Pakistan blind cricket team is willing to travel to India early next year to feature in the second edition of the T20 World Cup for the Blind despite prevalent sentiments of hostility in the host nation.
The Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) recently applied for the NOC and currently awaits the government’s clearance to participate at the 10-team event.
Political tension and exchanges at the line of control have heavily affected sporting ties between the two neighbours.
Last month, Pakistan was barred from competing at the Kabaddi World Cup hosted by India, who also refused to play a bilateral cricket series last year.
The team’s participation at next month’s Junior Hockey World Cup in Lucknow is also doubtful, although the Pakistan government has given the go-ahead for the tournament.
In light of recent history, PBCC Chairman Syed Sultan Shah admits that threats would exist even for the blind team in India but is hopeful the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) will take care of things.
“We requested the CABI not to plan our matches in Mumbai because of security threats. We asked them to stage our matches in three venues — New Delhi, Bangalore and Faridabad — and they accepted our request,” Shah told The Express Tribune.
“We didn’t want to put our players under pressure as sentiments in other cities have been very hostile for Pakistan teams,” he added before revealing that PBCC and CABI are on friendly terms, unlike their governments.
Meanwhile, the PBCC chairman hoped to get a green signal from the government soon. “It would be good if we get the permission within a couple of weeks so that we will get time to prepare for the championship,” said Shah.
The T20 Blind Cricket World Cup will be staged in eight cities in India from January 28 to February 12.
India won the inaugural edition in 2012 after defeating Pakistan in the final.
England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are also expected to participate at the event.
By Fawad Hussain