LAHORE: The Pakistan squad landed in India’s Hyderabad on Wednesday to participate in the ICC World Cup 2023.
The national team flew to India via Dubai and landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. A video shared by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) showed the squad exiting the plane. Media reported excited crowds, held back by officers, cheered and shouted the name of skipper Babar Azam.
Confirming the development, the Press Trust of India said this is Pakistan’s first visit to the neighbouring country in seven years. The Green Shirts previously traveled to India in 2016 for the T20 world cup.
The Indian government had on Monday issued visas for the Pakistan squad after multiple delays. The development came after the PCB wrote a letter to the International Cricket Council expressing concerns over the visa issue.
The World Cup is scheduled to take place from Oct 5 to Nov 19 in India. Pakistan’s opening match in the tournament is set for Oct 6 against the Netherlands in Hyderabad, while the highly anticipated match against arch-rivals India will take place in Ahmedabad on Oct 14.
The national team will play two warm-up matches — against New Zealand on Sept 29 and Australia on Oct 3. Earlier, the team was scheduled to leave for Dubai on Sept 25 and stay there for two days.
The 15-member squad for the mega tournament was announced last week by Cricket Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq. It notably includes bowler Hasan Ali, and excludes star pacer Naseem Shah, who was injured in the Asia Cup.
Other notable exclusions are bowlers Faheem Ashraf, who was part of the Asia Cup squad, and Mohammad Hasnain.
Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imamul Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, (wicketkeeper) Mohammad Wasim, Agha Salman, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir
Reserve Squad: Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan.