Pakistan's World Cup 2023 preparations hit a roadblock as they have been reportedly forced to cancel their plans of holding a two-day camp in Dubai before flying to India for the world event due to visa issues.
Pakistan is the only team among the nine who are yet to get their visas for the World Cup in India, reported ESPNCricinfo. The report further added that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had originally planned to fly out to Dubai on Monday, stay there for a couple of days and then board the Hyderabad-bound flight from there late on Wednesday.
Pakistan are slated to play two warm-up matches - vs New Zealand on September 29 and vs Australia on October 3 - at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad before the main rounds begin two days later.
The visa delays, however, have prompted them to cancel their stay in Dubai. They will now fly from Lahore to Dubai on Wednesday and then will fly to Hyderabad from there provided they get their visas on time. The PCB officials are hopeful that the Pakistan cricketers and support staff will get the required visa approvals from India before their departure for Hyderabad.
The visa delay is nothing new and it only highlights the political tension between India and Pakistan. Travel between the countries has been limited ever since the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 which also halted the bilateral ties between India and Pakistan. Since that unfortunate event, only one bilateral series between India and Pakistan has taken place and that was when Misbah-ul-Haq-led Pakistan travelled to India in 2012-13 for a short white-ball series.
India have not travelled to Pakistan for a bilateral series since 2006. The last time an Indian cricket team visited Pakistan was in the 2008 Asia Cup.
This will be Pakistan's first visit to India after the 2016 T20 World Cup. Apart from left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz, who was a part of that squad, It will be the first trip to India for all the other members of Pakistan's 15-man World Cup squad.
Tension between BCCI and PCB
The schedule fiasco that went on before the Asia Cup and also for the World Cup underlined the political situation between the two neighbours. India refused to travel to Pakistan, the original hosts of the tournament, for Asia Cup 2023. The tournament had to be played in a hybrid model for the first time with all of India's matches, including the final, taking place in Sri Lanka. But before reaching a consensus, there was a lot of deliberation between the PCB and BCCI. PCB had even threatened to boycott the ODI World Cup if India did not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.
After the matter was resolved with mutual understanding, the PCB expressed reservations about playing the World Cup match against India in Ahmedabad. The ICC did not pay any heed to the request but were forced to prepone the match, originally scheduled to take place on October 15, by a day as the Gujarat Police said they wouldn't be able to make necessary security arrangements for the high-profile match due to a Hindu festival's date clashing with it.