In a significant development for cricket fans around the world, the Pakistani and Afghan cricket teams have finally been granted visas for the ICC Men's World Cup 2023 in India.
After days of uncertainty and concerns raised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over the delay in visa issuance, both teams can now gear up for the mega cricket event just days before it commences.
PCB approaches ICC
Earlier, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) approached the International Cricket Council (ICC) over visa delays.
PCB spokesperson Umar Farooq expressed disappointment over the situation and revealed that they had been reminding the International Cricket Council (ICC) of their obligations for the past three years.
"We have written to ICC raising our concerns about inequitable treatment towards Pakistan and reminding them of these obligations towards the World Cup," said Farooq. "It’s a matter of disappointment that the Pakistan team has to go through the uncertainty ahead of the major tournament."
Visa application submitted week ago
The visa application was reportedly submitted over a week ago, but as of less than 48 hours before their scheduled departure to India, the team had not received their visas. Consequently, Pakistan had to cancel its pre-World Cup team bonding event in Dubai, creating additional logistical challenges for the squad.
The team was originally scheduled to depart for Dubai on September 25 and engage in team-building exercises before flying to Hyderabad, India, for warm-up matches against New Zealand on September 29 and Australia on October 3. Pakistan's first World Cup match is set to take place on October 6 against the Netherlands.
Fans and journalists intending to cover the event also faced visa-related difficulties, as the online visa application portal remained inaccessible.
This forced many to seek the assistance of agents and incur additional expenses to facilitate the visa application process.
However, the situation appears to have taken a positive turn as both Pakistan and Afghanistan have now received their visas.
The news brings relief to cricket enthusiasts, who can now eagerly anticipate the start of the ICC Men's World Cup 2023, which promises to be a thrilling and highly competitive tournament featuring some of the world's best cricketing talent.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Friday the men's squad which will take part in this year's ICC World Cup.
Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, M Wasim Jnr, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 22, 2023