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Three journalists to leave England tour after visas expire

ESPN staff
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Australia whitewashed England in the Ashes series © PA Photos
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Three newspaper journalists look set to miss the remainder of England's tour of Australia due to being unable to extend their visas beyond 90 days.

John Etheridge, reporting for the Sun, will join Dean Wilson (Mirror) and Paul Newman (Daily Mail) will fly back to England and miss the Twenty20 series following the expiration of their visas.

It could be considered a lucky escape for the trio with England yet to beat the hosts; having been whitewashed 5-0 in the Ashes series, Alastair Cook's side have already lost the ODI series and are 3-0 down with two to play.

However, Etheridge is still holding on to hope that England's fortunes may be turned around and had hoped to be able to stay on and watch the tourists win a game.

"The regulations on Australian visas were tightened up last year," Etheridge told the Guardian. "Myself, Dean Wilson of the Mirror and Paul Newman of the Daily Mail are the only three journalists who have been doing the whole tour.

"The visas we were given, [sub] class 400 I think, last for 90 days, and that leaves us about 10 days short. In fairness Cricket Australia have been very helpful on our behalf, and have tried to sort something out with the immigration authorities.

"But today we were told finally that all avenues have been exhausted, so myself and Dean have to go home after the fourth ODI, which means we miss the last game in Adelaide and the three Twenty20 games next week. We were hoping we might see England win a game!

"Paul can stay a couple more days because he arrived a couple of days later than us at the start of the tour, also in Perth. It's quite annoying, having done six Ashes tours, and not missed a day's cricket, to be told you can't stay. It just seems extraordinary to me that Cricket Australia arrange a tour that lasts 100 days but you can only get a visa to cover it for 90.

"We have hotels booked, expenses will be paid, so it's not as if we will be taking anything out of the country. It's just the intransigence of the Australian immigration department."

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