England spinner Rehan Ahmed was stopped at Hirasar airport, Rajkot, on Monday after returning to India following six days in Abu Dhabi in between the second and third Tests
England have encountered more visa problems ahead of the third Test against India after Rehan Ahmed was stopped at Rajkot airport.
Ahmed was prohibited from re-entering India at Hirasar airport on Monday following a six-day break in the United Arab Emirates with the England side. The 19-year-old leg-spinner, who has Pakistani heritage, was told he was not in possession of the right paperwork.
Due to an apparent administrative error, Ahmed only had a single-entry visa, meaning he was not permitted to re-enter the country from Abu Dhabi. He has been given a short-term solution and the England and Wales Cricket Board are hopeful everything will be ironed out before the third Test starts in Rajkot on Thursday.
“We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa,” the ECB said in a statement on Tuesday morning. “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.”
A BCCI official told the Hindustan Times: “The England team has been advised to process the visa again which will be happening in the next two days. The player was allowed to enter the country with the rest of the team and he will be appearing in practice on Tuesday.”
Ahmed has played in both Tests for England, taking eight wickets and scoring 70 runs to help them make it 1-1. He is almost certain to be selected for the third Test after Jack Leach was ruled out of the series with a knee injury.
The issue is different from the problems which saw Shoaib Bashir miss the opening Test in Hyderabad. Bashir, 20, was not permitted to enter India because of the late issuing of a visa and only arrived on January 28, four days into the first Test. He was forced to stay in Abu Dhabi and then return to London to get his visa stamped.
The treatment of Bashir and other players of Pakistani heritage has drawn huge criticism, but England bowler Ollie Robinson revealed on Monday that he also experienced issues at the start of the tour. Speaking on the Chatting Balls podcast, Robinson said England team manager Wayne Bentley had initially told him he wouldn’t be allowed into the country last month.
“He said, ‘your visa has been denied’ or something,” Robinson said. “There was an error at the ECB – I think they must have just put an initial wrong, or one letter must have been wrong. It didn’t pass.
“He was like, ‘you’re not coming to India – you have to stay here for another night… it could be two nights, could be three nights, don’t know how long it’s going to take.’ Luckily, I woke up in the morning to a nice message from Wayne saying ‘visa’s here’.”