KARACHI: The Pakistan government on Sunday gave clearance to the country’s senior men’s side to travel to India for the 2023 World Cup but said it has some concerns about the security of its team and would convey them to the ICC and BCCI.
The 50-over World Cup will be held in India from October 5 to November 19, with the highly-anticipated clash between the two arch rivals set to be played on October 14 and not on October 15 in Ahmedabad, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) yet to officially confirm it.
A press release from the foreign ministry informed that Pakistan has consistently maintained that sports should not be mixed with politics. It has, therefore, decided to send its team to India to compete in the upcoming World Cup.
“Pakistan believes that the state of bilateral relations with India should not stand in the way of fulfilling its international sports-related obligations,” the release said.
The ministry said that Pakistan, however, has deep concerns about the security of its team and it would convey them to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Indian authorities.
“Pakistan, however, has deep concerns about the security of its cricket team. We are conveying these concerns to the International Cricket Council and the Indian authorities.
“We expect that the full safety and security of the Pakistan cricket team will be ensured during its visit to India,” the release said.
It also said that Pakistan’s decision shows its “constructive and responsible approach vis-à-vis India’s intransigent attitude, as the latter had refused to send its cricket team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.” The approval brings to an end the long period of uncertainty that has lingered on over the national team’s participation in the 50-over event.
It all began when its former player and PCB chief Ramiz Raja said they will not send their team for the World Cup in retaliation to India not travelling to Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023.
India had refused to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup in October 2022 with BCCI secretary Jay Shah – also the president of the Asian Cricket Council – saying the tournament would be held in a hybrid model, which was eventually agreed upon.
The Asia Cup – a prelude to the 50-over World Cup for the Asian teams – will start in Pakistan on August 30 with four matches to be played in the country, while Sri Lanka hosting the remaining nine, including the final.
A few days ago, the PCB had written to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif seeking official clearance for travelling to India for the 50-over showpiece. The letter was also addressed to the interior and the foreign ministry.
Sharif had formed a high-level committee headed by foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto to decide on Pakistan’s participation in the mega event.
But there were also reports of a security delegation being sent to India, to the venues where Pakistan will play, before the approval was given.
The last time the Pakistan team travelled to India was in 2016 for the ICC World T20.