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India Visa Delay Disrupts Pakistan’s ICC Cricket World Cup Preparations

Pakistan cricket team’s preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India have been disrupted due to a visa delay that has delayed the side’s departure for the event that gets under way in 10 days.

The squad and officials were scheduled to leave for the United Arab Emirates last week for a two-day team bonding session in Dubai before proceeding to India where they take on the Netherlands in their first match on October 6.

However, a delay in receiving visas for the contingent has left the team’s plans in disarray, with decades-old thorny ties between the two countries coming to the fore once again.

“We had planned to spend two days in Dubai [September 25 and 26] before flying to Hyderabad [India] ahead of the team’s pre-tournament warm-up matches,” a spokesperson of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told Al Jazeera.

“However, we had to cancel the team bonding session due to a delay in receiving our visas from India.”

The team is now scheduled to leave for the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on September 27 provided the visas are received in time.

“We will fly to Hyderabad via Dubai in the early hours of Wednesday, but this is [again] subject to the arrival of visas.”

Cross-border tension

Both countries have been bitter rivals since their independence from British rule in 1947. They have fought three wars since and have stern restrictions on cross-border movements of their citizens.

Direct flights between India and Pakistan have been suspended for more than four years following a souring of ties over New Delhi’s controversial move to revoke the special status of Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan’s cricket team last travelled to India in 2016 to participate in the T20 Cricket World Cup, while India has not sent its cricket team to Pakistan since 2006.

The last bilateral series between the two teams took place in 2012.

The Foreigners Division of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, which is responsible for issuing visas for foreign travellers, has not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for a comment.

Pakistan are scheduled to play the first of their two pre-tournament warm-up matches in Hyderabad on September 29.

The tournament gets under way in Ahmedabad on October 5.

Source : AlJazeera