Warwickshire’s new signing Pieter Malan will miss the start of the County Championship season on Thursday as the South Africa Test batsman has not yet been given a visa to enter England.
South Africa has been on the United Kingdom’s travel ban “red list” of countries since 24 December.
Malan, 31, must serve a 10-day period of quarantine outside the UK in a non-red list country before he can come in.
And Warwickshire have also not yet been able to speed up his visa process.
They do have England opener Dom Sibley available for Thursday’s opening game with Derbyshire, although England team-mate Olly Stone is unlikely to feature and Chris Woakes is away on IPL duty with the Delhi Capitals.
But Bears director of cricket Paul Farbrace is frustrated that they still cannot yet put an exact timescale on Malan’s arrival.
Malan to ‘miss at least the opening game’
“South Africa is currently on the red list of travel ban countries because of the Covid pandemic,” he said. “That has made Pieter’s travel arrangements incredibly complex.
“While we have been able to identify routes and destinations for him to serve quarantine and safely enter the UK, unfortunately Pieter has not yet been granted a visa to enter the country, which will mean that he misses at least the opening game of the Championship.
“It’s disappointing but we have excellent competition for places within the batting ranks, including the return of Dom Sibley.”
Malan, who has been signed purely for red-ball cricket, made his most recent appearance at Newlands in Cape Town a little over a fortnight ago.
He hit a career-best 264 for Cape Cobras on 18 March in their Four-Day Franchise Series innings win over Knights – a game that finished the following day. But the same day Qatar, one of the countries he was due to travel through, was added to the red list, forcing a change of route.
He is one of 13 South African players scheduled to come over to play English county cricket this summer.
Malan did not make his international debut until January 2020, when he played in the final three Tests of the four-Test home series against England.