Pakistan has made the long-awaited decision to send its cricket team to India for the 50-over World Cup scheduled to take place in October and November this year. The decision was officially announced by the Pakistan foreign office on Sunday, reaffirming the country’s stance that sports should remain separate from politics.
In the weeks leading up to the decision, there were doubts about Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup as the government delayed approving the team’s visit to India citing security concerns. Despite the concerns, the Pakistan foreign office conveyed its reservations about the security of the team to the ICC and Indian authorities, expecting full safety and security during the team’s visit.
The statement issued by the Pakistan foreign office emphasized that Pakistan’s commitment to fulfilling its international sports obligations should not be hindered by the state of bilateral relations with India. Pakistan’s decision to participate in the tournament reflects a constructive and responsible approach compared to India’s refusal to send its cricket team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.
Initially, Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup came into question due to a dispute over the hosting of the Asia Cup, with India refusing to send its cricket team to Pakistan. In response, Pakistan agreed to visit India for the Asia Cup, leading to a truce. However, even after the World Cup schedule was announced in June, the Pakistan Cricket Board stated that government clearance would still be required for any tour to India, including World Cup match venues.
The matter was deliberated upon by a committee led by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, at the direction of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The committee decided to raise concerns about the team’s safety with the ICC and seek a guarantee for their security.
With the recent approval, Pakistan will be playing in India for the first time in seven years. The decision highlights Pakistan’s dedication to participating in international cricket events and promotes the spirit of sportsmanship beyond political boundaries.