England’s cricket tour of India faced another visa hurdle as legspinner Rehan Ahmed was barred from leaving Hirasar airport in Rajkot due to inadequate paperwork. Reportedly, Rehan Ahmed possessed a single-entry visa, hindering his re-entry to India after the team’s mid-series break in Abu Dhabi. The local authorities managed a short-term solution after a delay, and England is optimistic about resolving the issue fully within the next 24 hours. Despite the hiccup, the entire squad and support staff were at the team hotel in Rajkot by Monday evening.
This visa-related issue follows Shoaib Bashir’s delayed arrival in India by a week due to the late issuance of his visa, causing him to miss the first Test in Hyderabad. Both Bashir and Rehan share Pakistani heritage, and Rehan, born in England, initially faced no entry problems due to a visa secured in October as a stand-by for England’s 50-over World Cup squad. The England team has been advised to reprocess the visa, and the BCCI confirmed Rehan’s participation in practice on Tuesday.
The situation, reminiscent of Bashir’s visa ordeal, highlights a potential clerical oversight by the ECB. Ollie Robinson also disclosed receiving his visa on the morning of departure to Hyderabad, citing an ECB paperwork error. The management informed him the night before departure that his visa had been initially denied due to an error. Robinson’s visa issue was swiftly resolved, but Rehan’s case underscores procedural lapses, given the high-profile nature of Bashir’s experience.
Rehan Ahmed, contributing with both bat and ball in the series, featured in both matches, claiming eight wickets at 36.37 and scoring 70 runs at 17.80. His cameo of 23 in England’s pursuit of 399 in the second Test showcased his all-round abilities. The England team hopes to quickly address the visa concerns and focus on the crucial third Test, with the six-day break in the UAE between the second and third Tests on the horizon.
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