Waiting for visas

Published October 6, 2023

BABAR Azam admitted to feeling at home in India but when Pakistan open their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on Friday, they won’t be seeing Pakistani fans at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Pakistani fans with tickets as well as journalists continue to wait for the issuance of visas, despite the Pakistan Cricket Board pointing out to the International Cricket Council that the delay contravenes the tournament’s hosting rights agreement. According to reports, the Indian cricket board has asked its government to speed up the process, but for the opening game, it is unlikely that fans from Pakistan will make it. With or without their fans, though, Pakistan will have to take the field against the Dutch — and perform — in a game that will set the tone for the rest of the campaign. The build-up hasn’t been encouraging. The Pakistan side lost both their warm-ups in India against New Zealand and Australia and although those games were largely for practice and acclimatisation, Pakistan’s bowlers have come up short. The otherwise fiery Haris Rauf gave away runs at over 10 per over across both matches. But the biggest conundrum facing Babar seems to be the fact that the spinners can’t stem the flow of runs during the middle overs — an issue that also hampered Pakistan’s campaign at last month’s Asia Cup.

Pakistan have little time to address that issue with games at the World Cup coming thick and fast. Sri Lanka that edged out Pakistan to reach the Asia Cup final await two days after the Dutch clash. The most anticipated fixture, however, comes on Oct 14 when they meet arch-rivals India, fresh from a victorious Asia Cup campaign where they thrashed Babar’s men in record-setting fashion. For that game at the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, it is hoped that fans from Pakistan are able to cross the border. Pakistan need to start well with Australia to follow after India, before a match against Afghanistan at the halfway point of the league stage. South Africa, New Zealand and defending champions England are three of their last four opponents — all tough propositions at a time when the semi-final race will intensify. Babar is hopeful his bowlers will get back in the groove and Pakistan fans with tickets would like nothing more than seeing the team triumph in India — provided they get there.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Security lapses
Updated 13 Apr, 2024

Security lapses

Ensuring the safety of foreign citizens is paramount, not just for diplomatic relations but for our economic future.
An eventful season
13 Apr, 2024

An eventful season

THE Senate chairman and deputy chairman were elected unopposed, and 41 new senators were sworn in on Tuesday,...
Living rough
13 Apr, 2024

Living rough

WE either don’t see them or don’t want to see them — not even when they are actively trying to get our...
Saudi investment
Updated 10 Apr, 2024

Saudi investment

The state has to address barriers that stand in the way of attracting foreign investment, and create a pro-business environment.
Charity for change
Updated 11 Apr, 2024

Charity for change

PAKISTANIS are large-hearted people who empty their pockets at the slightest hint of another’s need. The Stanford...