In a thrilling start to their World Cup 2023 campaign, Pakistan secured a memorable victory against the Netherlands on October 6 in Hyderabad.
However, what should have been a joyous occasion for Pakistan cricket enthusiasts turned somber, as no fans or media personnel from the home country were present to support or document this significant moment. The reason? Indian visas for approximately 60 Pakistani journalists and fans have yet to be granted.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) swiftly responded to this issue, assuring everyone that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is diligently working on expediting the visa process. An ICC spokesperson stated, “This (visa) is an obligation of our host (BCCI) and they are working hard on it with our full support. Every effort is being made to get this sorted,” as reported by PTI.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed their concerns over the delay, emphasizing their long-standing efforts to remind the ICC of its obligations and the members’ agreement regarding visa issuance for fans and journalists.
A PCB spokesperson lamented, “PCB is disappointed to see that Pakistani journalists and fans are facing uncertainty about obtaining an Indian visa to cover Pakistan’s opening game in the ICC World Cup. We understand the significant role that journalists and passionate fans play in enhancing the spirit and atmosphere of sports events.”
The absence of Pakistani fans and media personnel has been deeply felt, as their presence adds vibrancy to the stadium and contributes significantly to the global coverage and appreciation of the game. The PCB spokesperson expressed hope for a speedy resolution, saying, “We hope to see their presence soon.”
With Pakistan’s highly anticipated clash against arch-rivals India scheduled for October 14 in Ahmedabad, the clock is ticking for the visa approvals. Before this epic encounter, Pakistan will face Sri Lanka on October 10 in Hyderabad, setting the stage for what could be a pivotal match.
On the other hand, India will commence their World Cup journey against Australia on October 8 and then square off against Afghanistan on October 11. With both teams eager to make their mark on the tournament, the stakes are higher than ever.