India Vs England 1st Test: Pakistan-Origin English Off-Spinner Shoaib Bashir's Visa Cleared, He Is Set To Land In India In 2-3 Days Shoaib Bashir. (Image: X)

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Wednesday confirmed that uncapped off-spinner Shoaib Bashir received his visa to tour India for the five-match Test series is set to join the English squad soon. However, owing to the delay in sorting out his visa issues, the 16-year-old promising spinner is all but certain to sit the opening Test in Hyderabad on Thursday.

The ECB released a statement on Wednesday, confirming that Bashir’s visa issues were sorted and he will link up with the team in India later in the week.

“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,” a statement from ECB read.

However, earlier in the day, England Test captain Ben Stokes revealed that he had proposed that the national team should not fly to India as long as the visa-related issues of uncapped spinner Shoaib Bashir are resolved, adding, however, that the idea wasn’t carried forward.

Bashir, a rising spinner of Pakistani origin, was initially part of England’s 16-man red-ball squad for the five-match series versus India. However, he had to fly back to London owing to issues surrounding his visa clearance.

Bashir’s situation came to light during England’s preparatory camp in Abu Dhabi. The Somerset off-spinner didn’t receive his visa, rendering him incapable of travelling with the rest of the squad.

“When I first found the news out in Abu Dhabi, I did say we shouldn’t fly until Bash gets his visa. But that was a little bit tongue-in-cheek. I know it’s a way bigger thing than doing that. That was probably just emotions around the whole thing. I’m pretty devastated that Bash has had to go through this,” Stokes said.

“As a leader, as a captain, when one of your teammates is affected by something like that, you get a bit emotional. I know he’s back in London and a lot of people are jumping through hoops to try and get this through quicker. Hopefully, we’re gonna see him here over the weekend. There was never a [realistic] chance that we were ever not going to travel around this but Bash knows he’s had our full support,” the ace all-rounder added.

Coming in support of the uncapped English spinner during a pre-match press conference on Wednesday, India skipper Rohit Sharma said, “I feel for him, honestly. Unfortunately, I don’t sit in the visa office to give you more details on that, but hopefully, he can make it quickly, enjoy our country and play some cricket as well.”

As the visa-related issues of the uncapped Englishman unfolded, a spokesperson for the British government said that India should treat British citizens fairly.

“The specifics of this case are a matter for Shoaib Bashir and the Indian Government. But we absolutely expect India to treat British citizens fairly at all times in its visa process. We have previously raised the issues British citizens with Pakistani heritage experience applying for visas with the Indian High Commission in London,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Stokes, earlier, said he was hopeful that Bashir would eventually be cleared to join the red-ball squad.

“Hopefully, we are going to see him back in India over the weekend. My feelings towards it haven’t changed. It’s obviously a frustrating situation – more importantly, for him. We announced our squad mid-December. It’s now January 24 and he still doesn’t have the visa,” Stokes said. 

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