Faisalabad Wolves arrive, but visa issue force them shift to Mohali


Chandigarh: After getting a green signal to compete in the Champions League Twenty20, Faisalabad Wolves cricketers arrived here today from Pakistan but were forced out of the city after it emerged that their visas were valid only for Mohali.
According to the Punjab Cricket Association, the BCCI has taken up the issue with the Union Government to facilitate early solution to the problem.
The team arrived here today without captain Misbah-ul-Haq after finally getting the visa to travel India. The team was earlier denied visas on the ground that the players faced a security risk in India.
The team addressed media at their hotel before leaving for Mohali, where they had a practice session in the evening.
After checking in at a city hotel, the Wolves were asked to shift to clubhouse of PCA stadium in Mohali. Chandigarh is a Union Territory while Mohali, which is a satellite town of the UT, falls in Punjab.
"After their arrival in Chandigarh, when the concerned authorities checked their passportand visas, it emerged that they did not have a visa for Chandigarh, though they have it for other venues of the tournament (CLT20).
"We requested the authorities to give them a few hours before they could shift to Mohali, which they later did. In the meanwhile, we got in touch with the BCCI, who in turn brought the matter to the notice of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Home Affairs Ministry. Now, the process to issue Chandigarh valid visas for the players and the officials is on and we are hopeful that by tomorrow morning, clearance should come," PCA Joint Secretary G S Walia told PTI.
Faisalabad team skipper Misbah is expected to reach here tomorrow.
"Why they did not have visa for Chandigarh is not for us to comment but the issue is being sorted out. There are some issues and they are being sorted out," Faisalabad coach Naveed Anjum told PTI at the hotel at Chandigarh before leaving for Mohali.
Apart from New Zealand side Otago, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kandurata Maroons are the two other teams that Faisalabad will face in the qualifiers.
Faisalabad will be the second team from Pakistan, after Sialkot Stallions, to take part in the Champions League. The Stallions played the 2012 tournament in South Africa, but failed to qualify for the main round.
Earlier, Anjum and Faisalabad player Mohammed Salman addressed a press conference. Salman said they have prepared well for the tournament.
"We started two weeks ago. Initial preparations started from Faisalabad, our local Test ground for 7-8 days and then we moved to National Cricket Academy, Lahore and practiced under lights as well," he said.
Asked if the team was confident of getting visas, he said, "Yes we were, we were confident that we are going to play in the Champions League."
On Misbah's captaincy, the coach said that Misbah has performed brilliantly in last two tournaments played in Pakistan.
"We won the final. We played 15 matches in Pakistan T20, won 14 out of it. He performed brilliantly, he is in good form," he said.
"As a batsman he has a crucial role, he is a very good captain in T20," the coach said, adding the team also has some lesser known players like Asif Ali, Ali Wakas, and Asid Ali, but all of them are good.
"They are confident, the way they have been playing in last domestic tournaments. Except Saeed Ajmal and Misbah, we have young guns. They have potential to perform at bigger stage," he added.

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