• Tuesday, March 05, 2024

CRICKET

Shoaib Bashir puts visa hassle behind to shine on 1st day in international cricket

The 20-year-old, who joined the England squad after going back home from Abu Dhabi to sort out the issue, said, ‘It’s been a very special, special day’.

England spinner Shoaib Bashir (c) celebrates with teammates after dismissing an Indian batter on Day 1 of the second Test between India and England at ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam on February 2, 2024. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AS a 20-year-old who was waiting for his international debut, England’s Shoaib Bashir was preparing for a lifetime memory when a brief visa hassle disrupted his momentum. But the tall spinner of Pakistani-origin was quick to overcome the episode and joined his national squad and eventually made the much-anticipated debut in the second Test match against India in Visakhapatnam.

The debut was not the off-break bowler’s only pleasing time outside. He was the best of the Three Lions’ three-spin attack by picking two wickets for 100 runs in 28 overs on the first day and his two scalps included the Indian captain, Rohit Sharma. The explosive batter, who was the first one to get dismissed on the day, was Bashir’s maiden wicket in international cricket and he would cherish the feat forever.

Bashir, who joined the England squad in the middle of the first Test in Hyderabad that the visitors won by 28 runs after ceding early advantages to the home side, said, “It’s been a very special, special day. For all that I’ve been through in the last two to three years, it made it even more special. To get Rohit Sharma out, my first wicket, feels incredible.”

Read: Yashasvi Jaiswal hits top-notch unbeaten century in second Test vs England

England spinner Shoaib Bashir picks first Test wicket
England spinner Shoaib Bashir (R) celebrates his first Test wicket, that of India captain Rohit Sharma caught by Ollie Pope on Day 1 of the 2nd Test Match between India and England at ACA-VDCA Stadium on February 2, 2024 in Visakhapatnam, India. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“He’s a quality player, one of the best in the world and a great player of spin as well,” the youngster, who had to fly back home from Abu Dhabi to sort out the visa issue before returning to India, said after the day’s play was over.

The incident left England captain Ben Stokes so devastated that he later said of having contemplated to stay back in the UAE till the issue was resolved.

Read: Sunak office reacts as Pakistan-origin Bashir faces visa issue for India Test tour

Bashir, however, was always confident that the problem was a temporary one.

“No doubts at all, I always knew I would get the visa. It was a bit of a hassle but we’re here now, I’ve made my debut, and that’s all that matters. I was pretty chilled to be fair. I knew it would get sorted so thanks to ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) and BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) for sorting out quite quickly,” he said.

The incident even drew reaction from the office of prime minister Rishi Sunak which said the premier expects India to treat British citizens “fairly at all times”.

Former England captain Alastair Cook has been impressed with Bashir’s control at such a young age but the spinner himself feels he could have been more accurate on his first day in Test cricket.

“I could have been a bit more consistent with my lines but I’m just going to look back on this day and think getting Rohit Sharma out, I think that’s all that matters really,” Bashir said.

Besides Stokes, he is also glad to pick brains of veterans James Anderson and Joe Root in the England setup.

“Jimmy is cap 613, I’m cap 713 so there’s a hundred caps between us. He’s an incredible lad, the experience is crazy and having Rooty out there helps a lot as well.” England picked up three wickets in the final session to pick up some momentum going into day two.

“I think we did well to get them six down towards the end of the day. Looking ahead we’ll want to get a couple of early breakthroughs (and) then get batting,” added Bashir.

(With agency inputs)

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