In a momentous return, the Pakistan cricket team has touched down in India, marking their first visit in seven years. The team’s arrival comes just ahead of the highly anticipated ODI World Cup, scheduled to kick off on October 5th. The squad’s journey to India included a lengthy stopover in Dubai that lasted a whopping nine hours, under the command of the formidable Babar Azam. After departing from Lahore in the early hours of Wednesday, they finally arrived in the vibrant city of Hyderabad under the cover of night.
The cricketing giants from Pakistan have wasted no time acclimatizing to Indian conditions. They embarked on their campaign with an opening warm-up match against New Zealand on September 29, setting the stage for their upcoming showdown with Australia on October 3. On October 10, they face Sri Lanka in their first match of the competition.
However, it was not all smooth sailing for the Pakistan players, as they obtained their Indian visas with less than 48 hours to spare before their scheduled travel. This timeline highlights the unique circumstances surrounding cricket encounters between India and Pakistan. The fierce rivalry, fueled by tense diplomatic relations, has limited their face-offs to events like the Asia Cup and ICC tournaments.
Interestingly, only Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha from the Pakistan squad have previously visited India for cricketing purposes. Babar Azam himself missed out on the 2016 T20 World Cup in India due to an injury, making this visit all the more special for him.
Zaka Ashraf, the head of the PCB management committee, expressed confidence in the security arrangements made by the BCCI and the ICC. He assured the media that the teams participating in the tournament would be provided with the utmost security and care throughout their stay in India.
Babar Azam, in a pre-departure media conference, exuded excitement about playing in India, particularly in Ahmedabad, where the arch-rivals will face off in front of a colossal crowd expected to exceed a hundred thousand cricket enthusiasts.
Despite the historic significance of their visit, Babar emphasized that the team was not letting the pressure get to them. They had meticulously researched the playing conditions and were well-prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. Babar’s focus was on contributing to the team’s success rather than individual accolades.
“I am excited to play in Ahmedabad as it will be jam-packed,” Babar said. “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 added, radiating confidence and determination.
With the Pakistan cricket team’s arrival, the stage is set for a thrilling and highly anticipated Cricket World Cup 2023, with fans from both nations eagerly awaiting the showdowns that will unfold on the cricketing field.
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