Usman Khawaja celebrates after scoring 100 runs during a match. File
Pakistan-born Australian batter Usman Khawaja was on Wednesday belatedly issued his Indian visa and will join his teammates who are already departing for next week’s four-Test tour, an Indian diplomat said.
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 forlorn Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar — played by actor Wagner Moura — sits alone on a swinging seat.
India’s High Commissioner to Australia tweeted in response later that Khawaja’s visa had been “issued and collected from our Consulate General in Melbourne.”
“Let’s have a great #BorderGavaskarTrophy series!” Manpreet Vohra tweeted. He did not elaborate on the reasons for the visa delay.
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-born Khawaja, who has toured India numerous times before, has had difficulty getting a visa previously too.
The Australian team will have a four-day training camp in Bengaluru before leaving for Nagpur for the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which begins on Feb.9. 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 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.