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New Delhi: Shoaib Bashir, the 20-year-old England off-spinner, was forced to fly back home after his Indian visa was delayed earlier this week. Bashir had been part of the squad in Abu Dhabi but couldn’t proceed to India as his visa is yet to be approved. Unfortunately, Bashir, with a family of Pakistani heritage, will now miss the first Test of the series against India, which begins on January 25. England captain Ben Stokes was visibly frustrated as he reacted to Bashir’s development, stating that it was ‘devastating’ not to have the young off-spinner with the side.
On Wednesday, Indian captain Rohit Sharma was also asked about Bashir’s absence from the travelling squad for the opening Test in Hyderabad; the skipper, in his pre-match press conference, said he hoped to see the youngster in action soon.
“I feel for him. He’s coming here with the England setup for the first time. It’s not easy for anyone. If it were one of our guys coming to England, and the visa was denied (it would be the same). Unfortunately, I don’t sit in the visa office to give more details on that. But I hope he can make it here quickly, enjoy our country and play some cricket as well,” said Rohit.
Australian opener Usman Khawaja also faced a similar situation when he arrived late for the Test series in India last year. While Bashir is expected to get the stamp of approval from the Indian High Commission in London, the turn of events- left Stokes a tad irked. “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,” the England captain had said.
“I have played with a lot of people who have had the same issues.”
England and Wales Cricket Board’s MD (Operations) Stuart Hooper was in the UAE to speed up the procedure, but it didn’t get the desired result.
“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.”
Agencies

‘I don’t sit in visa office’: Rohit Sharma on Shoaib’s delayed arrival added by on
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