ICC Men’s World Cup: The listless press conference

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The India-Pakistan bout never ends on the pitch. It is an ongoing rivalry, and it is good for the game as it brings business and the welfare of the players.

Sometimes, there are some issues off the field that make headlines in the media, and one of them recently was the delay in the Indian government issuing visas for both Pakistani journalists and fans.

In fact, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) shot off a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) in this regard.

Amidst this, the Pakistani journalists who were awaiting visas to cover the World Cup in India were given a window by the ICC, allowing them to ask questions to players and coaches via WhatsApp.

Accordingly, Pakistani journalists were allowed to send their questions via WhatsApp to an ICC media manager. The questions were by the Pakistan representative, and the most relevant ones were answered by the players and coaches.

So far so good, but a surprising incident took place yesterday during the press conference addressed by Pakistani player Hasan Ali ahead of a crucial match between Pakistan and Australia here.

No questions from Indian or foreign journalists were taken by Hasan Ali, except one Indian journalist’s, and there were as many questions asked by Pakistani journalists.

After the press conference, when this journalist asked the Pakistan media manager in press box, requesting him to at least allow an Indian journalist to pose questions at the post-match press conference tomorrow (today), he smiling replied, saying that he had to accomodate the request of Pakistani journalists, but promised to take questions tomorrow (today).

However, some of the senior Indian sports journalists voiced concerns over this incident. Among them did not want their names to be mentioned in the report. One of the senior-most journalists in India said, “He neither heard nor seen anything like this before in Bengaluru.”

“When England played Ireland in 2019 here, no journalist was prevented from asking questions. What is so special about Pakistan,” he asked.

Another senior sports journalist said, “ICC must take note of this, and this should not be allowed.”

Yet another journalist said, “If they (Pakistan) don’t want the India journalists to pose questions to them, they can well organise a press conference at a permissible area just outside the Pakistani dressing room.”

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