Australian cricketer Khawaja finally gets visa to tour India
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Pakistan-born Australia cricketer Usman Khawaja was cleared to join the national squad for a tour of India after his visa issues were cleared up ahead of his rescheduled departure on Thursday.
Cricket Australia said Khawaja was flying out of Melbourne, more than a day later than planned, after having to wait for his visa to be approved.
The other members of Australia’s 18-man squad were granted entry to India in time to take flights on Tuesday and Wednesday to their training camp in Bangalore.
It is not the first time Khawaja, who was born in the Pakistan capital of Islamabad, has faced visa challenges when trying to enter India. In 2011, the top-order batter took to social media to say he had not been permitted to enter the country because he was not born in Australia.
On Wednesday, Khawaja posted a popular meme on Instagram along with the hashtags “stranded”, “dontleaveme”, “standard” and “anytimenow.”
The 36-year-old Khawaja hasn’t played in India in any of his 56 test matches dating back to 2011, although he has played other formats of cricket there. He has undergone a career revival since returning to Australia’s test lineup during the Ashes series win over England in January of last year following an almost three-year absence.
He posted centuries in each innings of his test recall in Sydney and has added three more hundreds, including an unbeaten 195 against South Africa last in Sydney last month, and five big half-centuries in 11 matches.
The four-test series against India begins in Nagpur next Thursday. The second test is set for New Delhi starting Feb. 17, the third March 1 in Dharamsala and the final test beginning March 9 in Ahmedabad.
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