The Pakistan Blind Cricket Council has expressed disappointment at the decision of the Indian government to not give clearance to its national blind team to play the World Cup in Pakistan.
“It is very disappointing because we had planned a show case match of the World Cup in Lahore. Now we have been forced to relocate it to the UAE,” Asif Azeem, the media manager of the PBCC, said.
He said the Indian Blind cricket council had informed them that since the Indian government didn’t give clearance, the Indian external affairs ministry had also not issued NOCs to the Indian team to travel to Lahore for the World Cup opening ceremony and matches.
“We had planned a grand opening ceremony in Lahore on the 6th with Indian participation and opening match between the two countries but now we will have ceremonies in Ajman and Lahore on Sunday simultaneously.”
He said India would now play its matches of the World Cup in Ajman and Sharjah while the opening match in Lahore would be between Pakistan and Bangladesh.
He said the final was scheduled for January 21st in Lahore but if defending champions India reached the final and still didn’t get permission to travel to Lahore the final would then be relocated to Sharjah.
“We have no option now because we don’t want to derail the World Cup. This is cricket for a special people and we expected the Indian government to give clearance on special consideration,” he said.
The PBCC has to now reschedule the entire tournament itinerary.
India had won the World Cup for blind in 2014 in Cape town by beating Pakistan in the final. Pakistan later travelled to India for a full series.