New Delhi With their visa issues sorted, nine Pakistan players contracted by the Hockey India League are expected to arrive in India on Saturday and join their respective teams for the league that commences Jan 14. "My player has told me that he has got the visa and will be leaving for India tomorrow," Askari Zaidi, Senior Vice President of the Jaypee Group told IBNLive.com on Friday.
Punjab bought just one Pakistan player, Sayeed Kashif Shah, in the players' auction last month. Mohammad Rizwan Jr., Mohammed Rizwan Sr. (Delhi Waveriders), Shafqat Rasool and Mohammed Irfan (Ranchi Rhinos) and Mahmood Tousiq, Mahmood Rashid, Fareed Ahmed and Imran Butt (Mumbai Magicians) are the other eight players expected to arrive on Saturday.
"Kashif will be flying to India tomorrow and should land at the Delhi airport around 4 pm on Saturday," Zaidi confirmed. Punjab will play the opening game of the HIL on Monday against Delhi Waveriders.
Amit Burman, vice chairman of the Dabur group that owns the Mumbai Magicians, also confirmed the news. "The players are expected to arrive tomorrow. The have got the visas and we have got confirmation from the Hockey India League," he told IBNLive.com.
Earlier, there was a cloud of doubt over the participation of Pakistan players after two Indian soldiers were killed by the Pakistan forces in Poonch. However, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs told CNN-IBN that there has been no change in the visa policy towards Pakistan and the delay could be due to procedural reasons.