Visa Bungle Means Khawaja Unable to Tour India
Australian test batsman Usman Khawaja is being refused a visa to enter India for next month’s Twenty20 champions league because of his country of birth.
Khawaja was born in Pakistan and moved to Australia as a child, and he also holds an Australian passport, however that hasn’t stopped Indian authorities refusing him entry to the country.
Pakistan players have been refused entry into the last three Twenty20 Champions League tournaments in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
“There has been a stoppage in the system at the Indian High Commission in Australia with Usman’s application,” said Cricket Australia spokesman Philip Pope.
“Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia are seeking to understand the detail behind the stoppage with our colleagues at the Indian High Commission.
“We generally find that we resolve our issues mutually, so we will work through this once we’ve understood the details. I can’t give you a timeline of when it will be resolved, but I’m confident – given our history and relationship – that we will resolve this as soon as possible.”
Khawaja, who is Australia’s first Muslim test cricketer, expressed his disbelief at decision saying that the Indian visa department needed to sort their issues out.
Meanwhile new Australian test captain Michael Clarke has warned is players to brace themselves for a spin bowling onslaught in the upcoming test and one day series against Sri Lanka, after Ajantha Mendis ripped through the Australian cricket side in the recent Twenty20 series.
“These conditions are very tough normally to face spin bowling. We have to be at our best,” Clarke said.
“We know the wickets here are going to be conductive to spin bowling and we know to have success on this tour, we have to play well against spin.”
The opening one day match will be played at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, which hosted the final Twenty20 match in which Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis ripped through the Australian attack, taking a Twenty20 international record haul of 6/16.
“It look exactly the same,” were Clarke’s thoughts when asked about the pitch.
“It looks quite dry and the outfield, as you’ve seen in the Twenty20s is lightning. So once you get in I think it’s a beautiful place to bat.
“It’s just going to be tough to start against the spinners, definitely, but we don’t expect anything different throughout the whole tour.”
Bookmaker odds suggest Australia will have a tough time in their tour of the island nation with Sri Lanka being installed as favourites for both the one-day and test series’.
Sri Lanka will be boosted by the return of Upul Tharanga, who has finished a three month ban for testing positive to a banned substance, while paceman Lasith Malinga is also ready to return from injury for the one day series.
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