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England are confident of a solution as Rehan Ahmed remains on visa status in India

England are confident of a solution as Rehan Ahmed remains on visa status in India

Ahmed's single-entry visa expired the moment he left for England's mid-season break in the UAE, and the 19-year-old was initially red-flagged when the team returned to India on Monday.

England captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum waited with Ahmed at Rajkot's Hirasar airport where a two-day emergency visa was granted before the trio arrived at the team hotel separately from the group.

Shoaib Bashir (right) faced visa problems ahead of England's series in India (Manish Swarup/AP)

Ahmed trained with his teammates at the Saurashtra Cricket Association ground on Tuesday morning, and although there is no solution yet, England appear convinced that issuing a new visa is a formality.

“That's not a concern. The people who handled it at the airport did a really good job, considering where we found ourselves,” Stokes said. “I am confident that this matter will be resolved.”

It is not clear whether the issue will hamper Ahmed's chances as he tries to retain his place in England when the series, currently deadlocked at 1-1 after two thrilling rounds, resumes on Thursday.

But it happened just two weeks after off-spinner Shoaib Bashir was forced to miss the first Test in Hyderabad due to a paperwork snag as his Pakistani heritage led to extended checks.

Ahmed, like Bashir, was born in the UK and is of Pakistani origin, but this is a separate matter due to oversight by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Rehan Ahmed has taken eight wickets in two Tests (Manish Swarup/AP)
Rehan Ahmed has taken eight wickets in two Tests (Manish Swarup/AP)

Ahmed was already on an Indian visa after being put on standby to participate in the 50-over World Cup with England in October and November, but it was not activated at the time because he was not required to travel.

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England players travel on e-visas not stamped in passports, so the situation with Ahmed only came to light in Rajkot after England's six-day break in Abu Dhabi.

Ahmed – who is England's youngest cricketer in all three formats – has taken eight wickets in the series at a respectable average of 36.37 so far and has also contributed 70 runs, including 23 runs after rising to third in the batting order as an all-rounder. He is called the “Nighthawk” in the second test.

England's rotation options have already been badly hit by Jack Leach's knee injury, leaving Ahmed, Bashir and Tom Hartley as a specialist trio, enjoying six caps between them, with Joe Root's part-time breaks in high demand. .

Ahmed trained with his England teammates in Rajkot on Tuesday (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Ahmed trained with his England teammates in Rajkot on Tuesday (Bradley Collyer/PA)

An England team spokesman said: “We were informed, upon our return to India, of a discrepancy in the paperwork with Rehan Ahmed’s visa.”

“The local authorities at Rajkot airport were supportive, enabling Rehan to enter 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 team ahead of the third Test.”