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Sunday April 21, 2024

Aussie batter Khawaja's India visa delayed ahead of Test tour

Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja has toured India before, but also faced delays on that occasion with his visa taking longer than Australia-born teammates

By AFP
February 01, 2023
Australia’s Usman Khawaja celebrates reaching his century (100 runs) during day two of the third cricket Test match between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney on January 5, 2023.— AFP
Australia’s Usman Khawaja celebrates reaching his century (100 runs) during day two of the third cricket Test match between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney on January 5, 2023.— AFP

Pakistan-born Australian batter Usman Khawaja said on Wednesday he was still waiting for an Indian visa, even as his teammates began departing for a four-Test tour that starts on February 9.

Khawaja — who moved to Australia aged four — has toured India before, but also faced delays on that occasion with his visa taking longer than Australia-born teammates.

"Waiting for my Indian Visa," Khawaja said on Instagram, above an image from Netflix series "Narcos" where a forlorn Pablo Escobar — played by actor Wagner Moura — sits alone on a swinging seat.

The left-handed opener is now scheduled to fly out on Thursday.

Australian media reported that touring players and support staff began receiving visas in early January, and some have already begun arriving in Bengaluru, where the team will set up pre-match camp.

Pakistan and India have had fraught relations since partition in 1947 and those tensions have routinely seeped into sports.

The two countries last played a bilateral series a decade ago and Pakistani players have been barred from the prestigious T20 Indian Premier League.

Australia is trying to win its first Test series in India in almost a decade. Tests will be played in Nagpur, Delhi, Dharamsala and then in the world's largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.

After being left out of the Test side for about two years Khawaja made a stunning return against England in the 2021-2022 Ashes.

He notched his 4000th Test run in a recent match against South Africa in Sydney, where he was 195 not out.

Khawaja was awarded the inaugural Shane Warne Men's Test Player of the Year award for his 1,020 runs at an average of 78.46.