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Visa wrangle hits Canada's WC plans

Press Trust Of India
Feb 13, 2011 at 07:05pm IST

Toronto: Canada's 15-man squad for the World Cup includes three Pakistan-born players who are still awaiting visa clearance to enter India where the team plays four of their six games.

The visa wrangle concerns vice-captain Rizwan Cheema, Khurram Chohan and back-up wicketkeeper Hamza Tariq.

"(We have been) waiting to have visas processed for several months now," Ranjit Saini, the Cricket Canada president, told Pakistan media recently.

Visa wrangle hits Canada's World Cup plans

Three Pakistan-born players in the Canadian team are still awaiting visa clearance to enter India.

"Canada took a pre-World Cup preparatory visit to India in November and the visas were applied for before that.

"We couldn't take these players to India and as a result our training plans have suffered. It's a source of distraction and is hurting the team morale in general.

"We are making efforts but so far there is no outcome. They are the star players of our team - Rizwan Cheema was in the IPL auction."

A statement on Thursday from Cricket Canada said they remained optimistic that the visa hurdle would be overcome before the start of the World Cup on February 19.

"Recent correspondence from the International Cricket Council (ICC) has assured Cricket Canada that visas will be granted for all participants in the 2011 Cricket World Cup," it said.

Ashish Bagai will lead Canada for the country's fourth appearance at the World Cup.

Joining Bagai as returnees from the 2007 World Cup team are paceman Henry Osinde and all rounder John Davison. Both Bagai and Davison played in the 2003 edition of the World Cup as well.

West Indian-born batsman Tyson Gordon has also been named in the squad while he awaits confirmation of his Canadian citizenship.

The squad leaves for a pre-tournament training camp in Dubai on January 26 and will head to Bangladesh on February 8 for tune-up matches against Bangladesh and England.

They open their tournament on February 20 against Sri Lanka.

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