| Misbah-ul Haq |
Calcutta/Karachi: The Faisalabad Wolves cricketers, who arrived in Chandigarh from Delhi on Sunday, were forced to shift to Mohali after it emerged that their visas were valid only for the Champions League T20 venue.
The High Commission has issued visas to the Wolves in the name of the cities where the CLT20 matches are being held. Ranchi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi are the other venues, besides Mohali.
Chandigarh is a Union Territory while Mohali, which is a satellite town of the Union territory, falls in Punjab.
The High Commission isn’t at fault since the teams stay in Chandigarh when matches are held in Mohali.
This technical slip-up was noticed by the Wolves management after the team checked into the hotel in Chandigarh. The BCCI has brought the matter to the notice of the ministry of external affairs and home ministry.
The players and support staff spent the whole day at the hotel and left for practice at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali in the evening. The players only had a pool session there.
It being a Sunday, the matter couldn’t be sorted out. According to senior PCA official G.S. Walia, the Wolves will spend the night at the PCA Club House. The Club House, by the way, has excellent facilities.
Once the necessary amendment is done to the visas, the team will be back in Chandigarh, which was hit by a thunderstorm late on Sunday.
The Wolves are without captain Misbah-ul Haq, star off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and young quick Ehsan Adil. The trio are expected to join the side from Zimbabwe on Monday.
The Wolves will open their campaign in the CLT20 qualifiers on Tuesday against Otago Volts in Mohali.
Meanwhile, Misbah said he hoped India’s decision to allow the Wolves to play on Indian soil would open up more cricket opportunities between the two nations.
Misbah said matches between the two cricket-obsessed nations should not be halted by politics. “I feel cricket must go on,” Misbah said from Harare. “Giving a Pakistani team clearance is a positive sign and I hope this will help open more doors for Indo-Pak cricket.”
Pakistan lost the second Test in Harare Saturday to share the two-match series 1-1. Despite the tensions between India and Pakistan, Misbah said people on both sides of the border enjoy cricket.
“It is a fact that people of both countries enjoy Indo-Pak cricket and it is necessary for both the countries to have regular exchange of cricket tours because it minimises tension and brings people together,” said Misbah.
“When we play cricket, people forget everything,” he said. “We never expect and never fear any aggression. I am going to India with an open mind, with a message of friendship and peace, as always.”