Explained: Rehan Ahmed visa row in Rajkot; What is single-entry visa?

Indian immigration officials held Rehan on arrival at Rajkot airport, given he had a single-entry visa. Among the 31 members, only Rehan did not have the right visa.

Rehan Ahmed, Ben Stokes, Joe Root

England spinner Rehan Ahmed stopped at Rajkot airport due to visa issue. Photo: Sportzpics for BCCI

Anish Kumar New Delhi

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England cricket returned to India on Monday after utilising the 10-break between Visakhapatnam and Rajkot Test in Abu Dhabi. But once again, one of the English players of Pakistani origin got into trouble on arrival in India. This time, it was leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed. 

Indian immigration officials held Rehan on arrival at Rajkot airport, given he had a single-entry visa. Among the 31 members, only Rehan did not have the right visa. The third Test between India and England will start on February 15.

Check India vs England 3rd Test Day 2 live score and match updates here

Check IND vs ENG 3rd Test full scorecard from Rajkot here

What is a single-entry visa?

A person holding a single-entry visa is not allowed to exit and re-enter the country. 

England team arrived in India on a charted flight after enjoying a break in Abu Dhabi. They returned to the pre-tour Abu Dhabi camp during a long break between Visakhapatnam and Rajkot Test. England's arrival in Rajkot was also one of a kind, given this was the first time an international flight directly landed in the city. 

The Indian authorities set up a temporary immigration counter at Rajkot airport.

So what's next for Rehan Ahmed and the other English players?

A BCCI official told Hindustan Times that the England team has been advised to process the visa again, which can be done in the next two days. Meanwhile, Rehan is allowed to enter the country with the rest of the team.

Rehan Ahmed, of Pakistani origin

Rehan, born in England but with Pakistani ancestry, entered the nation without any problems at first, thanks to a visa he obtained in October while serving as a backup for England's 50-over World Cup team. 

Rehan Ahmed parents

Rehan Ahmed's father, Naeem Ahmed, is a former cricket player. He was born in Pakistan and played as an all-rounder before relocating to England. Naeem, originally from Mirpur in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), moved to England in 2001 with his spouse and started working as a cab driver.
How could Rehan Ahmed's absence have dented England's prospects for the third Test?

A day before their return to India, England were dealt a blow with their frontline spinner Jack Leach ruled out of the remaining three Tests with a knee injury.

However, no replacement will be called for Leach, indicating that England will continue with the spin trio of Tom Hartley, Rehan Ahmed and Shoaib Basheer for the rest of the tour.

Joe Root is the visitors' fourth spin option behind the three regular spinners.

If Rehan had not been allowed to enter India, he would have had to sit out of the Rajkot Test.

Visa issues for other England players during the India tour 2024

England faced visa issues before the start of the tour. England's young spinner Shoaib Bashir didn't get the visa at the beginning of the tour, making him unavailable for selection for the first Test in Hyderabad.

Bashir had to return to England, and then he got the visa. He arrived in India on Day 4 of the Hyderabad Test.

Meanwhile, Ollie Robinson also narrated an incident about a visa issue.

While talking to Chatting Balls, Robinson said: "There was an error at the ECB - they must have just put an initial wrong, or one letter must have been wrong. It didn't pass. He was like, 'You're not coming to India - you have to stay here for another night… it could be two nights, could be three nights, don't know how long it's going to take.' Luckily, I woke up in the morning to a nice message from Wayne saying 'visa's here'."

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First Published: Feb 13 2024 | 9:07 AM IST

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