Monday, May 29, 2023
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is going to perform Hajj this year along with thousands of people from Pakistan, sources said on Monday.
They said that the 28-year-old cricketer will be accompanied by his mother on the blessed journey.
The sources said that Babar will leave for Saudi Arabia in the second week of June. On the other hand, reliable sources said that some other cricketers including Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Faheem Ashraf and Fakhar Zaman will also perform Hajj this year.
Moreover, Pakistan's former Test cricketer Inzamam-ul-Haq will also perform Hajj alongside his wife.
Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor, in March, said that 179,210 Pakistani pilgrims would perform Hajj this year.
Babar, Iftikhar, Faheem, and Haris Rauf followed by other national cricketers performed Umrah in Ramadan.
It must be noted here that the Pakistan team has no international assignment till late July, the time they are scheduled to tour Sri Lanka for two-match Test series. The ICC Test Championship matches might be converted into ODIs in case Sri Lanka qualifies for World Cup.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) are already in discussion to play ODI matches ahead of the ICC World Cup, due this year in India.
There is also uncertainty around Pakistan’s participation in the Asia Cup, which the PCB is supposed to host in September this year.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has refused to send their team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup and is keen on ensuring that the event is held at a neutral venue. However, the PCB is not keen on hosting the event outside Pakistan since it would affect its efforts with regard to the return of international cricket in the country.
The BCCI is also unlikely to accept the hybrid model proposed by the PCB, which would have given India the option to play their matches at a neutral venue.