Harmeet Desai, the reigning Commonwealth table tennis champion and India’s third best player, is hoping against hope to fly out of the country in August to play in the French league, which begins in October.

“The process for the work visa is on. Once that is done quickly, I will leave possibly in August,” the 27-year-old told Sportstar on Monday from Surat.

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Harmeet said the reason for shifting to France from Germany — he played for TTCOE Bad Homburg last year — was that he has the option to play lesser number of matches. “One of the major reasons why I moved to the second division French club — Loire Nord TTC — was that I could also compete in the domestic circuit, play a few tournaments for my employer ONGC and concentrate on Pro Tours as well,” said the Indonesian Open champion, ranked 72 in the world.

Back home, Harmeet has not been crippled by the lockdown as he has been sparring with a robot for the first few months at his home and now with a friend. “The COVID-19 cases in Surat have not subsided, but flights have started operating and having a work visa, the chances of my booking a flight is high,” he said.