Visa problems delay Pujara's stint at Sussex
India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara's debut for English county Sussex has been delayed by visa problems, it was announced Monday.
Sussex had hoped to have Pujara available for their opening County Championship match at home to Nottinghamshire starting on Thursday.
But delays in issuing the 34-year-old with a visa mean he won't be available to the south coast club until next week at the earliest.
"Securing overseas players has been tremendously difficult in the current climate," said Sussex performance director Keith Greenfield in a statement.
"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."
He added: "On top of this, the Ukraine crisis has meant that the Home Office (British interior ministry) 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.”
Pujara will still be available for five rounds of Championship cricket out of the first six fixtures as agreed, starting with Derbyshire next week.
He will also be returning later in the season for the Royal London Cup, and some additional four-day games.
Sussex coach Ian Salisbury, the former England leg-spinner, said: "Of course I am extremely disappointed that we will not have a player of Pujara's experience and quality to be available for the opening day of the season, but we must move on and now focus on the game ahead of us."
Pujara was signed as a replacement for Travis Head after the Australia batsman asked to be released from his Sussex contract due to increased international commitments, as well as the fact he and his partner are expecting their first child.
Pujara, who has scored more than 6,500 Test runs, has previously had spells in the English domestic game with Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.