Gul visa delay forces Sussex to juggle overseas stars

While some counties contemplate their Twenty20 Cup campaign without an overseas player, Sussex are trying to sort out which two of the three available to them will play when they start their South Group campaign against Essex on June 2.

Star signing Umar Gul was due to face the Eagles but the Pakistani paceman, currently in Ireland for a two-match one-day series, will have to fly home to sort out his visa before he is able to return.

It is a major blow for Sussex, who were banking on Gul, one of the best one-day bowlers in world cricket, leading the 2009 winners to a third successive appearance in the knock-out stages.

Chief executive Dave Brooks says the 27-year-old will miss at least the first four games. “We were hoping  to sort it out while he was with Pakistan in West Indies but it wasn’t possible and he won’t be here for two to three weeks,” he said.

Rana Naved, who started the season as Sussex’s overseas player, returned to Pakistan for a pre-arranged family visit last week but he will return in time to face Essex.

And he will be joined by South African Wayne Parnell. The left-armer, who played county cricket for Kent in 2009, wasn’t due to replace Rana until the end of June as overseas player for the second half of the summer.

But Sussex have brought him over early and after landing at Heathrow on the overnight flight from Johannesburg at 6.30am on Sunday May 29, Brooks ferried him to Hove in time to make his County Championship debut in the current fixture against Yorkshire.

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