NEW DELHI: The Pakistan cricket team touched down in Hyderabad on Wednesday, marking their first visit to India in a span of seven years. Their purpose for this visit is to participate in the ODI World Cup, set to commence on October 5.
Under the leadership of Babar Azam, the team had a lengthy stay in Hyderabad, following a nine-hour layover in Dubai during their journey.Departing from Lahore in the early hours of Wednesday, they reached Hyderabad late at night.
Pakistan’s schedule includes an opening warm-up match against New Zealand on September 29, followed by a clash with Australia on October 3. Their World Cup campaign kicks off with a game against Netherlands in Hyderabad, and they are slated to face Sri Lanka on October 10.
Remarkably, the Pakistan players obtained their Indian visas with less than 48 hours to spare before their planned departure. It’s worth noting that India and Pakistan only square off against each other in the Asia Cup and ICC events due to the strained relations between the two nations.
With the exception of Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha, who have visited India for cricket purposes, the majority of the team members are experiencing this unique opportunity for the first time. Notably, Babar missed out on participating in the T20 World Cup in India in 2016 due to an injury.
“The BCCI 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 PCB management committee Zaka Ashraf told reporters before the team’s departure.
Ahead of the team’s departure, Babar had spoken about his excitement over playing in India especially Ahmedabad where the arch-rivals lock horns in front of a one lakh plus crowd.
“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.
(With PTI inputs)