England spinner Rehan Ahmed did not know he was going to get into visa trouble when he landed in Rajkot where the third Test against India is set to take place. After the 2nd Test, England had travelled to Abu Dhabi for a relaxing period as there was more than ten days break between the matches. When England landed in Rajkot, Ahmed got himself into a paperwork.
Rehan was stopped from entering Rajkot because he had single-entry visa for India, reported Sportstar. England Cricket soon released a statement saying that after Rehan was denied en entry, a temporary visa was issued by supportive airport authorities.
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“We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa. The local authorities at Rajkot Airport were supportive, enabling Rehan entry on a temporary visa. The correct visa should be processed and issued in the coming days. He will continue to prepare with the rest of the squad ahead of the third Test,” read a statement from ECB.
Weeks after Shoaib Bashir’s delayed arrival in India, attributed to a visa issuance delay resulting in his absence from the first Test in Hyderabad, a similar issue has surfaced with another player, Rehan. Bashir, of Pakistani heritage, eventually reached India on January 28, during the first Test, after initially staying in Abu Dhabi for England’s pre-tour training before returning to the UK for his visa. He made his debut in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
Like Bashir, Rehan, born in England with Pakistani heritage, faced no initial entry trouble due to a visa secured in October as a stand-by for England’s 50-over World Cup squad. This oversight by the ECB is likely a clerical error, considering the white-ball squad’s continuous stay in India until the World Cup group stages concluded.
A BCCI official quoted in the Hindustan Times stated, “The England team has been advised to process the visa again which will be happening in the next two days.” Despite the hiccup, Rehan, permitted to enter the country with the team, is expected to participate in practice on Tuesday.
This issue, reminiscent of Bashir’s ordeal, should not have occurred, especially considering the anticipation of England’s six-day break in the UAE between the second and third Test, scheduled for Thursday, had been known for months.
Ollie Robinson disclosed that he received his visa on the morning of England’s departure to Hyderabad from Abu Dhabi last month, learning the previous night from team manager Wayne Bentley about a paperwork error causing the delay. Robinson shared on his podcast, Chatting Balls, “He said, ‘your visa has been denied’ or something.”