ICC World Cup: Visa issue forces Pakistan to cancel Dubai bonding camp

Babar Azam’s men scheduled to play two warm-ups in Hyderabad

Representative image of the Pakistan cricket team. [Photo: @nibraz88cricket/X (formerly Twitter)]
Representative image of the Pakistan cricket team. [Photo: @nibraz88cricket/X (formerly Twitter)]

NH Sports Bureau

Pakistan has cancelled a two-day bonding camp in Dubai en route to India for the ICC World Cup as they are yet to receive visas for India. Babar Azam’s men, incidentally, are the only team among the nine visiting countries who are yet to receive their visas. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), according to a report in ESPN Cricinfo.com, made plans for the squad to fly out to Dubai on Monday, 25 September and stay there for a couple of days before flying out to Hyderabad late on Wednesday, 27 September. They are scheduled to play two warm-up matches – against New Zealand on 29 September and then Australia on 3 October – both at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium before the World Cup kicks off on 5 October. 

The visa delays, however, have forced them to change their travel plans as they will now leave Lahore for Dubai on Wednesday, 27 September, and fly to Hyderabad directly from there, provided the visa formalities are sorted in time. Informed sources confirmed to National Herald that Pakistan had to cancel their stopover plans in Dubai due the ‘delay of visas.’ 

Incidentally, the visa delays in travel between these two countries have become a routine affair – thanks to the political tension. While PCB had been sceptic about the visa issue for quite a while about travelling to India for the World Cup, it may be recalled that the Pakistan national football team reached India barely 24 hours before their first match against India at SAFF Championship in July. 

This will be Pakistan’s first visit to India since the 2016 T20 World Cup, while the last time they visited India for a bi-lateral series was in 2012-13. India, meanwhile, last visited Pakistan for a bilateral series in 2006 and the Asia Cup in 2008.  

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