After experiencing several delays, the Indian government finally granted visas to the Pakistan cricket squad on Monday, allowing them to travel to India for the World Cup. This confirmation was provided by Umar Farooq Kalson, a spokesperson for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
“We received a call from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to collect the passports,” he stated, expressing relief. Farooq mentioned that the national team would depart for India the following day via Dubai.
This development occurred shortly after the PCB raised concerns with the International Cricket Council (ICC) regarding the “extraordinary delays” in obtaining Indian visas. Farooq expressed disappointment at the uncertainty surrounding the major tournament and pointed out that the PCB had been reminding the ICC of its obligations for the past three years.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 22, 2023
“We were compelled to revise our plans and book new flights due to the visa delays,” the spokesperson added. ESPNcricinfo reported that the visa applications had been submitted over a week ago.
also read: when will Pakistan cricket team get visas?
As a result of these delays, the team had to cancel its pre-World Cup team bonding event in Dubai. The team was originally scheduled to depart for Dubai on September 25, spend two days there, and then proceed to India for warm-up matches against New Zealand and Australia.
Fans and journalists planning to attend the tournament had to apply for visas through the Indian High Commission’s website. However, many faced difficulties accessing the portal, leading to frustration. Some applicants resorted to using VPNs to access the site, while others had to seek assistance from agents to complete the online forms.
Even media personnel accredited by the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the ICC encountered challenges with the high commission’s website. In response, the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Sports Journalists Association called on the Indian High Commission to consider accepting hand-filled visa applications if the website issues persisted, as time was running out before the start of the mega event.