Pakistan-born Australia batsman Khawaja misses flight to India after visa delay

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MELBOURNE: Australia opener Usman Khawaja missed the team’s flight to India on Wednesday for their four-test tour due to a visa delay, Cricket Australia (CA) said.

A CA spokesman said the Pakistan-born batsman was the only player in Australia’s squad not to board because his visa had not arrived in time.

Khawaja posted a popular meme on social media of a man sitting on a garden chair staring into space, with the caption: “Me waiting for my Indian Visa like… #stranded #dontleaveme #standard #anytimenow.” CA expect the visa to arrive later on Wednesday and said Khawaja had been booked on a flight out on Thursday.

Some team support staff are also flying out on Thursday.

India host the first of four tests in Nagpur from Feb. 9.

Khawaja, 36, claimed the Shane Warne award as Australia’s men’s test player of the year on Monday after a prolific 12 months during which he scored 1,020 runs at an average of 78.46.

‘Subconscious racial bias continues in Australian cricket’

A “subconscious” racial bias continues to influence cricket in the country all the way up to the top level, said Khawaja last month.

Khawaja stated that a lack of representation “at a high-performance level” was a key challenge faced by non-white players and that the cricket scene in Australia was still stagnant.

“That’s where I’m trying to work with Cricket Australia saying, ‘Look, guys, you invest a lot of money into this, but something’s not going right. You’ve been doing it for 10 years and nothing’s changed”, Khawaja told Sydney Morning Herald.

“There’s a subconscious bias. If you have two cricketers, one brown, one white, both the same, the white coach is going to pick the white cricketer just because he has a son that might look similar to him. It’s what’s familiar to him.”

Khawaja’s opinion is correct in the sense that the entire CA board, national selectors, and senior coaching staff are white.

Last year, he claimed on Twitter that despite being dressed in proper team kit and in the middle of a series, he was frequently stopped by security to have his credentials examined.

“I got stopped 3 times last year at our hotel, while in Australian kit, and [was] asked if I was with the Australian Cricket team…” Khawaja wrote. It should be noted here that Khawaja was born in Pakistan and relocated to Sydney at a young age, where he grew up and played cricket in the eastern suburbs, along with veteran batter David Warner.

Khawaja represented Australia in 105 international matches and scored 5,957 runs.