Cricket enthusiasts around the world eagerly await the Cricket World Cup, a tournament that brings together nations to compete on the grandest stage of the sport. However, in the lead-up to the much-anticipated event, there have been significant concerns and delays regarding the issuance of visas for the Pakistan cricket team. This article delves into the latest developments surrounding the issuance of Indian visas to the Pakistan cricket team for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
Delays and Concerns
The road to the World Cup has been far from smooth for the Pakistan cricket team. Just hours before their scheduled departure to Hyderabad, where their first warm-up game against New Zealand awaits on September 29, there was an air of uncertainty. The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed that visas had been issued for the Pakistani players. Still, confusion prevailed within the Pakistan camp as the Indian High Commission had not yet provided the official clearance.
PCB’s Anxious Appeal
In response to the visa delay, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took swift action by addressing their concerns directly to ICC CEO Geoff Allardice. They expressed their apprehension about the adverse impact of this delay on the team’s preparation for the 50-over cricket extravaganza. The PCB had initially planned a two-day team bonding session in Dubai, which had to be canceled due to the uncertainty surrounding the issuance of Indian visas.
The PCB’s letter to Allardice also highlighted a long-standing issue: the inequitable treatment of Pakistan in the context of visa issuance for cricket events held in India. The PCB contended that their concerns regarding visas for players, team officials, fans, and journalists have gone unaddressed for more than three years. Such disparities in treatment were deemed unacceptable by the PCB.
Umar Farooq, the PCB spokesperson, lamented the extraordinary delays in securing Indian visas for the Pakistan team. He pointed out the team’s extensive efforts to remind the ICC of its obligations in this matter over the past three years. With the clock ticking and the first warm-up game looming, the PCB had no choice but to revise their plans, rebook flights, and adapt to the uncertain visa situation.
It’s essential to note that Pakistan’s last visit to India for cricket was during the T20 World Cup in 2016. Due to the tense relations between the two neighboring nations, cricket matches between India and Pakistan have been limited to multi-team events like the World Cup and Asia Cup.
In a recent development, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad has asked Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Agha, two members of the current Pakistan squad, to collect their passports. This could be seen as a positive step toward resolving the visa issuance issue.
India and Pakistan have suspended bilateral cricket series due to political tensions between the two nations. As a result, they only face each other in multi-team events, creating heightened anticipation and excitement whenever they clash on the cricket field.
The road to the Cricket World Cup is paved with challenges and uncertainties for the Pakistan cricket team, with visa delays casting a shadow over their preparations. As cricket fans eagerly await the tournament’s kickoff, they hope that the visa issues are swiftly resolved, allowing the players to focus on delivering their best on the field.