Usman Khawaja cleared for India tour after visa approved

Usman Khawaja hides his bat from the rain Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Usman Khawaja has been cleared to join the Australia squad in India after his visa was belatedly approved following a delay which meant he wasn't able to leave with team-mates on Wednesday.

Khawaja will now depart on Thursday and link up with the rest of the squad in Bengaluru where they are based for a pre-series training camp over the next four days.

Late on Thursday morning, he posted an image of himself on a plane with the hashtags "#incoming #khawajyenroute".

On Wednesday afternoon, shortly after a second group of players and support staff had left from Sydney, Khawaja posted on social media: "Me waiting for my Indian Visa like... #stranded #dontleaveme #standard #anytimenow." ESPNcricinfo understands that a number of visas were late being returned, although it's unclear if any other travel plans had to be changed.

The Australia Test squad left in two groups across Tuesday and Wednesday, following the Cricket Australia awards in Sydney on Monday night, where Khawaja was named Shane Warne Men's Test Player of the Year.

Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan and is an Australian citizen, has toured India numerous times - including for the 2013 and 2017 Test visits - but has had difficulty getting a visa previously too.

In 2011, he was initially denied a visa to play in the T20 Champions League for New South Wales before representations to the Indian high commission resolved the situation.

Khawaja shapes as a pivotal member of Australia's top order even though he has yet to play a Test in India. Since his recall against England in early 2022, he has scored 1275 runs at 79.68 including five centuries

Australia will spend four days training in Bengaluru before relocating to Nagpur for the first Test, which begins on February 9.

A number of the squad members, although not Khawaja and other batters involved in the BBL, underwent a two-day camp in Sydney last week. Australia will not have a tour match before the series, preferring to prepare at home in conditions they could control, and then the centre-wicket time in Bengaluru where they have been assured the pitches would be a fair representation of what is expected for the Tests.