Pakistan’s team took off for their tour of Ireland and England on Monday morning without one essential member of the squad: Mohammad Amir. The pace spearhead’s departure has been held back because of a delay in his visa, but the PCB are confident that he should be granted a visa this week.
Amir is the most experienced member of an inexperienced pace attack, ahead of what will be his third bilateral tour of England. He is expected to fly for London on Wednesday subject to visa. There had been confusion as to the reasons of the delay, with some reports suggesting it was because he has also separately applied for a longer-term spouse visa which eventually places him on the path to a British passport.
But the PCB has said that is not the case. “He [Amir] didn’t travel with the team as we are still awaiting for his visa,” PCB spokesman confirmed to ESPNcricinfo. “His visa status is still pending but we are optimistic that he is mostly likely to get the visa by Wednesday before he starts his journey same day.”
The delay is not unusual for him, stemming potentially from concerns about the impact of his brief jail stint in the UK on spot-fixing charges. On Pakistan’s last tour of England in 2016, Amir had faced a similar delay in acquiring his visa, with the PCB ultimately engaging the ECB to support in the visa process. In 2014, Amir applied for a UK visa in his personal capacity but that was rejected.
In 2016, Amir married a British citizen of Pakistani origin and has since visited the UK regularly. Last year he played county cricket for Essex and was also in London for the birth of his first child (as well as for the Champions Trophy). Amir is in the process of applying for an indefinite leave to remain visa which, potentially, allows him to acquire a British passport in the next five years.