India vs Australia Test series: Usman Khawaja unable to travel in a Visa series

Usman Khawaja was left behind as his teammates flew to India in confusion over the status of his visa. So what’s next for the opener crucial to Australia’s chances of a historic win in India?

Australia hope Usman Khawaja will fly to join them in India on Thursday after becoming the latest Pakistani-born player to suffer mysterious visa problems.

Australian Tester of the Year Shane Warne was left behind as his team-mates flew to the subcontinent on Wednesday after his visa was delayed by the Indian government.

It was unclear why he was the only member of the 17-strong squad not allowed entry to India, but he is the only member of the squad who was born in Pakistan.

It goes without saying that there were no problems with visas for auxiliary workers either, and all applications were made at the same time.

The veteran opener, who has enjoyed a remarkable career renaissance for Australia over the past 12 months, was due to depart with his Sydney team-mates on Wednesday but was unable to depart due to the deadlock.

Khawaja is understood to have been issued a visa but was delayed by an administrative issue related to physical documents not yet being available.

Khawaja now had to fly to Melbourne in hopes of collecting the documents and boarding a flight to Bengaluru from there on Thursday.

Khawaja posted on Instagram with the line “Waiting for my Indian visa #stranded”.

The Australian is aware that Khawaja’s visa application was submitted along with his passport during the Sydney test, but his application was the only one that was not processed.

Khawaja, who was born in Islamabad, Pakistan but immigrated to Australia as a child and is an Australian citizen, has struggled in the past.

He suffered similar delays in obtaining a visa for the 2011 Champions Trophy, leading to Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW petitioning the Indian High Commission.

Khawaja was in Sydney following Monday’s Australian Cricket Awards and had expected to fly with the team on Wednesday morning but instead waved the other players and staff off because he was unable to board the flight.

It is understood the Queensland-based opener was forced to fly to Melbourne, where visa applications were being made, in hopes of collecting his passport and relevant paperwork.

Hopefully he can fly on Thursday.

Khawaja faced similar issues when his passport was withheld ahead of Australia’s ODI tour of India in 2020, although he was ultimately not included in the final squad.

Cricket Australia confirmed the situation this afternoon but expressed optimism it would be resolved soon.

India and Pakistan have tense geopolitical positions in contested border areas and have declined to engage in bilateral cricket series.

Pakistan-born English cricketer Moeen Ali has been a delayed arrival to India in the past.

Similar problems have also occurred the other way around.

Indian-born New Zealand cricketer Ish Sodhi recently arrived in Pakistan late with his Kiwi team-mates.

A controversy over India’s treatment of its Muslim minority recently flared up when the central government banned any release of a BBC documentary on the subject and had social media accounts censor mentions of the issue.

Australia will play four Tests against India in Nagpur starting February 9.

The team flies to a training camp in Bangalore ahead of the series.

Originally published as India v Australia Test series: Usman Khawaja unable to travel amid visa series India vs Australia Test series: Usman Khawaja unable to travel in a Visa series

Ryan Sederquist

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