London, April 5: Out-of-favour India Test batter Cheteshwar Pujara's debut for Sussex has been delayed until next week due to visa issues and he will miss the side's first County Championship match of the season starting on Thursday.
Pujara, who was dropped from India's recent Test series against Sri Lanka, was due to play Sussex's first six County Championship matches of the season before returning later in the season for the Royal London Cup and some additional four-day games. The club said in a statement that it has been in regular contact with Pujara and was working tirelessly to enable him to be available for the first game of the season against Nottinghamshire.
"Securing overseas players has been tremendously difficult in the current climate. We renegotiated the initial Pujara contract so he could return for more County Championship and Royal London Cup matches, and this subsequently changed the visa requirements," Sussex Performance Director, Keith Greenfield said in the statement.
"On top of this, the Ukraine crisis has meant that the Home Office 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."
Sussex expects Pujara, who also has been demoted in BCCI's central contract list, to be available for their second game against Derbyshire next week.
"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," Sussex head coach Ian Salisbury said.