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    Visa Delays Disrupt Pakistan Cricket Team’s ICC World Cup 2023 Preparations

    Tensions and Thorny Ties Complicate Departure for Cricket's Pinnacle Event

    In a frustrating turn of events, Pakistan’s cricket team’s meticulous preparations for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India have been thrown into disarray due to unforeseen visa delays. With just 10 days remaining until the tournament’s commencement, the team’s departure has been postponed, casting a shadow over their much-anticipated campaign.

    Originally, the squad and accompanying officials had planned to embark on their journey to the United Arab Emirates last week. The itinerary included a two-day team bonding session in the vibrant city of Dubai, a crucial precursor to their participation in the World Cup. From there, they were set to proceed to India, where their inaugural match against the Netherlands is scheduled for October 6.

    However, the expedition’s timeline was unexpectedly disrupted by a protracted visa application process, shedding light once more on the complex and longstanding diplomatic tensions between the two neighboring nations.

    A spokesperson from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revealed the team’s intentions, stating, “We had meticulously planned a two-day stay in Dubai on September 25 and 26, followed by our journey to Hyderabad, India, in preparation for the pre-tournament warm-up matches. Unfortunately, our visa issuance has encountered delays beyond our control.”

    As it stands, the revised departure date for the team to Hyderabad is set for September 27, contingent upon the timely receipt of visas. However, this schedule, too, remains precarious, hinging on the arrival of the essential travel documents.

    The historical enmity between India and Pakistan, stemming from their tumultuous history since gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1947, has been a consistent source of strain. The nations have engaged in three full-scale wars and maintain stringent restrictions on cross-border movements of their citizens.

    A further complicating factor in the visa issuance process is the suspension of direct flights between India and Pakistan for over four years. This suspension follows a deterioration in relations, precipitated by New Delhi’s contentious decision to revoke the special status of Indian-occupied Kashmir.

    Pakistan’s cricket team last ventured into India in 2016 for the T20 Cricket World Cup, while India has refrained from sending its cricket team to Pakistan since 2006. The last bilateral series between the two cricketing giants occurred in 2012.

    Despite the pressing nature of the issue, the Foreigners Division of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, responsible for visa issuance to foreign travelers, has remained silent in response to inquiries made by Al Jazeera.

    With the clock ticking, Pakistan is left with limited time to regain its footing and focus on the tournament. The team is slated to participate in its first pre-tournament warm-up match in Hyderabad on September 29, with the grand event set to commence in Ahmedabad on October 5.

    As cricket enthusiasts and fans of both nations eagerly await the competition, the delay serves as a stark reminder of how politics and historical animosities can unwittingly affect the realm of sports.

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