Asia Cup 2023: Intriguing tale of Indian support staff in Pakistan
Indian nationals who are working with other competing teams in the Asia Cup, share their experience of visiting Pakistan
COLOMBO: While the Indian cricket team had refused to travel to Pakistan for the 2023 Asia Cup, there were a few Indian nationals whose professional commitments with other participating nations meant not only did they visit the country but also stayed there during some Asia Cup cricket games. Each had a different experience to share. Some were cautious or avoided calling home while another was carefree.
“I stayed there for more than a week but never made a call to my family," a support staff with one of the participating countries told this daily. "Anyways, the Indian SIM card was not getting registered there on the network despite activating international roaming. So only WhatsApp was working which helped me out there with the team meetings, schedule, communication and other things."
Notably, India's refusal had forced the hosts, Pakistan Cricket Board, to adopt a hybrid model for the tournament with Sri Lanka as co-hosts. Pakistan were allotted three group and one Super Four match and barring India, the remaining five teams had to play at least one match there. The six-team event also comprised Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The support staff, however, said the issue with the SIM turned out to be a blessing in disguise. "I visited Pakistan for the first time and have heard a lot of things and received a lot of advice. Most people suggested not to make calls from there as it can create troubles in future," said a support staff, who did not want to take any risk and kept in touch with their relatives in India only through messages.
While some were taking such precautions, support staff from another team did not follow such protocols. "No way I could have done that. I called my family members regularly and stayed in constant touch with them," the staff member said.
The support staff, who were taking precautions praised the hospitality in Pakistan and affirmed the security given to them was top class but said they didn't want to complicate things after returning to India. "I am a common man working as a professional with a team. I went to Pakistan for cricketing purposes. I was informed about past cases when a few calls had landed people in trouble. So I didn't want to take that risk," said the concerned support staff.