India to issue visas to Pakistani cricketers for T20 World Cup
India is going to host the Pakistan cricket team for a bilateral Test series after nearly eight years
Bilateral cricket between arch-rivals India and Pakistan is all set to resume as the Modi government has decided to grant visas to the Pakistan Cricket team led by Babar Azam to travel to the country for the 2021 T20 World Cup. As per reports, BCCI secretary Jay Shah has informed the Apex Council about the Centre’s decision to issue visas to the Pakistan cricket team.
Speaking to news agency PTI, an Apex Council member has stated that the visa issue of Pakistani cricketers has been sorted by the board. But the decision on the entry of Pakistani cricket fans in India to watch the matches is yet to be taken by the board, he added.
“It will be decided in due course of time. However, we promised ICC that it will be sorted. The secretary announced during the meeting,” the council member said.
This development has come weeks after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sought a written assurance from the International Cricket Council (ICC) that India will issue visas to its cricketers, board officials, journalists, and fans for T20 World Cup.
“Either we will be going to the World T20 with full protocols or it will have to be moved elsewhere,” PCB chief Ehsan Mani had said during a press briefing.
In response, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had expressed discontent with PCB Chief’s demand for visa assurance ahead of the marquee.
Significantly, India and Pakistan have not played a full-fledged bilateral series in the past few years due to escalating political tensions between the two neighboring countries. While the two teams played their last Test series in 2007, the last bilateral Test series took place in 2012-2013 when Pakistan visited India for a short limited-overs series. On the other hand, the Indian cricket team last visited Pakistan in 2008 for the Asia Cup.
Last month, PCB chief Mani expressed hope towards India’s visit to Pakistan for the 2023 Asia Cup. With Pakistan struggling to host big leagues over the last few years, the PCB Chief is expecting India’s visit for the Asia Cup as a big breakthrough for the country.
“Pakistan will be hosting the Asia Cup in 2023. India’s participation in the tournament will be a big breakthrough for Pakistan cricket. I hope that the political situation would improve by then,” Ehsan Mani said, as quoted by media reports.
Meanwhile, the BCCI has finalized nine venues for World T20 slated to take place in the second half of the year. While the final match will be hosted in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, other venues are in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Dharamshala, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad.