India captain Rohit Sharma “feels” for Shoaib Bashir, who has been ruled out from the first Test match, starting Thursday, after the delay in his alleged visa approval.
A right-arm off-spinner with a lanky frame, Bashir was picked in the Test squad for the first time in his career, but had to return to England from the UAE, where England had a 10-day training camp before flying to India on Sunday because the 20-year-old’s visa hasn’t been cleared to come to India hitherto.
Born in Surrey, Shoaib Bashir holds a British passport, but it seems that his being of Pakistani heritage might have hindered and caused a delay in his visa process, a problem Australia’s Usman Khawaja too faced last year on the tour of India.
I hope he can make it here quickly: Rohit Sharma
On the eve of the match in Hyderabad, Rohit Sharma was queried about this topic which has been a major talking point among fans and journalists on social media. The India skipper jokingly said that he doesn’t sit in the visa office, so he doesn’t have much knowledge of it, before adding that he hopes the youngster arrives in India soon and plays.
“I feel for him honestly. This is probably the first time he’s coming for the first time with the England setup. It’s not easy for anyone. It could be one of our guys who wanted to come to England and has been denied and is not available to get the visa. Unfortunately, I don’t sit in the visa office to give you more details on that. I hope he can make it here quickly and enjoy our country and play some cricket as well,” Rohit Sharma said in the pre-match press conference
Massive news. Bashir comes home. The Indian government has found a way of deciding who is and is not eligible to play for England in the First Test — based on their race. This is a huge moment. The series must now be delayed until England are permitted their full squad in India. https://t.co/e2h7UX8ocY
— Kit Harris (@cricketkit) January 23, 2024
England captain Ben Stokes said he was “frustrated” with the situation of not having the young off-spinner available for selection for the first Test.
“Especially as captain I find it particularly frustrating,” Stokes said. “We announced that squad in mid-December, and now Bash finds himself without a visa to get here. I am more frustrated for him. I didn’t want this type of situation to be his first experience of what it’s like to be in the England Test team. I feel for him.”
Meanwhile, England have announced their playing XI for the first Test
1. Zak Crawley
2. Ben Duckett
3. Ollie Pope
4. Joe Root
5. Jonny Bairstow
6. Ben Stokes (C)
7. Ben Foakes (wk)
8. Rehan Ahmed
9. Tom Hartley
10. Mark Wood
11. Jack Leach