Oman had a turbulent landing in India ahead of the World Twenty20. They had to face hardships on the first day of their arrival after a visa mix-up saw nine players of Pakistan origin briefly not able to stay with the rest of the team in Chandigarh.
The Associate team, who were knocked out of the Asia Cup qualifiers in Bangladesh, reached Chandigarh on February 23, ahead of the date set for their official arrival for the qualifiers for the World T20, to be played from March 8 to April 3.
The team had their bookings in a hotel in Chandigarh, which is a Union Territory and serves as capital to both Punjab and Haryana. However, the visa stamped was for Mohali, which is in Punjab, thus making the Pakistan-origin players ineligible to stay in Chandigarh.
Although Chandigarh and Mohali are adjoining cities, they come under different jurisdictions. Eventually, hosts Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) came to the rescue and the players were put up in its club house, located inside the stadium.
“The issue cropped up as these players had visa only for Mohali. Although the cities are adjoining, technically the players could not have stayed in Chandigarh. As it was already evening on February 23 when they arrived, we brought them to the PCA stadium,” PCA secretary, GS Walia, said.
“But the issue was resolved the next day (Feb 24) and by evening the correct papers came. Thereafter, the entire team was shifted back to the hotel in Chandigarh,” he added.
Oman are slated to play two warm-up matches at the Mohali stadium on March 4 and 6 before they travel to Dharamsala for the World T20 qualifiers.
This is not the first instance of a mix-up. In 2013, Faisalabad Wolves, who had come for the Champions League T20 qualifiers, also had to endure a similar problem. Kings XI Punjab player, Azhar Mahmood, also went through similar trouble before his visa was rectified.