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Cheteshwar Pujara's Sussex debut delayed by visa hold-up

Home Office backlog caused by displacement of Ukrainian citizens sees Pujara miss Notts fixture

Cheteshwar Pujara flicks one off this pads, England vs India, 3rd Test, Leeds, 3rd day, August 27, 2021

Cheteshwar Pujara flicks one off his pads  •  Getty Images

Cheteshwar Pujara will miss the opening game of his stint as Sussex's overseas player in the County Championship due to a visa hold-up caused indirectly by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Pujara, who was dropped by India for their recent Test series against Sri Lanka and has been demoted in the BCCI's contract list, was due to play Sussex's first six Championship games of the season before returning later in the summer for the Royal London Cup and "some additional four-day games", according to the club's statement.
He had been expected to arrive in time to make his debut against Nottinghamshire on Thursday, but will not be available until Sussex's fixture against Derbyshire the following week due to a delay in receiving his visa.
"Securing overseas players has been tremendously difficult in the current climate," Keith Greenfield, Sussex's performance director, said. "We renegotiated the initial Pujara contract so he could return for more County Championship and Royal London 50-over matches, and this subsequently changed the visa requirements.
"On top of this, the Ukraine crisis has meant that the Home Office has redirected their resources to help with the displacement of Ukrainian citizens. We were expecting Pujara to be with us last weekend but can now confirm he will be here at the back end of this week."
Ian Salisbury, the club's Championship and 50-over head coach, said he was "extremely disappointed… not [to] have a player of Pujara's experience and quality available for the opening day of the season".
Sussex will also be without Ollie Robinson for the first game of the season, with the fast bowler made unavailable by the ECB after missing all three of England's Tests against West Indies in the Caribbean last month through injury.