India delays visa for Pakistan-born Australian cricketer Khawaja

Cricket Australia says he was the only player who could not board the flight to India for the Test series.

Australia's Usman Khawaja reacts after losing his wicket
Australia's Usman Khawaja reacts after losing his wicket [File: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters]

Australian opener Usman Khawaja has missed the team’s flight to India for their four-Test tour due to a visa delay, Cricket Australia (CA) said.

A CA spokesperson said the Pakistan-born batsman was the only player in Australia’s squad not to board the flight on Wednesday because his visa had not arrived in time.

Khawaja posted online a meme from the popular Netflix series Narcos where infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar sits on a garden chair staring into space, with the caption “Me waiting for my Indian Visa like… #stranded #dontleaveme #standard #anytimenow”.

CA was expecting the visa to arrive later on Wednesday and said Khawaja had been booked on a flight out on Thursday.

Some team support staff are also flying out on Thursday.

In 2011, Khawaja had said he was denied entry into India “because he was not born in Australia”. However, since then Khawaja has visited India several times.

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

Australia will try to win their first Test series in India in almost a decade. Tests will be played in Nagpur, New Delhi, Dharamsala and the last one at 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 2021-22 Ashes.

He notched up his 4,000th 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.

Source: News Agencies