Visa Controversy Leaves Rising Star Shoaib Bashir Grounded, Forcing England’s Spin Ace to Miss Crucial First Test Against India

Visa Ordeal for Shoaib Bashir Casts Shadow Over England’s Test Opener in India

England’s promising spinner, Shoaib Bashir, is caught in a visa turmoil that threatens to sideline him from the crucial first Test against India in Hyderabad.

Born in Surrey with family roots in Pakistan, the 20-year-old found himself grounded in the UAE, facing complications despite last-minute approval.

A Last-Minute Visa Approval but Hurdles Remain

Shoaib Bashir’s journey back to the UK from the UAE on Tuesday night aimed to finalize his visa after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) escalated the matter with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Indian authorities.

While the visa was approved on Tuesday, Bashir must return to England to have it confirmed and stamped by the High Commission of India in London.

Missed Opportunity for the Hyderabad Test

The timing of the visa complications means Bashir, who traces his roots to Pakistani heritage, will be unavailable for selection in the first Test in Hyderabad.

The earliest he could arrive in India, provided all proceedings go smoothly, is the early hours of Thursday.

History of Visa Woes for Players with Pakistani Heritage in India

This incident echoes a historical trend where players with Pakistani heritage encountered visa challenges while touring India.

In 2019, England’s Saqib Mahmood faced visa denial for a Lions tour, and in the previous year, Australia’s Usman Khawaja joined the squad later than his teammates.

Captain Stokes Voices Frustration and Disappointment

Expressing his frustration, England’s captain Ben Stokes highlighted the disappointment of losing Bashir for the first Test.

Stokes emphasized that the squad had named Bashir in mid-December, and the visa issue arose just before the crucial Test series in India.

Stokes empathized with Bashir’s situation, terming it an unfortunate initiation into the England Test team.

Hyderabad Pitch Analysis and Spin Strategy

Stokes confirmed his own return to the England side after knee surgery and expressed disappointment at Bashir’s absence.

The skipper mentioned the likelihood of playing all three spinners – Jack Leach, Rehan Ahmed, and Tom Hartley – on a pitch that appeared to favor spin.

Stokes even hinted at the possibility of Joe Root taking the new ball, highlighting the team’s adaptability and dynamic decision-making approach.

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