England’s tour of India has been marred by yet another visa setback, this time involving Rehan Ahmed, who was barred from departing Hirasar airport in Rajkot due to visa complications. According to reports from Sportstar, Rehan faced this hurdle upon attempting to re-enter India after the team’s mid-series break in Abu Dhabi.
The issue stemmed from his possession of a single-entry visa, rendering him ineligible to return to the country. However, local authorities intervened, providing a temporary resolution for the legspinner, with England hopeful of a permanent solution within the next 24 hours. By Monday evening, all members of the touring squad and support staff had gathered at the team hotel in Rajkot.
This incident follows a similar situation involving Shoaib Bashir, whose arrival in India was delayed by a week due to visa delays, causing him to miss the first Test in Hyderabad. Like Bashir, Rehan was born in England and has a Pakistani heritage.
However, Rehan encountered no initial issues entering the country due to a visa he had obtained in October as a standby for England’s 50-over World Cup squad. This oversight is likely a clerical error by the ECB, given the continued presence of the white-ball squad in India for the World Cup campaign.
Rehan Ahmed arrived back in India from England’s break in Abu Dhabi with an invalid visa, having travelled for the first leg of the tour on a single-entry visa he possessed but had not used as a reserve for England’s World Cup squad.
Rehan was granted entry after the delay and… pic.twitter.com/NeJunWVUBU
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A BCCI official, as 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. The player was allowed to enter the country with the rest of the team and he will be appearing in practice on Tuesday.”
Such visa-related issues should have been avoided, especially after the widely publicized incident involving Bashir. Ollie Robinson, earlier on Monday, disclosed his visa saga, revealing that he had only received his visa on the morning of England’s initial departure to Hyderabad from Abu Dhabi last month.
Ollie Robinson recounted how an error at the ECB led to his visa initially being denied, causing an unexpected delay. Despite the off-field distractions, Rehan has been a notable contributor on the field, featuring in both matches of the series so far. He has taken eight wickets at an average of 36.37 and scored 70 runs at 17.80, including a crucial 23 at No.3 during England’s second Test chase of 399.