ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s cricket team will leave for India to take part in the showpiece 50-over World Cup tournament on Wednesday, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement on Sunday.
The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will get underway from Oct. 5 in India till Nov. 19. Skipper Babar Azam’s side will begin its World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on Oct. 6 before taking on Sri Lanka on Oct. 10. On Oct. 14, Pakistan will face India in Ahmedabad in a big-ticket clash.
This will be the first time the Pakistan men’s national squad will play cricket on Indian soil since 2016, when Pakistan took part in the T20 World Cup hosted by India that year.
“Pakistan are scheduled to depart for Hyderabad in the wee hours of Wednesday,” the PCB said in a statement. “Babar Azam’s side will play their first warm-up on 29 September against New Zealand and the second and last against Australia on 3 October.”
The PCB said Team Director Mickey Arthur will join the side by Sept. 30 in India for the megaevent.
Pakistan’s plans to depart for India come amid media reports that its players are still awaiting visas to travel to India. Cricket website ESPNcricinfo said in a report that Pakistan were forced to cancel a team bonding trip in Dubai as the team was waiting for their visas to arrive on Friday.
“The Pakistan squad was due to fly to the UAE early next week and stay for a couple of days before flying to Hyderabad, ahead of their first warm-up game against New Zealand on September 29,” ESPNcricinfo said.
“Instead, Pakistan now plan to fly out of Lahore to Dubai early next Wednesday and fly to Hyderabad from there.”
As per the website, out of the nine teams participating in the World Cup, Pakistan remains the only one awaiting visas to travel to India.
Political tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors mean India and Pakistan play each other only at international venues. The last time a bilateral series was played between the two sides was in 2013 when Pakistan traveled to India for a cricket series.