Rehan Ahmed: England spinner experiences visa issue on return to India ahead of third Test

13 February 2024, 06:42 | Updated: 13 February 2024, 11:58

Rehan Ahmed has become the latest England player to run into visa problems in India but the tourists are optimistic the teenage leg-spinner will be available for the third Test in Rajkot.

The 19-year-old was initially denied entry upon the England team returning to India on Monday after a mid-series break in the United Arab Emirates because he only held a single-entrance electronic visa.

The issue is different to what Shoaib Bashir encountered last month and Ahmed was granted an emergency two-day visa, allowing him to train with his England team-mates in Rajkot on Tuesday morning.

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Ahmed has now applied for a multi-entrance visa and England are confident the issue will be resolved before the series, currently deadlocked at 1-1, resumes on Thursday.

"We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed's visa," an England team spokesperson said.

"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."

More visa issues for England

Bashir's arrival was delayed because of a unforeseen snag in his paperwork, with his Pakistani heritage leading to extended checks, and meant he missed the first Test win in Hyderabad last month.

Ahmed, like Bashir, was born in the UK and is of Pakistani heritage but he was already in possession of an Indian visa after being placed on standby for England's 50-over World Cup campaign.

That was not activated because he was not required to travel but, with all of England's team travelling on electronic visas which are not stamped on passports, any administrative issues are harder to spot.

Ahmed, England's youngest cricketer in all three formats, entered India for the first time ahead of the start of the series and has featured in both Tests, taking eight wickets at a decent average of 36.37.

England departed for the UAE after the second Test and only when Ahmed had his passport scanned once arriving back at Hirasar Rajkot Airport, following a chartered flight from Abu Dhabi, did the oversight emerge.

Captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum remained with Ahmed while he was given his temporary stay and they arrived at the team hotel about an hour after the rest of the group.

Leach ruled out for England

England and Somerset spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the rest of the series with a left knee injury.

Leach sustained the injury during England's first Test victory in Hyderabad and missed the second Test in Vizag as a result. He has since flown back to the UK and England electing against calling up a replacement.

Indian batter KL Rahul will miss the third Test after failing a fitness test and has been replaced in the squad by Devdutt Padikkal, although the BCCI remain adamant he will be available for the final two Tests in the series.

"Mr Rahul has reached 90 per cent of match fitness and is progressing well under the supervision of the BCCI medical team," the BCCI said in a statement. "He will continue his recovery process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to be completely match-fit for the fourth and fifth test."

Rahul's absence follows Virat Kohli pulling out of the series due to personal reasons. India and England are tied 1-1 in the series ahead of the third Test start in Rajkot on Thursday.

Follow over-by-over text commentary from the third Test between India and England, in Rajkot, from Thursday live on and the Sky Sports App (first ball at 4am).

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