Pakistan’s Preparations for 2023 World Cup Impacted by Visa Delays and Political Tensions with India

Pakistan’s Preparations for 2023 World Cup Impacted by Visa Delays and Political Tensions with India

Pakistan’s readiness for the 2023 Cricket World Cup has encountered a significant setback as the team reportedly had to cancel its plans for a two-day training camp in Dubai before traveling to India for the tournament due to visa-related issues. Among the nine participating teams, Pakistan is the only one yet to secure their visas for the World Cup in India, according to ESPNCricinfo.

Initially, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had scheduled a departure to Dubai on Monday, intending to spend a couple of days there before catching a flight to Hyderabad late on Wednesday. This plan included two warm-up matches against New Zealand on September 29 and Australia on October 3 at The Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad. However, due to the visa delays, the team had to cancel their Dubai stay. Instead, they will now fly directly from Lahore to Dubai on Wednesday, with the hope of subsequently obtaining their visas to continue their journey to Hyderabad on time.

This visa delay underscores the enduring political tension between India and Pakistan, which has restricted travel between the two countries since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, leading to a halt in bilateral cricket ties. Since then, only one bilateral series took place when Pakistan visited India in 2012-13 for a short white-ball series. India has not reciprocated with a visit to Pakistan for a bilateral series since 2006, with the last Indian cricket team visit to Pakistan occurring during the 2008 Asia Cup.

The upcoming World Cup marks Pakistan’s first visit to India since the 2016 T20 World Cup. Except for left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz, who was part of that squad, this trip will be the first for the rest of Pakistan’s 15-man World Cup squad to India.

The tensions between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have been evident in the scheduling disputes leading up to the Asia Cup and the World Cup. Initially, India declined to travel to Pakistan, the tournament’s original host, for the Asia Cup 2023. This led to a compromise where the tournament was played in a hybrid format, with all of India’s matches, including the final, held in Sri Lanka. However, the PCB had previously threatened to boycott the ODI World Cup if India did not agree to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.

Following this, there was another controversy regarding the World Cup match between Pakistan and India, scheduled for Ahmedabad. The PCB expressed concerns about playing in Ahmedabad, but the ICC did not accede to the request. Eventually, due to security concerns arising from a Hindu festival coinciding with the match date, the game was rescheduled to a day earlier.

In response to injury concerns, Pakistan has called up experienced fast bowler Hasan Ali to their World Cup squad, replacing the injured Naseem Shah. Hasan, renowned for his performance in Pakistan’s victory at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, is seen as the best choice to bolster the 15-man squad as they prepare to kick off their campaign against the Netherlands on October 6.

Pakistan World Cup Squad:

  • Babar Azam (captain)
  • Fakhar Zaman
  • Imam-ul-Haq
  • Abdullah Shafique
  • Mohammad Rizwan
  • Iftikhar Ahmed
  • Saud Shakeel
  • Salman Ali Agha
  • Shadab Khan
  • Mohammad Nawaz
  • Usama Mir
  • Shaheen Shah Afridi
  • Hasan Ali
  • Haris Rauf
  • Mohammad Wasim

Travelling reserves:

  • Zaman Khan
  • Abrar Ahmed
  • Mohammad Haris

Leave a Comment