The anticipation for the upcoming ICC World Cup is palpable, but it comes with some unique circumstances. The official warm-up game between New Zealand and Pakistan, slated for September 29 in Hyderabad, will be a rather intimate affair as it will be played behind closed doors. This decision has been made in accordance with the advice of local security agencies.
One significant factor influencing this decision is the local festivals scheduled for the same day. With large gatherings expected around the city of Hyderabad, prioritizing security and crowd management becomes paramount. Consequently, the decision to hold the game without spectators has been made to ensure the safety and smooth functioning of the event.
Cricket enthusiasts who had eagerly purchased tickets for the warm-up match need not be disheartened. They will receive a full refund for their tickets, a gesture aimed at acknowledging their enthusiasm and support for the sport.
The backdrop to this decision is the recent resolution of the visa issues that had initially cast a shadow of uncertainty over the Pakistan cricket team’s participation in the ICC World Cup. The International Cricket Council (ICC) officially confirmed that the Indian Government has granted the required visas for the Pakistan contingent. This development followed concerns raised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regarding the perceived delay in visa processing.
ICC sources later clarified that the delay was largely due to standard administrative procedures and the submission of visa applications at a later stage. Importantly, they underscored that the same visa process applies uniformly to all applications from Pakistan. With the visa approval confirmed, the Pakistan cricket team is now ready to embark on their journey to Hyderabad, the site of their initial World Cup match and warm-up encounters, on Wednesday, September 27.