In a significant development for the upcoming ICC World Cup in India, the visa issues that had initially raised concerns for the Pakistan cricket team have now been successfully resolved. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has officially confirmed that the Indian Government has granted the necessary visas for the Pakistan contingent, allowing them to travel to India to participate in the prestigious cricket tournament.
This confirmation came after hours of uncertainty and apprehension within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over what was described as an “extraordinary delay” in securing the visas. The PCB had also expressed their concerns regarding the situation to the ICC. However, ICC sources later clarified that the delay was largely due to standard administrative procedures.
One crucial aspect highlighted by sources close to the ICC was that the PCB had submitted their visa applications at a relatively later stage, which contributed to the delays in processing. Additionally, the visa clearance process for Pakistan players and officials is not unique, as it follows established protocols for applications from Pakistan. This process involves various Indian ministries, including External Affairs and Home, which are collectively responsible for the clearance of Pakistani visas.
This scenario mirrors a similar delay experienced by cricketer Usman Khawaja earlier this year before the Border-Gavaskar Test series. Despite now representing Australia, Khawaja’s visa application required multiple stages and, consequently, resulted in a delayed travel schedule.
The PCB had raised concerns about this delay with the ICC, emphasizing that such treatment was both unprecedented and undesirable, especially for a major sporting event like the ICC World Cup. Umar Farooq, the PCB spokesman, commented on the situation, stating, “It’s a matter of disappointment that Pakistan team has to go through the uncertainty ahead of the major tournament.” He also expressed the PCB’s discontent with the last-minute nature of the visa clearance process.
Despite the initial setbacks and concerns, the PCB later confirmed that they had received intimation of the visa approval. Consequently, the Pakistan cricket team is now ready to depart for Hyderabad, the venue of their first World Cup match and warm-up games. This development comes as a significant relief for the team, which had to adjust travel plans and rework schedules in light of the uncertain visa situation.