The vexing visa issues for the Pakistan team has been sorted. Cricbuzz can confirm that visas for the Pakistan contingent for the World Cup has been resolved and Babar Azam & Co can now travel to India.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed the development to Cricbuzz on Monday (September 25) evening that the Indian Government has approved the visas for the Pakistan team. The Indian High Commission in Islamabad too has intimated the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that the passports of the travelling party could now be collected.
This confirmation comes hours after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed their concerns citing ‘extraordinary delay’ in securing the visas and also revealed that they had taken up the matter with the ICC. However, ICC sources told this website that the process took normal administrative procedure.
Cricbuzz understands that delay resulted because PCB submitted their applications late. Sources say the complaint that they could not travel to Dubai cuts no ice because there was always the need for biometric tests. Besides, given the dynamics of India-Pakistan diplomatic equation, a 10-day process was always in order because three ministries in India, including External Affairs and Home, are involved in the clearance of Pakistan visas.
The same procedure is adopted for all applications from Pakistan and there was no specific delay in this case. A case in point is the delay in visa issue for Usman Khawaja ahead of this year’s Border-Gavaskar Test series. Although he is now Australian, Khawaja’s application had to go through different stages resulting in his late travel.
Earlier, the PCB said it raised the concerns with ICC over what it called an inevitable treatment. PCB spokesman, Umar Farooq said, “There has been an extraordinary delays in getting clearance and securing Indian visas for the Pakistan team for ICC World Cup. We have written to ICC raising our concerns about inequitable treatment towards Pakistan and reminding them of these obligations towards the World Cup.
“It’s a matter of disappointment that Pakistan team has to go through the uncertainty ahead of the major tournament. We have been reminding about their obligations from last three years and it has all come down to last two days with our first warm game scheduled on September 29 . We were forced to cancel our original plan to organise team-building exercises in Dubai on the way to India. We have had to rework our plan and book new flights, but these plans are subject issuance of visas.”
Later the PCB confirmed that it received the intimation of the visa approval. The team will depart for Hyderabad, the venue of their first game and warm-up games, at 15.30 PM on Wednesday (September 27).
Pakistan – New Zealand warm-up game to be played behind closed doors
Meanwhile, BCCI confirmed that the official World Cup warm-up fixture between New Zealand and Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Hyderabad on September 29 will be played behind closed doors as per the advice of the local security agencies. The match in Hyderabad coincides with festivals on the day and large gatherings are expected around the city. The spectators who bought tickets for the game will receive a full refund.