Pakistan Cricket Team Arrives in India for ICC World Cup 2023
Arrival Amid Controversies
After a series of controversies revolving around visa issues, the Pakistan Cricket team has finally landed in Hyderabad, India. Following a hiatus of seven years, the team is in India to participate in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. Prior to the World Cup, they will be playing a warm-up match against New Zealand.
Pakistan’s Return to India
The last time the Pakistan Cricket team set foot in India was for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2016. The team’s plane touched down in Hyderabad, marking the beginning of their journey in the much-anticipated tournament. The team left Lahore airport for Dubai at 3:20 am, with a schedule to land in Hyderabad at 8:15 pm local time.
Team Composition and Support
The travel contingent from Pakistan comprises 18 players and 13 player support personnel. Bowling coach Morne Morkel and men’s cricket team director Mickey Arthur will join the team in Dubai and India, respectively. On the eve of their departure, the national team captain, Babar Azam, requested cricket fans for prayers and support. He expressed confidence in the team’s preparation, emphasizing the importance of fan support and well-wishing.
Visa Delays and Uncertainties
After a long delay, India issued visas to the Pakistan team, ending uncertainty surrounding Pakistan’s participation in the tournament. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) complaining about a visa delay, which it said had disrupted the team’s preparation for the mega event. Pakistan will play two warm-up matches before beginning their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on October 6. A thrilling contest is set to ensue between arch-rivals India and Pakistan on October 14 in Ahmedabad.
Security Concerns and Restrictions
Due to persisting security concerns, Pakistan’s match will be played behind closed doors in Hyderabad. The match against New Zealand ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 will take place without an audience, as per the advice of local security agencies. This decision was made keeping in mind the festivals coinciding with the match day, which are expected to result in large gatherings around the city. Fans who had purchased tickets for the match will receive a full refund.
Unequitable Treatment Allegations
The delay in issuing visas for the players and coaching staff put the team’s plans in disarray, leading to the PCB writing to the ICC to express their concerns over the “unequitable treatment” directed towards Pakistan. Direct flights between India and Pakistan have been suspended for more than four years, leading to difficulties in cross-border movements of their citizens.
Team’s Arrival and Warm Welcome
Despite the controversies and hurdles, the Pakistan cricket team finally arrived in India for the highly anticipated World Cup, which is set to commence on October 5. Fans from various countries, including the United States, have started to arrive in India to welcome and support their team. One supporter from the United States, known as Chacha Bashir, reached Hyderabad to give the Men in Green a warm welcome on their arrival.
The Road Ahead
Pakistan will be participating in warm-up matches ahead of their opening World Cup fixture against the Netherlands on October 6. The team’s schedule includes matches against several top teams, including arch-rivals India. With the support of their fans and well-wishers, the team aims to put their best foot forward and strive for excellence in the tournament.
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