England spinner Shoaib Bashir has been granted a visa and will now join up with the rest of his teammates in India.
Somerset youngster Bashir was forced to miss the first Test of a five-match series after flying home to the United Kingdom to complete paperwork, denying him the chance to make a debut in Hyderabad. He could be back with the Test squad by the weekend and will be available for selection in the second Test, which starts on 2 February.
The 20-year-old, who is of Pakistani heritage, had initially remained in the United Arab Emirates after England’s training camp in the Middle East having not been granted the visa required to travel to India.
“The visa has been issued by London,” a spokesperson for the Indian Foreign Office said. “There are rules and regulations governing the issuance of an Indian visa. The same were being applied in this case.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had applied for Bashir’s visa on 11 December along with the rest of their travelling party, who all received the necessary approvals. Once the visa was belatedly granted, an ECB spokesperson said: “We’re glad the situation has now been resolved.”
Bashir is not the first cricketer to encounter such problems — recent England internationals Moeen Ali and Saqib Mahmood have also endured similar experiences, while the arrival of Australia’s Usman Khawaja was delayed ahead of a Test series last year.
“I’m devastated for him,” England captain Ben Stokes said of Bashir’s situation earlier this week. “As captain I find it particularly frustrating that we have picked a player and he’s not with us because of visa issues.
“We announced that squad in midâDecember, and now Bash finds himself without a visa to get here. 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. 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.”
Bashir had earned a maiden international call-up for the tour despite featuring in just six first-class matches so far in his career.
The off-spinner nonetheless impressed at times for Somerset, and might have pressed for selection with England opting for three specialist spinners and a single seamer in their side for the first Test.
Bashir could contend for a place in the second Test, which begins in Visakhapatnam on 2 February.