ISLAMABAD: As the stage is set to host the West/South Asia Baseball Cup starting with the opening ceremony today (Thursday), the Indian government once again continued to play spoil sport by stopping its national baseball team at the Wagah Border for what they called team’s failure to get required NOC from the government of India.
“India team even after getting Pakistani visas was stopped at the Wagah Border by their authorities on the pretext that they were not carrying the NOC from the higher authority in India for travelling to Pakistan. The team was supposed to cross the border at around 4pm on Wednesday along with the Nepal team,” Fakhar Shah, president Pakistan Baseball Federation (PBF) said.
He added that never before the urgency of such a requirement was surfaced.
“The team travelled to Pakistan twice previously and never required any NOC that concerned authorities in India issued them before applying for Pakistani visas.
It is strange that this time around they have been asked to seek another NOC and that is from the top Indian authorities. India team and officials across Wagah were in a fix over this new development.”
Fakhar hoped that Indian baseball association would convince their authorities on the tour to Pakistan.
“Secretary Indian Baseball Harish Kumar was hopeful of getting the NOC from their concerned authorities to cross the Wagah for the West/South Asian Baseball.”
Meanwhile, following two hours of delay, the Nepal team was given permission to cross over to Pakistan. “Both Nepal and Bangladesh teams are now heading towards Islamabad by motorway to participate in the opening ceremony Thursday.”
Palestine’s team has already reached Islamabad with a few of their team members preferring to stay at a hotel rather the designated place at the PSB hostels.
“Sri Lanka team is due to arrive early Thursday while on the same day Afghanistan team will cross Pak-Afghan border to reach Islamabad,” Fakhar added.
Besides Pakistan and India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Palestine and Afghanistan are to compete in the six-day event.
The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), under the special directives of Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Ehsanur Rehman Mazari, has made special arrangements to prepare the arena for the championship.
A sum of Rs4 million has been approved by the ministry on special request from the PBF to host the event in a befitting manner.
“We are thankful to the minister and National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Sports head for their cooperation to provide the best possible facilities to the visiting teams,” baseball federation president said.
Sri Lanka are to defend their title which they last won in 2019 beating Pakistan in a nail-biter.
“Sri Lanka is one of the strongest outfits and hopefully apart from others, they will give us a tough fight.”
Fakhar also announced that Hall of Fame recipient and one of the leading names in international baseball Barry Larkin will travel to Pakistan as a special guest to watch teams in action.
“We hope that Larkin presence in the country will further generate interest in the game which has shown an upward trend in the recent past,” he said.
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