The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently expressed their concerns about what they perceived as inappropriate and unwelcoming conduct directed at their players during the cricket match against India at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. They raised an issue with the International Cricket Council (ICC) regarding the visa-related challenges that Pakistani journalists and fans have been experiencing while attempting to attend the World Cup 2023 campaign.
In an official announcement on their social media platforms, the PCB conveyed their dissatisfaction to the ICC regarding the ongoing delays in issuing visas to journalists and the absence of a clear visa policy for Pakistani fans attending the World Cup 2023. They also voiced their discontent with the treatment of the Pakistan team during the highly charged India vs. Pakistan match on October 14, 2023.
The crux of the matter revolved around the match’s toss, where Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, faced a barrage of boos from the crowd as he attempted to communicate with the broadcaster, Ravi Shastri. Adding to the controversy, videos circulating on social media after the match depicted Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Rizwan encountering ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chants while returning to the dressing room.
Leading up to the much-anticipated match in Ahmedabad, the PCB had already taken proactive measures to address the visa issues faced by their journalists and fans.
PCB spokesperson Umar Farooq revealed that the board’s management committee chairman, Zaka Ashraf, engaged in discussions with Pakistan’s foreign secretary, Syrus Sajjad, regarding these visa delays. This dialogue occurred three days after the PCB initially contacted the ICC to express their concerns about the impediments faced by Pakistani journalists and fans traveling to India.
This year’s tournament marks Pakistan’s first participation in India since the 2016 T20 World Cup. Following their defeat in Ahmedabad, where they played before a predominantly Indian audience, Pakistan director Mickey Arthur expressed that the event felt less like a World Cup match due to the apparent lack of support for the Pakistani team.
In essence, the PCB is taking a firm stance against what they perceive as unjust treatment towards their team and supporters during the World Cup 2023. They have filed a formal complaint with the ICC and sought diplomatic assistance to address the visa delays faced by journalists and fans. This situation underscores the challenges that international sports teams encounter when competing in foreign countries and underscores the importance of maintaining a fair and respectful environment for all involved.