Pakistan players arrive in India after 7 year to play ODI World
Babar Azam-led Pakistan arrived finally at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday amidst visa delays. It is the first time in seven years The Men in Green have made their appearance in the country to play competitive cricket since the 2016 T20 World Cup.
Pakistan will spend a lot of time in the capital of Telangana, having arrived here from Dubai where it had a long nine-hour layover. The squad had left Lahore in the wee hours of Wednesday and reached Hyderabad in the night.
Pakistan will play their opening warm-up game against New Zealand on September 29 before taking on Australia on October 3. They open their tournament campaign against the Netherlands before battling with Sri Lanka on October 10.
As reported earlier, the Pakistan players had got their Indian visas less than 48 hours before their scheduled travel.
Both India and Pakistan only face each other in Asia Cup and ICC events due to the tense relations between the two countries.
Only Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha have visited India previously for cricket as Babar could not play in the T20 World Cup in 2016 due to an injury.
“The BCCI has assured the ICC that all teams will be provided the best security and will be well looked after so I don’t expect anything different for our team. I don’t think our team will face any issues in India,” the head of the PCB management committee Zaka Ashraf had said before the team’s departure.
Babar had also spoken about his excitement over playing in India, especially Ahmedabad where the arch-rivals lock horns in front of a one lakh-plus crowd on October 14.
“Although we have not played in India before, we are not taking too much pressure. We have done our research and we have heard the conditions are similar to how they play out in other Asian countries,” said Babar in the pre-departure media conference.
“I am excited to play in Ahmedabad as it will be jam-packed. I will try my best to perform up to my potential. I am not worried about my individual accolades, I want to make sure whatever I do helps the result for the team,” he said.
(With Agency inputs)