Player given two-day emergency visa after single entry anomaly detected upon return from Abu Dhabi
England are awaiting confirmation that Rehan Ahmed will be available to play in the third Test of their series in India this week, after the ECB admitted a “paperwork discrepancy” led to a hold-up at Rajkot airport that was only resolved with the issuance of a temporary visa.
Rehan was initially banned from re-entering India on Monday night after England’s mid-series break in Abu Dhabi because he only had a single entry visa. After a delay, local authorities reached a short-term solution that allowed him to travel to the team hotel with the rest of the touring group.
“Upon returning to India, we were informed that there was a discrepancy in the documentation with Rehan Ahmed’s visa,” an ECB spokesperson said on Tuesday. “The local authorities at Rajkot airport supported us and allowed Rehan to enter on a temporary visa. The correct visa should be processed and issued in the next few days.”
All-rounder Rehan trained with his teammates at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium on Tuesday and is expected to be cleared to stay in India shortly. He looks set to retain his place in the England squad for the third Test, which starts on Thursday, after taking six wickets in the second.
The issue comes weeks after Shoaib Bashir’s arrival in India was delayed by a week due to the late issuance of his visa, causing him to miss the first Test in Hyderabad.
Bashir, who is of Pakistani descent, finally arrived on January 28, the fourth day of the first Test, having initially stayed in Abu Dhabi, where England had their pre-tour training camp, before returning to the UK to stamp his visa. . He then made his debut in the second Test at Visakhapatnam.
Like Bashir, Rehan was born in England and is of Pakistani descent, but initially had no problems entering the country due to a visa he had obtained in October as a substitute player for the England team at the World Cup. His delay, apparently the result of administrative oversight by the ECB, is a problem that should not have arisen.
Ollie Robinson, who is yet to appear in the series, revealed earlier on Monday that he only received his visa on the morning England initially flew to Hyderabad from Abu Dhabi last month, having heard the night before from team manager Wayne Bentley that there was other paperwork. The error had caused a delay.
“He (Bentley) said ‘he’s been denied a visa’ or something like that,” Robinson said on his podcast. chat balls. “There was a mistake at the ECB; I think they must have put a wrong initial, or a letter must have been wrong. It wasn’t approved. He told me: ‘You’re not going to come to India, you have to do it.'” Stay here another night… it could be two nights, it could be three nights, I don’t know how long it will take.’ Luckily, I woke up in the morning to a nice message from Wayne saying ‘the visa is here.'”
England vice-captain Ollie Pope on Tuesday described Rehan’s situation as “very frustrating”. “I’m not sure whose mistake it was. I don’t want to name any names,” Pope said. “It’s very frustrating, but I hope everything is taken care of at the end of the day, I’m cleared for the next game and the rest of the trip. It’s a little bit of bad luck, but I hope everything is taken care of.”
“It sounds pretty positive. I think we’re getting over Rehan. He’s in good spirits. He was training today. I think it was sorted out pretty quickly yesterday, but obviously it’s all happening behind the scenes and I hope it all comes together within the next few days. “He is in a good mood, the boys surround him and he is happy to be here training.”
1230 GMT, Tuesday: This story has been updated to include the ECB statement and the Pope’s comments.
Vithushan Ehantharajah is associate editor of ESPNcricinfo