PCB informs ICC as visa delay forces it to change World Cup plan

For the PCB, the plan was to fly to Dubai on September 25 and stay there for two days before flying out for Hyderabad on September 27.
FILE - An image of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men's Cricket World Cup Trophy, used for representational purposes only. (Photo | AFP)
FILE - An image of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men's Cricket World Cup Trophy, used for representational purposes only. (Photo | AFP)

CHENNAI: Despite depositing passports at the Indian Embassy in their country soon after returning home from Asia Cup, Pakistan players have yet not been issued visas to visit India for the upcoming ODI World Cup scheduled to begin on October 5. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has raised the issue with the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday and is awaiting a response from the world governing body. The delay also forced the PCB to change its plan of having a short team bonding camp in Dubai before flying out for Hyderabad.

"The passports were submitted as soon as the team returned home from the Asia Cup held in Sri Lanka. We have yet not received the visas. The ICC has been apprised of the issue as this has made the PCB to change its plan of having a two-day team bonding camp in Dubai," a PCB official in the know of developments told The New Indian Express.

For the PCB, the plan was to fly to Dubai on September 25 and stay there for two days before flying out for Hyderabad on September 27. Pakistan are supposed to play their first warm-up match against New Zealand in the city on September 29. Their second and last warm-up match is scheduled for October 3 against Australia. 

The 1992 champions begin their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6 followed by a match against Sri Lanka at the same venue on October 10. 

It has already been reported that the first warm-up match has to be played behind closed doors as Hyderabad police have expressed their inability to provide security for the same due to festive season. The PCB source, however, said the board has neither been informed by the ICC or BCCI in this regard when spoken about playing the practice match against New Zealand behind closed doors.

The two boards were at loggerheads when the BCCI refused to travel to Pakistan for the 2023 Asia Cup forcing the PCB to adopt a hybrid model for the tournament. As per the model, four matches were played in Pakistan while the remaining contests including those involving India were played in Sri Lanka. 

Incidentally, the PCB also had to negotiate with the Asian Cricket Council for awarding a reserve day for the India-Pakistan clash in the Super Four stage after their Group A game in Pallekele got washed out. The decision was slammed by all and sundry as they said it apparently had given unfair advantage to both the teams. Only the final of the continental tournament had a reserve day due to the rain threat as per the original schedule.

It is learnt that out of nine participating nations, only the Pakistan team has not been issued visas so far for the marquee event. Pakistan cricket team will be visiting India for the first time since 2016 when they competed at the T20 World Cup.

The visa issue hit the Pakistan hockey team hard last month when they visited Chennai for the Asian Champions Trophy. Their consultant Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh, Pakistan Hockey Federation president Muhammad Khalid S Khokhar and a few other support staff including a team doctor and a physiotherapist could not join the team as they were not granted visas.

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