After 7 years, Pakistan cricket squad reaches India for World Cup 2023
Pakistan will play their opening match of the tournament against the Netherlands on October 6 and take on hosts India on October 14.
The Pakistan cricket squad for the World Cup 2023. (Picture: Pakistan Cricket Board X account/@TheRealPCB)
THE Pakistan cricket squad on Wednesday (27) arrived in India — its first visit to the country in seven years — to play in the upcoming 50-over World Cup starting on October 5.
Led by ace batter Babar Azam, the former world champions will spend a lot of time in the southern city of Hyderabad during their stay in India. The Pakistan squad arrived in India from Dubai, the UAE, where it had a nine-hour layover.
Having received the visas to reach India on Monday (25) after allegations of delay in the process, the Pakistan players will take the field for their first warm-up game against New Zealand in Hyderabad on Friday (29). They will play their second and final warm-up game against Australia at the same venue on October 3.
On October 6, Pakistan will play their opening game in the World Cup against the Netherlands and four days later, they will meet Sri Lanka. Both the game will be played in Hyderabad.
Pakistan will take on hosts and arch-rivals India in Ahmedabad on October 14. They recently met in Asia Cup in Sri Lanka where India hammered Pakistan by 228 runs, their biggest win over the latter in terms of runs in one-day internationals.
India and Pakistan play each other only in Asia Cup and International Cricket Council events due to tense relations between them.
Pakistan’s previous visit to India happened in 2016 when they took part in the T20 World Cup in 2016. From the current squad, only spinner Mohammad Nawaz and batting all-rounder Salman Ali Agha have visited India. Azam was not in India for the 2016 event due to an injury.
“The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) 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,” head of Pakistan Cricket Board’s management committee Zaka Ashraf told reporters before the national team’s departure from Lahore.
Babar had spoken about his excitement over playing in India especially in Ahmedabad where millions will watch the two powerhouses compete.
“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.
Pakistan will miss the service of fast bowler Naseem Shah who was ruled out halfway into the Asia Cup due to an injury and could not recover on time for the mega event.
This is the third time that Pakistan have visited India for the 50-over World Cup. They had visited India during the 1996 and 2011 editions and were beaten by the hosts in knock-out games on both occasions.
(With PTI inputs)