The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed concerns and urgency in an email sent to the International Cricket Council (ICC), requesting an expedited visa process for both Pakistani fans and media personnel planning to attend the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023, scheduled to commence in India on October 5.
Pakistan, currently based in Hyderabad for their preparations, is set to kick off their World Cup campaign with a match against the Netherlands on October 6. However, the PCB has been facing issues regarding visa delays, not only for the team but also for their supporters and journalists.
This isn’t the first time the PCB has approached the ICC regarding visa-related matters. Earlier, they raised concerns about the visa delays for their cricket squad. Now, another email has been dispatched to emphasize the importance of addressing the visa issues for Pakistan’s fans and media.
While it’s challenging to estimate the exact number of fans applying for Indian visas, approximately 50 journalists are expected to cover the World Cup. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has revealed that the names of these journalists are currently under scrutiny by the External Affairs Ministry.
Due to the sensitive nature of India-Pakistan relations, visa applications require clearance from multiple Indian ministries, including external affairs, home, and sports, as Pakistan is on India’s prior reference list (PRC).
The BCCI has assured that they are actively facilitating visa applications for Pakistan’s media representatives. However, the delay in providing clarity on the visa policy and processing has raised concerns among both fans and journalists.
This anxiety is particularly pertinent as Pakistan has already played its first warm-up match against New Zealand on September 29 and is gearing up for another warm-up clash against Australia on October 3.
The PCB remains hopeful that the ICC and other relevant authorities will take swift action to resolve the visa issue. There is a growing sense of anticipation and unease among Pakistan’s cricket enthusiasts and journalists, who are eager to support their team and provide comprehensive coverage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.