After days of agonizing wait, all members of the Indian and West Indies teams have been officially cleared to travel to the United States of America. They will be playing two T20I games in Florida this weekend.
Thanks to the intervention of the Guyana government, the US Visas for some players and support staff of the two sides could be obtained, albeit at the eleventh hour. Cricbuzz can confirm that it required the efforts of Irfan Ali, the President of Guyana, to get the travel approvals. “It was a timely and influential diplomatic effort by His Excellency,” said Ricky Skerritt, the president of Cricket West Indies (CWI), thanking the head of the Guyana government.
As earlier reported, those without the visas were flown to Georgetown in Guyana after the third T20I in St Kitts on Tuesday (August 2) night for interviews at the US Embassy. Among those who attended the interviews were India skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid. There were, in fact, 14 of them from the Indian touring party who did not have the travel approvals.
Others, including Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Ravi Bishnoi, Suryakumar Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav, have reached Miami meanwhile. They will be joined by the rest of the teammates on Thursday night.
“They can fly only tomorrow afternoon. All Visa applications have been approved but passports are not to be returned until this afternoon,” Skerritt said, revealing the reason for the delayed travel. “All that the CWI could do has been done. Last night’s charter to Miami, for those previously with visas, was at greater financial risk to delay it than to operate it as previously planned,” Skerritt further said.
Meanwhile, it has been learnt that Rohit will be available for the last two games on Saturday and Sunday. The India skipper retired hurt during the team’s chase against West Indies in the 3rd T20I in Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts, on Tuesday. He had scored 11 off five balls when he had to leave the field. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the skipper suffered a back spasm. He is now learnt to have recovered. India went on to win the game to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.