Tallangatta star Sahib Malhotra has been forced to return home and will only come back if the club makes finals.
Indian Malhotra didn’t play in Saturday’s last-over win against Wodonga Raiders after the visa issue arose unexpectedly over the Christmas break.
“He was originally going to be here until the end of January and go home for a couple of weeks and come back for the finals,” captain-coach Matt Armstrong said.
“Then we found out, just by chance, that he would have over stayed his visa.
“The Indian import (Hererken Gujral) … said to him, ‘what do we do about this 90-day stay’, he (Malhotra) said, ‘what do you mean?’,” Armstrong said.
“He has a 12-month visa and one of the conditions of a holiday visa is you can have a maximum stay of 90 days.
The import ... said to him, ‘what do we do about this 90-day stay’, he said, ‘what do you mean?'Matt Armstrong
“We had to scramble around to bring his flight forward.”
The Bushies are currently fifth in the 50-over competition, which resumes next Saturday.
CAW has a top six and there’s nine rounds left with Tallangatta holding a 2½-game lead over three teams – New City, Belvoir and Albury – in the battle for a finals finish.
“If we play finals, we’ll bring him back,” Armstrong said.
With Malhotra in the team, the Bushies looked a certainty to maintain their finals run and was even a smoky for the premiership, based on his phenomenal batting.
The former Indian under 19 squad member has been the association’s standout batsman, posting 467 at 155.67, with five half-centuries.
The nearest is Lavington’s Sam O’Connor with 373.
Malhotra also sits in the top 20 wicket-takers with 11 at 22.
The teams battling the Bushies for a spot in the six will take enormous confidence from the loss of Malhotra and it will take a mighty effort from the club to hold its spot without the best player.
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