|ICC is taking up our India visa issue: PCB CEO|
NEW DELHI, Oct 19: The Pakistan Cricket Board wants the ICC to assure visas for its players and officials when India hosts the T20 World Cup in October next year, by January 2021, CEO Wasim Khan has said.
The PCB CEO also confirmed that there is “no chance” of an Indo-Pak bilateral series in “foreseeable future” and neither will it be a part of the fresh Futures Tours Programme (FTP) that starts in 2023.
India would be hosting the global T20 event in October and given the tense diplomatic ties between the two neighbours, the PCB has sought assurances that the visa process of their players and support staff would be dealt with by the ICC.
“This is an ICC matter. We have discussed our concerns. There is a ‘Host Agreement’ that states very clearly that host nation (India in this case) will have to provide visas and accommodation for teams that are due to participate in T20 World Cup and Pakistan is one of them,” Khan told PTI in an exclusive interaction.
“We have sought assurances from the ICC that our players will receive visas and ICC is now taking this up with the BCCI because that directive and confirmation will clearly need to come from their government,” Khan said.
He then clarified that it’s only fair that there is a time-frame for such a deadline.
“We have asked for a deadline till December-January, which we believe is the right thing. We expect a response from the ICC on whether our players and officials will receive visas to participate in the tournament.
“If it (visas) isn’t (there), then like any nation would expect, we would also expect ICC to take that up directly with India and the Indian government through the BCCI to resolve this matter.”
Pakistan athletes’ participation in global events held in India has always been a contentious subject. Last year, Pakistani shooters could not get visas for a World Cup in Delhi, which kicked up quite a storm.
Unlike his predecessors in the Pakistan Cricket Board, Khan seemed practical when he clearly said that India and Pakistan aren’t going to play any bilateral series in near future in the current climate.
“I think we have to be realistic about India and Pakistan bilateral series... BCCI needs to get permission before they can play Pakistan in any bilateral series, home, away or even on neutral venues,” he said.
“I think on both sides, there is plenty of cricket to be played against other countries, but sadly for fans and players in both countries, it does not look like that India and Pakistan will be playing bilateral series in foreseeable future.
“So there is no current planning that we can factor into the next FTP (2023-31) unless circumstances and viewpoint changes of the Indian government,” the PCB CEO added. – PTI