The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is still awaiting visa clearance for its media contingent and fans to travel to India for the ongoing 2023 ODI World Cup.
Pakistan opened its World Cup campaign against the Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here, and journalists from the neighbouring country were not present to cover the game, nor were their fans.
Mohammad Bashir, better known as Bashir Chacha, was the lone Pakistani supporter present. A resident of Chicago, Mr. Bashir landed in the city a week ago, and got his ticket from a member of the Pakistani team.
According to PCB sources as many as 60 journalists have applied for Indian visas.
“Till now there is no word about the visas, and the World Cup has already started. This is not what we expected, but we are still hoping that the Indian government clears the visas,” a PCB source told Sportstar from Karachi.
The HCA, on its part, has returned the accreditation cards to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and will re-issue if the visas are cleared.
“These cards can be misused if they fall into wrong hands, and it’s a very sensitive matter. We don’t want to take any risks, as there will be a huge inflow of media from different places and other countries. We have not received any communication from the BCCI or the ICC,” a senior HCA official said.
The PCB had earlier written to the ICC regarding the delay in visas for Pakistani media and fans.
“We spoke to the ICC. The governing body should ensure that Pakistan journalists and fans get their visas for the World Cup. The visa applications were made long back,” another source said.
Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment when this publication reached out for its response.
Pakistan will next play against Sri Lanka on October 10 here in Hyderabad and then take on India in Ahmedabad on October 14.