As the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 approaches, excitement in the cricketing world is reaching a fever pitch. Most of the teams are gearing up for warm-up matches starting on Friday, 29 September, and have already commenced their training sessions in India.
However, the situation took a different turn for the Pakistan cricket team, which experienced a delay in receiving their visas until late Monday evening. According to research by Wego, the visas were finally issued around 8 PM on Monday, 25 September. This left them with only 48 hours before their scheduled departure to Hyderabad, where they are set to play their first warm-up match on Friday.
The Pakistan cricket team had been grappling with prolonged uncertainty regarding their visa approvals, prompting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to express their discontent to the International Cricket Council (ICC). The BCCI, India’s apex cricket body, had earlier stated that they had been in contact with the External Affairs Ministry regarding the issue. Visas for Pakistan teams require clearances from three ministries – Home, External Affairs, and Sports – which explains the delay.
According to their original schedule, the Pakistan cricket team, led by captain Babar Azam, was supposed to have a two-day bonding and training session in Dubai. Following that, they would arrive in India on 25 September, providing them with four days to prepare for their first warm-up match against New Zealand on 29 September. However, due to the visa delay, they had to cancel the two-day camp in Dubai and reschedule their arrival in India. According to sources, the team will now travel to Dubai on the morning of Wednesday, 27 September, and catch a flight to Hyderabad the same afternoon.
Subsequently, the Pakistan cricket team will participate in two warm-up matches before officially commencing their ICC World Cup 2023 campaign against the Netherlands on 6 October. Their much-anticipated clash will be against arch-rivals India on 14 October, to be held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
For a comprehensive schedule of matches at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, along with all the essential information you need, please refer to our dedicated article on the topic.
What about visas for fans?
In the meantime, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) are working together to secure visas for Pakistani fans who plan to attend the World Cup. However, these visas will be limited in number.
In 2016, 250 visas per match were granted to Pakistani fans and journalists during the ICC T20 World Cup held in India. While the exact allocation for this year remains uncertain, both the BCCI and ICC are engaged in discussions with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to obtain a limited number of visas. Similar to the T20 World Cup in 2016, these visas will be multi-city, as confirmed by a statement from a BCCI official.
Please note that Pakistani fans intending to attend World Cup matches in India will be required to provide proof of tickets and hotel bookings when applying for their visas.