PCB request Pakistan govt to grant travel clearance for ODI WC in Indiatext_fields
Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sent a letter to Shehbaz Sharif, the interior minister, and the foreign and defence ministries in order to request official approval to travel to India for the ODI World Cup, which will take place later this year.
The letter, according to a report by ESPNcricinfo, asks for guidance on whether the Pakistan side is permitted to visit India. If the team is authorised, if the government wishes to send a security delegation for inspection, and if there are any concerns about any of the five venues for the Pakistan games.
Notably, PCB requires their government's permission to tour India unlike visiting any other country due to strained political relations between the two nations.
The PCB in its letter, written on June 26, shared Pakistan's schedule with the government, which says the team will play its nine league matches in five cities, including the big clash against India in Ahmedabad on October 15.
The report said that there is no deadline for the government to respond but the PCB will not travel without a clearance from the government.
"Soon after the World Cup schedule was announced last Tuesday, we wrote to our Patron, Honourable Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, through the Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ministry, copying the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior, requesting clearance to participate in the World Cup," the PCB said.
"The decision to visit India and approve venues at which we can play our matches is the prerogative of the Government of Pakistan. We have absolute trust in the judgment of our government and will follow whatever is advised. It is entirely up to the Government of Pakistan the process it wants to formulate and follow before advising us on the next steps. If this requires sending an advance team to India to inspect the venues and hold meetings with the event organisers, then it will solely be the government's decision," he added.
Both India and Pakistan haven't played against each other in any bilateral series for over ten years, and face off only at the ICC and ACC tournaments. Pakistan has not toured India since the 2016 men's T20 World Cup, so there has been a lot of speculation about their participation in the upcoming ODI World Cup set to be held in October-November.
Even though the fixtures were officially announced last week, Pakistan was still reluctant to commit their participation without their government's clearance.
It has been learnt that with the term of the ruling government in Pakistan ending in August, the decision on whether the team will travel to India is likely to be deferred until the next government takes charge.
The current government will probably not make a formal announcement at this stage and the matter could stretch further until closer to the departure date like it was in 2016 when India hosted the T20 World Cup.
In 2016, Nawaz Sharif's government gave the team a last-minute clearance to travel after sending a delegation to India for security reconnaissance. The PCB had threatened to pull out of the T20 World Cup unless they had assurance from the Indian government regarding the security of the Pakistan team, which eventually resulted in the India-Pakistan match moving from Dharamsala to Kolkata.
With inputs from IANS