Faisalabad hopeful of visas despite uncertainty
Faisalabad Wolves, Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 champions, are optimistic of taking part in the Champions League though they have not yet been issued with visas for India. They have been training and focusing on their cricket, team officials said, in preparation for the tournament.
Faisalabad play their first match on September 17 in Mohali, and they called off their last practice session scheduled for Thursday evening in the expectation that they would be issued their visas and would need time to pack.
However, there was no official indication either way from the Indian government or the BCCI on whether the visas would be granted. The PCB also told ESPNcricinfo that the visas had neither been issued nor denied.
"The players have been training assuming that they are going to depart as planned," Haroon Rasheed, the Faisalabad team manager, told ESPNcricinfo. "There may be some uncertainty but the players are asked to just focus on cricket and nothing else. We have completed our conditioning camp and the players have dispersed to do their packing and get ready by tonight."
If they get their visas, Faisalabad will be only the second Pakistan team to take part in the Champions League and the first in India - Sialkot Stallions competed in the 2012 tournament in South Africa.
The mood within the camp was one of hope and excitement. "For us who haven't played at the national level it is a mega event," one player said. "It will boost our careers. We are obviously down but are hopeful. It would be really unfair for us to be denied at the last hour. If they did not want to allow us they should have denied earlier instead of taking so long."
The players are scheduled to depart in two batches; those in Lahore are due to leave on Saturday while three players in the Pakistan national team - Misbah ul Haq, Saeed Ajmal and Ehsan Adil - are due to fly from Zimbabwe on the completion of the current series. The last day of the ongoing second Test in Harare is on Saturday.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here