Shoaib Bashir – Visa issues delay arrival in India


England began their Test preparations in Hyderabad without Shoaib Bashir after visa issues left him stranded in the UAE.

England arrived in India on Sunday ahead of Thursday’s opening Test following a training camp in Abu Dhabi, where Bashir remains after a delay in his paperwork left him unable to travel with the rest of the squad. The Somerset offspinner, whose parents are of Pakistani heritage, is being accompanied by Stuart Hooper, who recently joined the ECB as their new managing director of cricket operations.

Brendon McCullum, England’s head coach, said that the ECB has escalated the matter with the relevant authorities, including the Indian government, and expects positive news in the next 24 hours. England are optimistic about a quick resolution and also expect to welcome Dan Lawrence on Monday evening.

Though Bashir is likely to miss two days of preparation – England will train on Tuesday morning at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium – McCullum insisted he will still be available for selection for the opening Test. Bashir, 20, was a bolter for the squad, selected on promise rather than performances, having taken just 10 first-class wickets at 67.

But he impressed on Lions duty and in the UAE with the full squad, where he has continued to make a strong impression with his high release point and ability to spin the ball sharply, which England regard as vital for the surfaces they expect to encounter in this series.

“Bash will join us hopefully tomorrow as well,” McCullum said. “He’s got a couple of issues with his visa coming through. We’re confident on the back of the help from the BCCI and the Indian government that will sort itself out pretty quickly as well.

“Things take time, don’t they? Everyone is doing what they can. It’s a process we need to go through. We’re pretty confident that we’re close. The time that Bash had with the squad over in Abu Dhabi, where he fitted in seamlessly, will serve him greatly.

“We’ve also got a little bit of support out there for him so he’s not on his own. We’re hoping the news will come through today that his visa has been approved, then we’ll get him to sink his teeth into this series.”

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