The saga of visa troubles for England's cricket team took another twist as leg-spin-bowling all-rounder Rehan Ahmed encountered issues ahead of the third Test against India in Rajkot. This comes on the heels of the initial denial of a visa for uncapped off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, sparking concerns and discussions within the cricketing community.
Bashir's visa ordeal had cast a shadow over the start of the tour, prompting England captain Ben Stokes to contemplate the possibility of pulling out until the matter was resolved. The situation drew criticism from former cricketers of both nations, with David Lloyd suggesting England's departure from India and Venkatesh Prasad pointing fingers at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for procedural lapses.
Despite eventually obtaining his visa and making his debut in the second Test at Visakhapatnam, Bashir's journey was marred by uncertainty. Now, as the England squad prepared for the third Test in Rajkot, another setback arose with Rehan Ahmed's visa predicament.
Ahmed, who had been instrumental in England's performances in the preceding Tests, found himself delayed at the Rajkot International Airport due to visa complications. Having contributed significantly with both bat and ball in the series so far, his absence would have been keenly felt by the team.
The crux of the issue lies in Ahmed's single-entry visa, which became invalid when he left for Abu Dhabi during the ten-day gap between Tests. Fortunately, with the intervention of local authorities, Ahmed was granted a temporary two-day visa, providing a short-term solution to the immediate problem.
However, the clock is ticking as the remaining paperwork needs to be swiftly completed before the commencement of the third Test on February 15. With England aiming to level the series, the resolution of Ahmed's visa woes becomes crucial for the team's prospects in the crucial encounter.
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