Pakistan cricket team, on Wednesday arrived at Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Telangana, for the ODI World Cup, scheduled to start on October 5.
The Babar Azam-led side received a warm welcome at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. On Instagram Stories, Babar Azam shared a picture, which perfectly encapsulated the mood in Hyderabad. Sharing a photo of the grand welcome, the 28-year-old wrote, “Overwhelmed with the love and support here in Hyderabad.”
Ace Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi was also moved by the reception that he and the team received in Hyderabad. Sharing an Instagram Stories, Shaheen said, “Great welcome thus far.” On the personal front, Shaheen hosted a grand wedding reception last week to celebrate his union with Ansha Afridi, daughter of Pakistani legend Shahid Afridi.
Pakistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan seemed totally elated with the manner in which he and his teammates were welcomed in India. “Amazing reception from the people here. Everything was super smooth. Looking forward to the next 1.5 months,” Rizwan said.
This visit marks the Pakistan cricket team's first trip to India since 2016. The two arch-rivals were last involved in a bilateral series back in 2012-13. India and Pakistan have had a topsy turvy relationship marred by political tensions and as a result of their strained ties, bilateral series between the two nations have been restricted to global and continental tournaments only.
Pakistan cricket team will kick off their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on October 6. The match will be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
While talking about Pakistan’s World Cup preparations, Babar Azam had previously pointed out that his side will miss the unequivocal support of their fans. At the same time, Babar did express that he was eagerly waiting to feature in the World Cup on Indian soil.
"Unfortunately, we will be missing the fans. However, as far as I know, the games are all sold out so we will be playing in jam-packed stadiums. Although our fans will not be there, I know they will make sure their love is heard on social media. I have heard that the fans in India also show their love, although I have not experienced that as of yet but I am excited to play in India as well," Babar was quoted as saying at a pre-departure press conference.
Ahead of the World Cup opener, Pakistan will face New Zealand in a warm-up fixture on Friday. Pakistan will play their second and final warm-up match against Australia on October 3. Both the games will be played in Hyderabad.
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