England’s Shoaib Bashir flies home to sort India visa issue; Stokes ‘frustrated’ | Cricket

England cricketer Shoaib Bashir has returned home to sort out his visa issues ahead of the Test series against India. Bashir, a 20-year-old British Muslim of Pakistani heritage, encountered a significant delay in obtaining his visa, making him the only member of the England touring party experiencing such issues. While his teammates proceeded to Hyderabad for the first test after a training camp in Abu Dhabi, Bashir remained in the Emirate. Despite efforts by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to resolve the matter in the UAE, where ECB’s managing director of operations, Stuart Hooper, stayed with Bashir, a solution could not be found.

Shoaib Bashir flies back to England to sort his India visa issues(X)

The spinner has returned to England to seek the necessary approval at the Indian embassy. Although Bashir was unlikely to play in the first Test, the visa-related events during his debut international tour have frustrated the England camp.

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“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,” England captain Ben Stokes said, as quoted by AP. “Especially for a young lad, I’m devastated for him.

“As captain, I find it particularly frustrating. We announced the squad in mid-December, and now Bash finds himself without a visa to get here. He’s not the first cricketer to go through this. I have played with a lot of people who have had the same issues. I find it frustrating that we have picked a player, and he’s not with us because of visa issues. It’s a frustrating situation to be in, but a lot of people have been trying to get it through.”

Bashir becomes the latest cricketer with Pakistani heritage to encounter entry issues into India, following instances such as Usman Khawaja’s delayed entry to join Australia’s tour last year and Saqib Mahmood’s withdrawal from an England Lions trip due to similar problems back in 2019.

The series between India and England begins on January 25, with the first Test in Hyderabad.

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