Visa issues have left batter Usman Khawaja at risk of being stranded in Sydney while his teammates assemble in India for this month’s blockbuster Test tour.
Australia’s No.1-ranked squad took staggered flights to the subcontinent on Tuesday and Wednesday before the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test, beginning in Nagpur on February 9.
Khawaja remains in Sydney but Cricket Australia is hopeful the 36-year-old will be cleared to fly out of the country on Thursday.
The classy left-hander was not due to train with teammates in Bangalore on Thursday, regardless, and the team’s hierarchy is not concerned the delay will affect his preparation.
Every member of the 18-man squad has been cleared to enter India bar Pakistan-born Khawaja, who also faced visa challenges when he tried to enter the country in 2011.
On that occasion, Khawaja took to social media to vent his frustration he had not been permitted to enter the country because he was not born in Australia.
On Wednesday, the Queensland captain posted a popular meme on Instagram along with the hashtags “stranded”, “dontleaveme”, “standard” and “anytimenow”.
A CA official told AAP the governing body was aware of the situation and was hopeful Khawaja would be approved for entry into India imminently.
Khawaja is set to play his first Test match in India this month, but he has been cleared to play in the country in other formats on numerous occasions.
He toured with the Test team in 2013, when he was part of the infamous homework-gate scandal with teammates James Pattinson, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson.
Khawaja also represented Rising Pune Supergiant in the IPL in 2016, played for Australia A on an Indian tour in 2018, and toured again with the national ODI team in 2019 when he scored two centuries.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association have not been involved in the process and declined to comment about Khawaja’s situation when contacted by AAP.
Khawaja’s Big Bash League side Brisbane Heat is scheduled to play Sydney Sixers in ‘The Challenger’ final at the SCG on Thursday night.
But a Heat official told AAP it was unlikely Khawaja would participate in the match if he was still in Sydney, with securing a visa to India remaining the player’s top priority.
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