Cricket World Cup 2023: No visa for Pakistan yet, PCB writes to ICC – Report

Pakistan cricket team in action during Asia Cup 2023© AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday raised serious concerns with the ICC over the delay in the national team’s trip to India for the Cricket World Cup due to visa issues, claiming the anxious wait has already affected its preparation for the 50-over showpiece. The PCB wrote to the ICC as it continues to wait for visa clearance from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Pakistan was supposed to have a two-day team bonding session in Dubai before their scheduled arrival in Hyderabad on September 27, but it has been canceled with Indian visa uncertainty. The Babar Azam-led team will play two warm-up matches and as many World Cup matches in Hyderabad, starting with the practice match against New Zealand on September 29.

In the letter to ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice, the PCB also claimed that its concerns about visas granted to players, team officials, fans and journalists for the World Cup in India have not been addressed for more than three years. It also added that such unfair treatment of Pakistan will not be acceptable.

“Since last week, PCB has been informed that visas will be received within 24 hours; but still pending and it has been indicated that the Indian Home Ministry has not given the NOC,” a PCB spokesperson told PTI on Monday. Pakistan last visited India for the T20 World Cup in 2016. The arch-rivals only play each other in the Asia Cup and ICC tournaments due to the strained relationship between the two countries.

PCB sources informed that flights of around 35 members of Pakistan contingent have been rebooked now that the Dubai tour has been cancelled. Subject to visas, the team will now leave for Hyderabad from Lahore in the wee hours of September 27 and reach Hyderabad via Dubai at night.

“Visa delay has resulted in a setback as far as the team’s preparation for the World Cup is concerned. The warm-up match is less than four days away and the players are in a state of uncertainty. If the players have to experience delays, a I can only speculate on what will happen to fans and journalists’ visa applications,” a source said.

Visa applications from Pakistan require approval from three ministries – Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Sports.

Pakistan’s second warm-up match will be against Australia on October 3, also in Hyderabad.

They will stay in the city for their first two World Cup matches against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka on October 6 and 10 before flying to Ahmedabad for the big game against hosts India on October 14.

Only two members from the current Pakistan squad have toured India for cricket – Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Agha.

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