By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) – Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja on Wednesday expressed disappointment about India’s delay in issuing him a visa, saying he is “stranded” while his teammates have already reached the South Asian nation for a test cricket tour.
"Me waiting for my Indian Visa like (sic)," Khawaja, a 36-year-old Pakistani-born Australian cricketer, tweeted from Sydney, using a meme from a popular Netflix series about infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Interestingly, the left-handed opener enjoys playing Indian and South African cricket teams.
Calling Khawaja Australia’s "most prolific batter over the last 12 months," Cricket Australia (CA) wrote: "Australia have suffered a setback in their preparation for the blockbuster Indian Test series as key batter Usman Khawaja awaits visa approval."
The arrival of Khawaja in India for the four-Test tour has been "delayed due to a visa hold-up," said the CA, which oversees cricket operations in the country.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, 17 Australian cricketers flew to India's Banglore city to play the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test, which begins on Feb. 9 in Nagpur city.
A decorated left-handed batsman since his debut in international cricket 12 years ago, Khawaja is part of an 18-member Australian team touring India.
It would be Khawaja’s first Test match in India if his visa is approved.
India and Pakistan are archrival South Asian nations, which have seen bilateral relations dwindling over many issues.
The CA hopes that Khawaja will fly out of the country on Thursday.
Earlier in 2011, Khawaja had said he was denied entry into India “because he was not born in Australia.”
He has, however, returned to India several times since.
Last month, the Australian cricketer had said security stopped him thrice to check his credentials and whether he was part of the team despite wearing the Australian team kit.
“I got stopped 3 times last year at our hotel, while in Australian Kit and asked if I was with the Australian Cricket team...,” Khawaja said in response to a cricket reporter who had complained about similar security checks.
Khawaja, a father of two, made his debut in first-class cricket for New South Wales in 2008 and played his first international match for Australia in Jan. 2011.
Born in Dec. 1986, Khawaja’s family moved to Australia when he was four years old.