- Ahmed was stopped at the airport as he did not have the right paperwork
- It had nothing to do with his Pakistani heritage – which had affected Bashir
- Ahmed only had a single entry visa due to an administrative error by the ECB
England ran into more visa problems when they returned to India ahead of Thursday’s third Test when Rehan Ahmed was initially refused entry back into the country.
Ahmed was stopped at Rajkot’s new Hirasar Airport as England flew back from their Abu Dhabi base where they spent their mid-series break because he did not have the right paperwork.
But this had nothing to do with Ahmed’s Pakistani heritage, as the issue which stopped Shoaib Bashir from entering India at the start of the tour did.
This was a basic administrative error from the ECB as Ahmed, who was on stand-by for England’s World Cup squad that visited India late last year, only had a single entry visa so was in effect attempting to re-enter the country illegally.
The teenage leg-spinner was eventually granted emergency entry to re-join his team-mates and journey to their hotel here in Gujarat and took part in their first training session in Rajkot today.
Rehan Ahmed was initially refused entry back into India ahead of Wednesday’s third Test
An administrative error by the EBC meant that Ahmed, in effect, attempted to re-enter the country illegally
Shoaib Bashir had a VISA issue at the start of the tour due to his Pakistani heritage
England are confident the matter will be sorted out within the next 24 hours and that Ahmed will be allowed to take his place in the third Test with the five-match series level at 1-1. But this was a sloppy error from the ECB who should know, particularly after the Bashir saga that cast a cloud over the start of the tour, how meticulous India are over visas.
Their problems with visas seemingly does not stop with their players of Pakistani heritage. Ollie Robinson revealed on his podcast ‘Chatting Balls’ that he only received his on the morning England initially flew to Hyderabad for the first Test from their training camp in Abu Dhabi last month.
The seamer was told by England tour manager Wayne Bentley that he had initially been refused a visa because of a paperwork error and that he, like Bashir, might have to stay in the UAE for an extra night or two.
‘He said ‘your visa has been denied’ or something,’ said Robinson. ‘There was an error by the ECB. I think they must have put an initial wrong, or one letter wrong. It didn’t pass. He was like ‘you’re not coming to India, you have to stay another night. It might be two nights, it might be three. We don’t know how long it will take.’ Luckily I woke up the next morning to a nice message from Wayne that said ‘visa’s here.’
England blamed the problem on their players being granted electronic business visas so the issue with single entry did not show up on Ahmed’s passport until it was scanned at Rajkot.
England blamed the problem on their players being granted electronic business visas so the issue with single entry did not show up on Ahmed’s passport until it was scanned at Rajkot
Ollie Robinson revealed on his podcast that he only received his visa on the morning England initially flew to Hyderabad for the first Test from their training camp in Abu Dhabi last month.
An England spokesperson said: ‘We were advised, on returning to India, that there was a paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa.
‘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.’
Mail Sport understands both captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum waited with Ahmed at the airport for 20 minutes until the emergency visa was granted while the rest of the England party moved on to their hotel.