England captain Ben Stokes uses strong words on Shoaib Bashir’s visa struggles for India Tests


England Test captain Ben Stokes has expressed strong condemnation over the visa delay faced by uncapped spinner Shoaib Bashir, disrupting his participation in the forthcoming five-match Test series against India.

Visa woes for uncapped spinner Shoaib Bashir

Bashir, a British citizen with Pakistan heritage, encountered complications with his visa, compelling him to return to the UK from Dubai, consequently sidelining him from the opening Test scheduled at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on January 25.

Ben Stokes voices strong disapproval

Speaking in pre-match press conference, Stokes conveyed his deep disappointment for Bashir, asserting that the squad for the India series had been announced in mid-December.

“Especially 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,” Stokes stated.

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He emphasized the unfortunate nature of the situation, highlighting that Bashir is not the first cricketer to grapple with visa-related challenges. Stokes expressed his devastation for Bashir, stressing that the entire scenario is regrettable.

“But 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,” the 32-year-old added.

Impact on England’s Test series preparations against India

Stokes has further confirmed Bashir’s exclusion from the initial Test. The 20-year-old had garnered attention and was likely to be in contention for the opening Test, especially given the spin-friendly nature of the Indian pitches.

“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,” Stokes concluded.

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