match against India due to security worries over a stadium stand. The game was moved to Bangalore, affecting both teams’ travel plans.

2023 World Cup India vs Pakistan

The PCB threatened to boycott the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 in India, adding tension to the historic rivalry. Diplomatic and security issues further intensified the situation.

The Impact of Country Refusals on the Cricket World Cup

Country refusals have a significant impact on the Cricket World Cup, both on the teams involved and on the tournament as a whole.

For the teams involved, a refusal to play can mean a loss of points, which can impact their qualification for the next stage of the tournament. It can also damage their reputation and morale.

Rivcky John

A prominent figure in sports journalism for the last two decades. Cricket Analyst & Writing News, Features, Match Previews/Reviews/Reports, And Opinion Pieces on Cricket. You can connect with him on Facebook also.