Visas have finally been granted to Pakistan's national squad for travelling to India for the 50-overs World Cup 2023, which is slated to kick off in a matter of days, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Monday.
The ICC's visa confirmation came after several complaints by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over the delay by Indian authorities, which created massive doubts regarding Pakistan's participation in the mega event.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had taken the matter up with the cricket governing body, saying the visa delay had disrupted the team's preparation for the showpiece event in the bordering country.
"Visas have been issued to the Pakistan team," the news story quoted an ICC spokesperson as saying.
PCB spokesperson Umar Farooq also confirmed that they have been asked to collect their passports from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
The Indian High Commission (IHC) informed PCB about the progress. The side will receive visas and other documents tomorrow by 11am (Pakistan Standard Time).
Pakistan cricket team will leave for India on Wednesday morning and will reach Hyderabad via Dubai.
Due to delay in visas, PCB had to delay their pre-World Cup team bonding trip to Dubai.
The PCB sent a letter to ICC in which they raised their concerns and reminded the regulatory body about the Host-Member agreement.
“We have been discussing this issue for three years,” the letter stated. “No one paid attention to our concerns. And now the situation has gotten to the point where we are yet to receive visas.
“We are in a state of uncertainty due to ignorance of concerned authorities. We had to stay in Dubai for two days but due to this visa issue, we had to cancel that [trip].
“Whenever we contacted the concerned authority, we were told that the visas would be issued in 24 hours.
“And now, with every passing day, the uncertainty is increasing and it is worrying everyone.”
Babar Azam and Co. will play the first warm-up match on September 29 in Hyderabad followed by a second warm-up game at the same venue against Australia on October 3.
The Men in Green will start their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on October 6 while they will also face Sri Lanka on October 10 at the same venue.
Pakistan squad for ICC World Cup 2023
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.
Travelling reserves: Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan
Schedule of Pakistan's warm-up matches:
The day matches which will start at 10:00am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) while all other matches will be day-night fixtures starting at 01:30pm (PST).
If Pakistan qualify for the semi-finals, they will play in Kolkata.
If India qualify for the semi-finals, they will play in Mumbai unless playing against Pakistan, in which case they will play in Kolkata.