The Indian government has approved visas for the Pakistan squad traveling to the ICC Cricket World Cup, just days before the team is scheduled to depart for Hyderabad via Dubai. The approval came after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed its displeasure at the delay in visa issuance and sent a formal complaint to the International Cricket Council (ICC). The PCB had also canceled a pre-World Cup team bonding trip to the UAE due to the uncertainty.
The PCB had been in regular contact with the ICC but decided to escalate the issue by writing a formal complaint, highlighting the inequitable treatment of Pakistan, the only team participating in the World Cup to face such delays. The PCB questioned what steps the ICC intended to take to resolve the issue and whether written confirmations had been provided by the BCCI or the Indian government regarding visas for all participating nations.
The delay raised concerns about whether it constituted a breach of the hosting agreement for the World Cup. Pakistan will now travel to Dubai and then Hyderabad for the tournament, with their first warm-up game against New Zealand scheduled for September 29.
The PCB expressed disappointment over the uncertainty and delays, emphasizing that it had been reminding the Indian authorities about their obligations for the past three years. The PCB’s statement highlighted the significant inconvenience caused to the Pakistan team just ahead of a major tournament. The visa process for the Pakistan squad began at the end of August, with applications submitted on September 19.
The delay in visa issuance for the Pakistan squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup has not only affected the Pakistani players but has also impacted players of Pakistani origin from other countries. Two players from the Netherlands, Shariz Ahmed and Saqib Zulfiqar, who have Pakistani origins, were unable to travel to Bengaluru for a preparatory camp organized by the Dutch board in late August due to visa delays.
The Dutch board had applied for visas for their squad on August 8, and the delay in obtaining visas affected not only the Pakistan team but also players from other countries who have Pakistani origins. The process of obtaining visas for international cricket events in India involves submitting a list of names to the BCCI, which then obtains the necessary permissions from various Indian government ministries.
The delay in visa issuance for players of Pakistani origin has raised concerns and led to travel disruptions for teams and individuals participating in cricket events in India. This issue has been a recurring problem, impacting players like Usman Khawaja of Australia in the past.