England captain Ben Stokes has voiced his frustration over the delayed visa process for uncapped spinner Shoaib Bashir, who holds British citizenship with Pakistani origin. Bashir, facing visa issues, has returned to the UK from Dubai and will miss the opening Test of the five-match series against India scheduled to commence on January 25 in Hyderabad.
Expressing disappointment, Stokes mentioned that the delay in Shoaib Bashir’s visa is particularly frustrating, especially given that the squad for the India series was announced in mid-December.
“As captain, I find it particularly frustrating. 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,” Ben Stokes stated.
He emphasized that while Bashir is not the first cricketer to face visa-related challenges, it is unfortunate, and he expressed his sympathy for the young player. Stokes recalled similar issues faced by other cricketers, such as Australian opener Usman Khawaja, who arrived late for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India last year.
Ben Stokes is “frustrated” as Shoaib Bashir returns home to the UK in the hope of resolving the delay to his visa application for England’s tour of Indiahttps://t.co/vZnK2zm9Ip | #INDvENG pic.twitter.com/9HfNUZL6sG
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 23, 2024
“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. Especially for a young lad, I’m devastated for him. It’s a frustrating situation to be in, but a lot of people have been trying to get it through. It’s unfortunate, and I’m very frustrated for him,” added Ben Stokes.
Confirming that Bashir’s visa delay rules him out of the first Test, Stokes expressed disappointment, stating that the team didn’t arrive with predetermined plans for the playing XI and would have liked to assess the pitch before making final decisions.
“Him not being able to be here rules him out. We didn’t come here with preconceived ideas about what we will do with the first team. In India, you do like to have a good look at the pitch to see how it might play. With Bash, unfortunately, not able to be here, it rules him out of this game,” explained Ben Stokes.
England’s Test squad for India tour:
Ben Stokes (C), James Anderson, Rehan Ahmed, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Shoaib Bashir, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes (WK), Dan Lawrence, Tom Hartley, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Mark Wood.