Sunday, June 16, 2024

Pakistan team gets Indian visas at 11th hour before leaving for World Cup

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The Pakistan cricket team has finally obtained their Indian visas just under 48 hours before their scheduled departure to Hyderabad for the upcoming World Cup, which is set to kick off on October 5th in Ahmedabad. This development followed a strongly-worded letter from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to the International Cricket Council (ICC), expressing their dissatisfaction with the delay in securing Indian visas for the tournament.

Under the leadership of Captain Babar Azam, the Pakistan team is now slated to depart from Lahore to Dubai early on Wednesday. From there, they will catch a flight to Hyderabad in the afternoon, where their first practice match against New Zealand is scheduled for Friday.

Originally, Pakistan had planned a two-day training camp in Dubai on Monday and Tuesday before heading to Hyderabad. However, due to the delay in obtaining Indian visas, the PCB had to cancel their training camp and reschedule their flights for Wednesday. The PCB decided to reach out to the ICC to bring attention to the visa delay, and subsequently, the Indian High Commission granted visas for the Pakistan team around 8 PM IST on Monday.

In their communication to the ICC, the PCB expressed their concerns, stating, “There has been an unacceptable delay in securing clearance and visas for the Pakistan team participating in the ICC World Cup. We have voiced our reservations about the unequal treatment of Pakistan and reminded the ICC of its responsibilities toward the World Cup.”

The statement went on to say, “It is disappointing that the Pakistan team had to grapple with uncertainty just before this crucial tournament. We have consistently reminded them of their obligations over the past three years, and it has come down to the final two days, with our first warm-up game scheduled for September 29. This compelled us to abandon our original plans for team-building activities in Dubai en route to India. We had to revise our plans and rebook flights, all contingent on the issuance of visas.”

Umar Farooq, the PCB spokesperson, also shared details of the visa application process they followed, stating, “We submitted the initial batch of passport details for the Indian visa application to the ICC on August 18. The ICC issued the visa invitation letter on August 28. After the team’s return from the Asia Cup on September 15, we submitted the visa applications, along with passports, to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on September 19.”

This latest development adds another layer of complexity to Pakistan’s journey to the World Cup. Previously, the PCB had threatened to withdraw from the tournament in India after the BCCI declined to participate in the Asia Cup in Pakistan. It was only after receiving approval from their Foreign Ministry that the Pakistan team embarked on their journey to Sri Lanka, where India played their Asia Cup matches.

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