England confident of solution as Rehan Ahmed remains in visa limbo in India
Rehan Ahmed remains in limbo in India although England are certain the teenage leg-spinner’s visa problem will be sorted out on Wednesday ahead of the third Test in Rajkot.
Ahmed’s single-entrance visa expired the moment he left for England’s mid-series break in the United Arab Emirates and the 19-year-old was initially red-flagged upon the team’s return to India on Monday.
England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum waited with Ahmed at Hirasar Rajkot Airport as an emergency two-day visa was granted before the trio got to the team hotel separately to the group.
Ahmed trained with his team-mates at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday morning and – while there is yet to be a resolution -, England seem convinced the issuing of a new visa is a formality.
“It’s not a concern,” Stokes said. “The guys who dealt with it at the airport did a really good job, given where we found ourselves. I’m confident that will be sorted.”
It is unclear whether the issue will hinder Ahmed’s chances as he tries to retain his England spot when the series, which is currently deadlocked at 1-1 after two gripping instalments, resumes on Thursday.
But it has occurred just a couple of weeks after off-spinner Shoaib Bashir was forced to miss the first Test in Hyderabad because of a paperwork snag as his Pakistani heritage led to extended checks.
Ahmed, like Bashir, was born in the UK and is of Pakistani heritage but this is a separate matter owing to an oversight on the part of the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Ahmed was already in possession of an Indian visa after being placed on standby for England’s 50-over World Cup campaign in October and November but it was not activated then because he was not required to travel.