In a surprising turn of events, the Pakistani cricket team has been forced to cancel their much-anticipated “team-bonding trip” to Dubai due to a delay in the issuance of Indian visas for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023. This unexpected delay has put the team’s preparations in jeopardy as they were originally scheduled to fly to Dubai early next week before proceeding to India for the tournament.
The Green Shirts had planned to leave for India in advance of their first warm-up match against New Zealand, which is slated for September 29. However, with Indian visas still pending, the team has had to revise their travel plans. According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, Pakistan is the only team among the nine participating nations that has yet to receive their visas for the tournament.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), concerned about the visa delay, has promptly informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) about the situation. The ICC World Cup is set to kick off on October 5, leaving minimal time for teams to finalize their preparations.
Sources close to the matter have indicated that the delay in visa issuance is in direct violation of the agreement signed with the regulatory body. Furthermore, the Indian authorities have not provided any information regarding visa issuance for the Pakistani cricket team and their fans.
Over the past week, the PCB has maintained constant communication with the Indian Consulate in an attempt to expedite the visa process. Unfortunately, as of Friday, the last working day of the week, the visas had not been issued, raising further concerns within the Pakistan cricket camp.
The historically strained diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan have often posed challenges for sports teams from both nations. Bilateral cricket series between the two countries have been suspended since 2012-2013, making international tournaments like the ICC World Cup crucial for cricket fans on both sides of the border.
Pakistan’s World Cup Schedule
- October 6: vs Netherlands in Hyderabad
- October 10: vs Sri Lanka in Hyderabad
- October 14: vs India in Ahmedabad
- October 20: vs Australia in Bengaluru
- October 23: vs Afghanistan in Chennai
- October 27: vs South Africa in Chennai
- October 31: vs Bangladesh in Kolkata
- November 4: vs New Zealand Bengaluru (Day match)
- November 11: vs England in Kolkata
All day matches will commence at 10 am Pakistan Standard Time (PST), while day-night fixtures are scheduled to start at 1:30 pm PST. In case Pakistan qualifies for the semi-finals, they will play in Kolkata. If India secures a spot in the semi-finals, they will play in Mumbai, except if they face Pakistan, in which case the match will take place in Kolkata.
- Captain: Babar Azam
- Players: Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafiq, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), M Wasim Jnr, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir.
- Mohammad Haris, Zaman Khan, Abrar Ahmed.
The delay in Indian visa issuance has undoubtedly put Pakistan’s World Cup preparations under significant pressure. The cricketing world will be closely watching as the PCB and ICC work together to resolve this unexpected issue and ensure a smooth and timely arrival of the Pakistani cricket team for the tournament.