Karachi: Dec 5, 2013
In another embarrassing incident for the Pakistan Cricket Board, upcoming all-rounder Bilawal Bhatti was denied entry into the United Arab Emirates when he landed at the Dubai airport with the rest of the national team for the series against Sri Lanka.
The PCB was forced to issue an explanation that Bilawal was stopped at the airport from entering the UAE because he had travelled on an expired visa.
“He travelled on a expired visa which he had earlier used to go to Dubai while returning from South Africa,” an official said.
The official said arrangements had been made to lodge Bilawal at a hotel at the airport and a new visa had been applied for which should be available soon.
The PCB said it was hopeful the issue will be resolved within 24 hours and the player can join the team.
“He inadvertently used his UAE visa to enter Dubai on his way back to Pakistan from South Africa on Tuesday,” another official said.
But some former players and critics questioned the working of the board.
“Isn’t the board’s officials dealing with travel and logistics of the team supposed to check these things before the team leaves on a tour and what about the team management, didn’t they see he had an expired visa?” former Test player Rashid Latif said.
Another player said the incident highlighted the carefree attitude prevalent in the board which only harmed the image of Pakistan cricket. Bilawal made his debut for Pakistan in the recent series against South Africa leaving an impact with his bowling and batting.
Pakistan is due to play a one-off T20 international against Afghanistan on Sunday in Sharjah before it hosts Sri Lanka on a 10-match tour from next Wednesday.
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