"he’s got a couple of issues with his visa coming through."
The England cricket team arrived in India without uncapped spin bowler Shoaib Bashir after a visa delay saw him stranded in Abu Dhabi.
Before embarking on their journey from the training camp in the United Arab Emirates to Hyderabad, the Test squad faced setbacks that further depleted their numbers
Initially, the squad was already coping with the absence of Harry Brook, who had returned home for personal reasons, leaving them with a reduced count of 14 members.
Adding to the complications, there was a delay in processing Bashir’s paperwork, preventing him from joining the rest of the squad on the trip.
Bashir, with a Pakistani background, was the sole member of the touring party to encounter such issues.
Notably, this occurrence mirrored the challenges faced by Pakistani fans and media who encountered difficulties obtaining visas for the recent World Cup in India.
In an effort to address the problems, the England and Wales Cricket Board sought assistance from their hosts, expressing optimism that the issues would be resolved.
However, with the first Test scheduled to commence on January 25, the time remaining for resolution is critically limited.
Head Coach Brendon McCullum said:
“Bash will join us hopefully tomorrow, he’s got a couple of issues with his visa coming through.
“We’re confident on the back of the help from the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the Indian government that it 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 and we’re pretty confident that we’re close.
“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.”
Twenty-year-old Shoaib Bashir was a surprise pick for England’s tour of India.
He had only played six first-class matches before receiving his first Test call-up.
Bashir is one of four frontline spinners in England’s 16-man squad alongside Jack Leach, Rehan Ahmed and Tom Hartley.
However, missing England’s first training session and not having his visa issued is not ideal.
England’s five-match Test series against India begins in Hyderabad on January 25, 2024. It will run until March 11.