Less than 48 hours before the Pakistan cricket team's scheduled departure from Dubai to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 tournament, the squad and the team management are yet to receive their travel visas as of the end of working hours on Monday.
A source revealed to Khaleej Times that the team was scheduled to leave for the UAE on Sunday night (September 24), but now they will most likely fly into Dubai on Wednesday early morning, subject to visa approval.
The plan was to spend two days in the emirate (September 25 and 26) for a team bonding session before flying to Hyderabad on September 27. However, these sessions have been cancelled due to the delay in the paperwork.
As the current situation stands, Pakistan is set to depart for Dubai in the early hours of Wednesday, September 27. They will transit in Dubai before flying to Hyderabad on the same evening. Direct flights between India and Pakistan have been suspended for over four years.
Pakistan's first World Cup warm-up match is scheduled against New Zealand on Friday, September 29 and then with Australia on October 3. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed displeasure and recorded their protest to the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the delay and warned of the adverse impact on the team's preparations for the tournament, reports GEO.
The Pakistan squad is the only participant in the World Cup without visas at the moment, and PCB, in a stern letter, wrote to the ICC that such treatment to the team will not be tolerated.
As per the process, the Indian Embassy in Pakistan needs to get the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Indian Interior Ministry. After receiving NOC the visas will be issued to the Pakistan team.
The last time Pakistan's cricket team travelled to India was in 2016 for the T20 Cricket World Cup. However, India has not sent its cricket team to Pakistan since 2006. The most recent bilateral series between the two teams was in 2012.
The ICC ODI Cricket World Cup gets underway in Ahmedabad on October 5, while Pakistan will begin their quest for the cup on October 6 against the Netherlands.
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