- Pakistan cricket team arrives in India after seven years
- Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi seen at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad
- Pakistan will play its first match on 6th October while India will play on 8th
The Pakistan cricket team set foot in India on Wednesday night, it is their first visit to India since 2016 (7 years). Pakistan will be participating in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 beginning on 5th October 2023 with England facing New Zealand.
The Babar Azam-led side is set to spend the majority of its time in Hyderabad, having arrived here from Dubai the team had a long nine-hour layover. Pakistan cricket team had left Lahore in the wee hours of Wednesday to reach Hyderabad in the night.
Pakistan will play their first warm-up match on the 29th of September against New Zealand and their second warm-up match against Australia on 3rd October. Pakistan will officially begin their tournament on the 6th of October against the Netherlands here before facing Sri Lanka on October 10 at the same venue.
The Pakistan players’ visas got approved just 48 hours before their scheduled departure.
India and Pakistan, now, only face each other in Asia Cup and ICC tournaments owing to tense relations between the two nations.
Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha are the only two players who have visited India for cricket. Skipper Babar has never visited India for cricket as he could not play in the T20 World Cup in India in 2016 due to an injury.
Having said that, Babar Azam wrote “Overwhelmed with the love and support here in Hyderabad!” on his Instagram story while sharing a picture of himself.
Before departing for India, the Pakistan skipper spoke about how excited he is to play in India, especially in Ahmedabad where they will face their arch-rivals in front of over 1 lakh fans.
Babar said, “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,” while addressing media at a conference before departing.
Babr also said, “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”.
Zaka Ashraf, head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said, “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,” before leaving for India while addressing reporters back in Pakistan.
Shaheen Afridi also shared how he was greeted in India with an Instagram story writing “Great welcome thus far!”