India vs Pak: Pakistan team director slams partisan crowd, lack of support from fans

Lack of support for a visiting team puts India in an awkward position

rohit-babar-afp India captain Rohit Sharma (L) tosses the coin as Pakistan captain Babar Azam watches before the start of their 2023 ODI World Cup match in Ahmedabad | AFP

You could count the visiting team’s fans on your fingers- if there were any at all! Pakistan fans have not been exactly welcomed by the Indian government and the lack of fan support, especially in the crucial and high-voltage match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan has irked its team director Micky Arthur and the coaching staff. 

Post-match, Arthur said that the India vs Pakistan match did not seem like an ICC event and that it reminded him of a BCCI event or a bilateral series in India as the world's biggest cricket stadium, which has a seating capacity of 1,30,000 was filled to the rafters by fans in “blue jerseys.” 

Arthur said that while he was not using this as an excuse for the team’s rout by hosts India, the lack of support and even favourite songs of the team at the Narendra Modi cricket stadium was noticeable. “Look, I'd be lying if I said... It didn't seem like an ICC event tonight to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI event. I didn't hear Dil Dil Pakistan coming through the microphones too often tonight," Mickey Arthur said. 

When pressed if such an atmosphere was right for the World Cup and whether it should have been allowed to happen, Arthur said, “Look I don't think I can comment on that just yet. I don't want to get fined.” 

Even the head coach of the Pakistan team Grant Bradburn agreed with Arthur over the lack of support and how it hurt the team. "We are really sad that our supporters aren't here," said Bradburn. "They would love to be here and I am sure Indian cricket fans would love our supporters here as well." He added: "No familiar music for us today.” 

The Indian government has been very strict about visas to Pakistan media and fans. Reportedly, only two or three fans were noticed in the stands, but they had American citizenship. The ICC is being slammed for not ensuring Pakistan citizens got visas before the match. This is for the first time that those living in Pakistan have not been granted visas for the World Cup; this wasn’t the case in previous ICC events. Also, the Pakistan media too struggled to reach on time for the World Cup and one or two were given visas only on the eve of the high-voltage match.

 However, with cricket looking to get into the Olympics soon and the India-Pakistan match looking terribly one-sided from the stands, the BCCI found itself in the dock. It didn’t help that IOC president Dr Jacques Rogges is in the country to attend the 141st session of the IOC’s General Assembly in Mumbai. However, reports of lack of support for a visiting team put India in an awkward position.   


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