The pre-World Cup team bonding trip to Dubai, initially planned by Pakistan, has been called off due to visa delays for their travel to India as of Friday.
Initially, the Pakistan team was scheduled to travel to the UAE in the coming week and stay for a brief period before heading to Hyderabad for their first warm-up match against New Zealand on September 29.
However, the revised plan now involves the team departing from Lahore to Dubai on the following Wednesday and then proceeding to Hyderabad.
PCB is sure the team can reach Hyderabad for the warm-up match against New Zealand
While the situation has raised concerns, there is a prevailing optimism that the visas will be processed in time for the team’s journey. It’s worth noting that the visa applications were submitted over a week ago.
Presently, based on information from ESPNcricinfo, it appears that Pakistan is the sole team among the nine participating in the World Cup traveling to India that has yet to receive their visas.
This delay underscores the intricate and tense political context in which the team is embarking on their journey to India.
The visa application process for citizens from either side is notably challenging and frequently yields little success due to the strained relations between the two countries.
The act of teams crossing the border for cricket matches has become increasingly uncommon. Neither side has visited the other’s nation for a bilateral series since Pakistan’s visit to India for a white-ball series in 2012-13.
Even that visit stood out as an exception, occurring against the backdrop of a consistent, and at times severe, deterioration in relations between the two countries following the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.
Over the past decade, Pakistan has visited India only once, and that was for the T20 World Cup in March 2016. Their involvement in this ODI World Cup has already been a topic of negotiations, particularly concerning the recent Asia Cup.
Pakistan were designated as the official hosts for that tournament, but due to clearance issues, only four matches were conducted in Pakistan, and India’s team did not visit the country.
Consequently, most of the competition took place in Sri Lanka, following a unique arrangement envisioned by the former PCB chief Najam Sethi.
During earlier negotiations this year, the PCB suggested a hybrid model for the World Cup, in which Pakistan’s matches would be held outside of India, potentially in Bangladesh.
This proposal raised questions about India’s participation in Pakistan for the Champions Trophy in February 2025. However, this idea was not taken seriously, and in August, the Pakistan government granted clearance for the team to travel to India.
The tournament schedule underwent changes after receiving requests from police forces in multiple cities, particularly Ahmedabad and Kolkata, due to matches overlapping with significant religious festivals. Consequently, a total of nine matches were rescheduled.
Pakistan’s first warm-up match against New Zealand, scheduled for the following Friday, will be held without spectators in Hyderabad. This decision was made because the police couldn’t guarantee adequate security due to major religious festivals occurring around that time in the city.