Pakistan Hockey Team Reacts As PCB Confirms ODI World Cup Participation

Pakistan field hockey player Abdul Rana lauded his government’s decision of sending the men’s senior cricket team to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, saying that players from both the countries should visit each other’s nations for matches between two rival teams because fans enjoy them.  Currently, the Pakistan hockey team is in India to play in the Asian Champion Trophy, which is being held in Chennai. Both rival teams will square in a much-anticipated match on Wednesday.

Also, the Pakistan government announced on Sunday that it will send the national men’s senior team to play the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, which will be held for the first time in its entirety in India from October 5 to November 19. The status of Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup held in India was under doubt due to strained relations between the governments of both countries over the years.

The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement announcing the same.

“Pakistan has consistently maintained that sports should not be mixed with politics. It has, therefore, decided to send its Cricket Team to India to participate in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023,” the statement said.

“Pakistan believes that the state of bilateral relations with India should not stand in the way of fulfilling its international sports-related obligations. Pakistan’s decision shows its constructive and responsible approach vis-à-vis India’s intransigent attitude, as the latter had refused to send its Cricket Team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup,” concluded the statement.

Reacting to the development, Abdul Rana told ANI that both countries’ players should visit the other side of the border more as people like when these teams play.

“I think it is a great gesture by Pakistan. People want to see India and Pakistan playing against each other. So, these matches should happen and both teams should come and play in each other’s country. People wait for India versus Pakistan matches. India is our neighborhood country and the love we get here in India is amazing. We do not get so much of love anywhere,” Rana told ANI.

The men’s Pakistan team’s head coach and former player Muhammad Saqlain also welcomed the development, saying that it is now India’s turn to visit Pakistan.

“Our government is very positive to become close to the India government. The main thing is continuity in the process. You will see the cricket team coming here, the football team already came here, and hockey is here. Now, it is your turn to come to Pakistan. From our hearts, we are also very kind,” said Saqlain.

He also said that the team is loving the hospitality shown by people in Chennai, who are kind and appreciate the Pakistani hockey team.

“The hospitality of Indian people especially in Chennai off and on the ground is so amazing. People are really kind here. They always appreciate the Pakistan hockey team. We are very happy to come here,” he said.

The assistant coach Rehan Butt also echoed the sentiments, saying that the decision by the Pakistan government with regards to the men’s senior side travelling to India for Cricket World Cup is a “positive” one.

“Pakistan have always welcomed the decision to come to India but India refused to come to Pakistan to play in Asia Cup. It is a positive decision taken by the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan to send their cricket team to India to play the World Cup,” said Rehan.

Malaysia, Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan and China are the teams playing in the Champions Trophy in Chennai. India is in the third spot with four points, having won one match and drawn the other. Pakistan is in fifth spot, drawing two and losing one. With three titles each, India and Pakistan are the most successful teams in the history of the tournament.

Notably, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said on July 27 that the schedule of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 will see some changes.

“There is a small gap in some matches. There is a two-day gap between the two matches. After the match is over, players will travel the next day and they will get no time for practice. Minor changes happen in the World Cup schedule, especially in India, when you look back at history,” Jay Shah said while addressing a press conference.

“We are trying that there are fewer changes in matches and venues, especially the venues. Also, two to three nations have requested changes in schedule. ICC and BCCI logistics teams are working on this and everything will be clear in two to four days. We could see some changes,” he said.

As per the original schedule release in June, the opening match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, featuring defending champions England and runner-up New Zealand, is set to commence on October 5 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Ten teams will feature in this biggest Cricket World Cup ever, to be played across 10 venues from October 5 to November 19, with the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad hosting the tournament opener and the final. The event will feature 48 matches to be played across 46 days.

India’s World Cup campaign will begin with a match against Australia on October 8 in Chennai.

The venues other than Ahmedabad and Chennai are Bengaluru, Delhi, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune. While Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram will join Hyderabad in hosting the practice games.

Arch-rivals India and Pakistan will square off at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 on October 15 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Eight teams have qualified for the 46-day event through the Cricket World Cup Super League while the final two spots were decided by the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier taking place in Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka and the Netherlands grabbed the two final spots in the tournament.

The tournament retains the round-robin format of last time with all teams playing against each other for a total of 45 league matches. There are six day matches that will start at 10:30 Indian Standard Time (IST) while all other matches, including the knockouts, will be day-night fixtures starting at 14.00 IST.

The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals, to be played in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16. The final will be on November 19 in Ahmedabad. The semi-finals and the final will have reserve days.

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