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India v England 2024

IND vs ENG: Rehan Ahmed faces visa issues at Rajkot airport ahead of third Test

Rehan Ahmed faces visa issues
by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

After Shoaib Bashir, Rehan Ahmed has now faced visa issues ahead of the third India-England Test in Rajkot.

Uncapped England off-spinner Shoaib Bashir was initially denied an Indian visa leading into the first Test, leading to widespread reactions. England captain Ben Stokes admitted to having considered not going ahead with the tour until the matter was resolved.

Former cricketers of both nations joined in. In his column, David Lloyd wrote that England “should consider leaving India”, while  Venkatesh Prasad accused the ECB to be “at fault” for not following “basic procedures”.

Bashir finally got his visa and arrived during the first Test match, at Hyderabad, that England won. He debuted in the second Test, at Visakhapatnam, for the injured Jack Leach, and claimed four wickets.

There was a ten-day gap before the third Test match, at Rajkot, which the England squad spent in Abu Dhabi. Upon their return on February 12, three days before the game, leg-spin-bowling all-rounder Rehan Ahmed was delayed at the Rajkot International Airport in Hirasar over a visa issue.

Rehan had played at both Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, picking up eight wickets and scoring 70 runs, and was a crucial cog in England‘s plans. He had arrived in India in January on a single-entry visa, which was not valid once he left for Abu Dhabi after the second Test match.

He was eventually granted a two-day visa “with the help of local authorities”. The remaining paperwork needs to be completed before the Test match, which begins on February 15.

According to a statement by the ECB, Rehan’s visa had some “paperwork discrepancy”.

“We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa,” the statement said, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “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.”

“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,” a BCCI official told the Hindustan Times.

Ollie Robinson, another member of the squad, revealed on his podcast Chatting Balls that his own visa had been initially “denied”, and he had to wait until the morning of England’s flight from Abu Dhabi to Hyderabad for the clearance.

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