Pakistan’s preparations for the 2023 World Cup have encountered a significant hurdle as visa issues have forced the cancellation of their two-day camp in Dubai before their journey to India for the tournament. Among the nine participating teams, Pakistan is the only one yet to secure their visas for the World Cup in India, according to ESPNCricinfo. Originally, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had planned to travel to Dubai on Monday, spend a couple of days there, and then catch a Hyderabad-bound flight late on Wednesday.
In Hyderabad, they are scheduled to play two warm-up matches, one against New Zealand on September 29 and the other against Australia on October 3, at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium before the main tournament commences two days later. However, the visa delays have led to the cancellation of their stay in Dubai. Instead, they will now fly directly from Lahore to Dubai on Wednesday, and then proceed to Hyderabad if they obtain their visas in time.
PCB officials remain hopeful that the Pakistan cricket team and support staff will receive the necessary visa approvals from India before their departure to Hyderabad. The visa delay is a reflection of the longstanding political tension between India and Pakistan, which has resulted in limited travel between the two countries.
This situation has persisted since the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, which also led to the suspension of bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan. Since that unfortunate incident, only one bilateral series between the two countries has taken place, when Pakistan, led by Misbah-ul-Haq, toured India for a short white-ball series in 2012-13.
India has not visited Pakistan for a bilateral series since 2006, with the last visit of an Indian cricket team to Pakistan occurring during the 2008 Asia Cup. This upcoming visit to India for the World Cup will mark Pakistan’s first since the 2016 T20 World Cup. Except for left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz, who was part of that squad, this will be the first trip to India for all other members of Pakistan’s 15-man World Cup squad.
Reports: Pakistan cricket team has still not got visa for participating in world cup that is starting next month in India. All other teams have got their visas on time.
— Frontalforce 🇮🇳 (@FrontalForce) September 23, 2023
The scheduling issues leading up to the Asia Cup and the World Cup underscore the political complexities between the two neighboring nations. India declined to travel to Pakistan, the original hosts of the 2023 Asia Cup, resulting in the tournament being played in a hybrid model for the first time, with all of India’s matches, including the final, held in Sri Lanka.
The PCB and BCCI engaged in extensive deliberations before reaching a consensus, with the PCB even threatening to boycott the ODI World Cup if India did not agree to participate in the Asia Cup. Once the matter was resolved through mutual understanding, the PCB expressed concerns about playing their World Cup match against India in Ahmedabad.
While the ICC initially paid no heed to their request, they were eventually compelled to move the match, originally scheduled for October 15, forward by a day. This decision was made after the Gujarat Police indicated that they would be unable to provide necessary security arrangements due to a Hindu festival coinciding with the match date.