Visa Issue Bars England Spinner’s Entry into India


England’s preparations for the upcoming Test series in India have encountered a setback as offspinner Shoaib Bashir remains stranded in the UAE due to visa issues. The 20-year-old was unable to travel with the rest of the squad and is currently in Abu Dhabi, where he was part of England’s training camp.

Stuart Hooper, the ECB’s new managing director of cricket operations, is accompanying Bashir in the UAE. England’s head coach, Brendon McCullum, mentioned that the ECB has escalated the matter with relevant authorities, including the Indian government, and is hopeful of a resolution within the next 24 hours. England also expects the arrival of Dan Lawrence on Monday evening.

Despite the delay, McCullum stated that Bashir would still be available for selection for the opening Test. Bashir’s selection for the tour was based on promise rather than past performances, as he has only taken 10 first-class wickets at an average of 67. However, his recent performances with the Lions and in the UAE have impressed the England camp, especially his ability to spin the ball sharply, which is deemed crucial for the upcoming 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.”

The situation has put England’s plans in a bit of a disarray as they gear up for the challenging Test series against India. Bashir’s potential absence from the initial training sessions could affect his preparation and acclimatization to the conditions in India. However, the team remains optimistic about a swift resolution to the visa issue and is looking forward to Bashir joining the squad soon to bolster their options for the series.

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