“This discriminating act will have serious consequences"
The Pakistan Blind Cricket Team has been refused visas by India to allow them to travel for the Blind T20 World Cup.
The tournament was scheduled to begin in New Delhi from December 6, 2022, onwards, but with uncertainty over Pakistan’s arrival and participation, it has been delayed.
In a statement, the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) said that the cricket squad did not get approval within the time limit.
Alleging discrimination, the PBCC said:
“This unfortunate incident has left the Pakistan blind cricket team in the lurch.
“It was highly likely that Pakistan and India would have locked horns in the final of the ongoing World Cup and considering the current form of Green Shirts, Pakistan had a high chance to win the World Cup.
“It (the PBCC) strongly condemns this discriminating act of India as sports should be above regional politics.
“Our counterpart Blind Cricket Association in India pleaded with their government for Pakistan’s clearance but nothing was heard.
“This discriminating act will have serious consequences on global blind cricket as we at World Blind Cricket will take stern action against them and may not allow India to host future International events.”
Sultan Shah, who is the president of PBCC, disclosed that India’s foreign ministry failed to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) for visa documentation.
Shah commented: “We didn’t receive visas because India’s foreign ministry didn’t issue NOC.
“Our team is in Lahore, waiting for visas. If we get permission to travel today, all the matches will be rescheduled.”
The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) verified the news and promised to publish a revised tournament schedule now that the Pakistani team won’t be competing.
In a statement the CABI said:
“With reference to the information received from the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council, Pakistan Blind Cricket Team will not be able to participate in the ongoing 3rd T20 World Cup for the Blind, being held in India in spite of CABI taking all required steps to process their application for VISA.
“CABI will be releasing an updated tournament schedule on account of Pakistan’s non-participation very soon.”
In the most recent T20 World Cup for the Blind, Pakistan came in second.
Pakistan are the top-ranked team in the world.
They were set to play their opening match of the 2022 tournament against South Africa.
The 12-day competition is still going on with the likes of India, Bangladesh, Australia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and South Africa.
Matches will be hosted in Faridabad, Mumbai, Indore and Delhi while the final will take place in Bengaluru.