England wary of star spinner's availability after visa controversy resurfaces

After returning from Abu Dhabi, England suffer yet another visa trouble before the third Test.

Rehan Ahmed was stopped at Rajkot airport?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4
England are already without Jack Leach, who has been ruled out of the series.

The visa issues are not ending for England cricket team, as yet another player of their squad faced trouble recently. Rehan Ahmed, England legspinner, was stopped from leaving Hirasar airport, Rajkot, because he lacked the necessary documentation.

According to a Sportstar report, Rehan held a single-entry visa, which is why he wasn’t allowed to re-enter India after England’s mid-series break in Abu Dhabi after the second Test. However, England were optimistic that the issue will be resolved in the next 24 hours as local authorities came up with a short-term solution for the spinner.

The ECB issued a statement on Tuesday morning mentioning that they were advised with paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa.

"We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed's visa. 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 ECB said via a statement.

Shoaib Bashir faced visa issues too

Before the first Test of the series in Hyderabad, Shoaib Bashir also faced visa issues. This resulted in Bashir’s late arrival for the series and he missed the first Test. He arrived on Day 4 of the first Test, the day on which England completed the victory. A man of Pakistani heritage, Bashir went from Abu Dhabi to the UK to get his visa stamped.

Similar to Bashir, Rehan Ahmed was also born in England but has a Pakistani heritage. But he did not have troubles in entering India as he had already secured a visa in October 2023 as a standby in England’s ODI World Cup squad.

Read: India's star batter set to miss third Test against England

A BCCI official was quoted as saying to 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."

Rehan Ahmed has picked up eight wickets in two matches at an average of 36.37 so far. He has also made some useful contributions with the bat. England are already without their premier spinner, Jack Leach, who sustained a knee injury during the first Test at Hyderabad and was ruled out of the series. The series is level at 1-1 with three more Tests to go.