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Indian disabled cricket team gets invite from Pakistan

Will para sports achieve what diplomacy has failed to until now? That's the question on everyone's minds after the Pakistan Cricket Association for Physically Handicapped (PCAPH) issued an invite to the Indian disabled team to play in that country.

PCAPH chairman Abbas Hashmi has announced that the board is interested in hosting the disabled cricket team from India in February. Pakistan is preparing to host T20 International matches against the Indian disabled cricket team in Islamabad in the last week of February.

As per PCAPH board members, the government of Pakistan has granted a no objection certificate. The PCAPH is now making arrangements for visa and other paperwork.

However, the Indian team is yet to get a nod from the government. Due to tense relations between the two countries, the government has not given its approval to the Indian Cricket Federation for Disabled (ICFD) to play in Pakistan.

NewzHook spoke to A W Siddiqui, Founder Secretary, ICFD, who confirmed that an invite was received months back. He also said the team wants to play in Pakistan.

If the team is given permission, the opportunity will be great for the sport and the players. Disabled players will get much needed encouragement and exposure. We also feel that through sports, the rift between the people of the two countries may also be filled. - A W Siddiqui, Founder Secretary ICFD

He also said that players would benefit from the experience.

Pakistan and India are the most popular cricket teams in Asia. India-Pakistan cricket matches are some of the most watched in both countries.

Indian cricket teams have not played a match in Pakistan for a few years now, citing security reasons and also due to the tense relations between the two countries, although the two sides have played against each other in other countries.

John David, General Secretary, Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) said this would be good exposure for the Indian players.

"It is great that PCAPH wishes to take the initiative and promote cricket for players with disability. Disabled cricketers strive and work hard to get recognition and playing in other countries is a great way to get exposure and experience, provided the government is approving the initiative."

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