• Tuesday, March 05, 2024


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

The prime minister’s office said the premier expects India to treat British citizens “fairly at all times”. England captain Ben Stokes was also expressed his disappointment.

Shoaib Bashir (L) celebrates after taking a wicket in England county cricket. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

ENGLAND spinner Shoaib Bashir’s difficulty in obtaining visa for the five-Test series in India starting Thursday (25) has created a flutter with even the office of prime minister Rishi Sunak reacting to it, saying the premier expects India to treat British citizens “fairly at all times”.

England Test captain Ben Stokes also expressed his frustration over the matter as the 20-year-old Surrey-born Bashir was left stranded in Abu Dhabi, UAE, while the rest of the squad flew off to India last weekend for the much-anticipated series.

He said he was “devastated” for the “young lad”, adding that he did not want such a situation to be his first experience of what it’s like to be in his country’s Test team.

The offbreak bowler, who is yet to make his international debut, was a surprise pick in the England squad that looks to tackle challenging spinning tracks in India in the upcoming tour. He made his first-class debut less than a year ago and has 10 wickets in six games so far.

Read: England’s ‘Bazball’ faces toughest task yet in India series

Bashir had to fly back to England on the eve of the first Test in Hyderabad to sort out the issue, ruling him out of the match.

It was believed that the British Muslim cricketer’s Pakistani heritage was behind the difficulty in securing a visa. Bashir is the only member of the England squad to face a problem in securing the visa.

Read: England may open with two spinners in India Tests, says Anderson

Tom Hunt, vice chairmen of the UK parliament’s All Party Group for Cricket, branded the delays “a disgrace”, The Sun reported.

“The most exciting young spinner in world cricket has been left languishing at border control – they were obviously terrified,” The Ipswich MP was quoted as saying.

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