Who is Shoaib Bashir and why was his Indian visa rejected?

Pakistan-origin England spinner Shoaib Bashir, who also plays for Somerset County Cricket Club, is in the news for being denied Indian visa ahead of the Test series between India and England. He was made to return back to the United Kingdom to resolve visa complications. 

Who is Shoaib Bashir and why was his Indian visa rejected?
Shoaib Bashir (Credit - ECB Official)

The 20-year-old British Muslim rookie of Pakistani heritage- was a left-field selection in England’s 16-member squad. Bashir faced visa issues after a training camp in Abu Dhabi and had to remain in the Emirate, despite his teammates proceeding to Hyderabad for the first Test against India. 

Delay in granting of visa to Bashir snowballed into a controversy on Wednesday, with visiting England captain Ben Stokes expressing his frustration. 

Stokes quoted - “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. Especially for a young lad, I’m devastated for him.”

“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. 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. It’s a frustrating situation to be in, but a lot of people have been trying to get it through.” the England skipper further added.

However, the dust settled after Bashir finally got an Indian visa even though the travel formalities were completed late for the youngster to make his debut. This comes after the British Prime Minister got involved in the matter and there was much outrage in that country’s media.

Later in the evening England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed the news on ‘X’ stating - “Shoaib Bashir has now received his visa and is due to travel to join up with the team in India this weekend. We’re glad the situation has now been resolved.”

Leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, another England player with Pakistani roots, is also in the squad but he has been allowed in as he possessed the necessary documents having been one of the standbys for the World Cup held in India in October-November.

Who is Shoaib Bashir?

Shoaib Bashir is a right-handed batter and a right-arm off-break bowler born on October 13, 2003 at Surrey’s Chertsey. He made his first-class debut for Somerset against Essex on June 11, 2023 and T20 debut for Somerset against Hampshire on June 7, 2003.

Bashir played club cricket for Guildford before signing with Somerset in 2022. The youngster was also given a contract for the 2023 season by Somerset. He was called-up to the England Lions cricket team for the first team in October 2023.

The right-arm England spinner received his maiden call-up to the senior England team on December 11, 2023 and was included in the 16-member squad for the Test tour of India. 

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