KARACHI, June 26: The Hong Kong cricket squad returned to their hotel in protest here on Thursday after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials refused to let them witness the match from the air-conditioned Chairman’s Box, located in the main pavilion building.

According to details available, Zakir Khan, who is the Asia Cup event director, gave the amateur weekend cricketers from Hong Kong a cold-shoulder after the visitors sent a request that they be allowed to sit elsewhere rather than the open-air PCB gallery. Zakir reportedly said that since the Hong Kong players and officials were not invited for Thursday’s match and had come to the ground on their own, the authorities could not entertain them.

“They [Hong Kong team] were given due protocol whenever they came to the stadium for nets and the matches,” said Zakir. “But since they are out of the tournament now, it is difficult for us to extend hospitality by going out of the way during such a hectic schedule.”

Upset by this unexpected treatment from the officials, the Hong Kong squad left the stadium in a huff after spending just half an hour at the National Stadium.

Meanwhile, after two very quiet days in the ninth Asia Cup, the tournament erupted into a frenzy of excitement on Thursday when a large turnout was witnessed at the Pakistan-India preliminary round fixture here at the National Stadium.

It was a totally different story on Thursday as the cricket enthusiasts started making their way in thousands and long queues were witnessed in and around the stadium hours before the match’s scheduled start at 4:00pm.

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