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Other SportsStokes frustrated as Bashir returns to UK to solve visa issue

Stokes frustrated as Bashir returns to UK to solve visa issue

England captain Ben Stokes has outlined his frustrations after uncapped spinner Shoaib Bashir was forced to return to the United Kingdom to solve a visa issue, which will cause him to miss the first Test in India.

Bashir – who is of Pakistani descent – had to remain in Abu Dhabi at the conclusion of a training camp as his team-mates travelled to Hyderabad.

The 20-year-old was the only member of the England squad to see his visa application affected by delays, and he will subsequently be absent when the first Test begins on Wednesday.

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The England and Wales Cricket Board reportedly sought assistance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India as they looked to secure approval for Bashir to travel to the country, but it is now understood he must return to the Indian embassy in London to get the green light.

India and Pakistan have not played any bilateral cricket since facing off in one-day international and T20I series in 2012-13, due to political tensions between the two countries.

The treatment of Bashir has irritated his captain Stokes, who said on Tuesday: “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.

“Especially for a young lad, I’m devastated for him. As captain I find it particularly frustrating. We announced the squad in mid-December and now Bash finds himself without a visa to get here.

“He’s not the first cricketer to go through this. I have played with a lot of people who have had the same issues.

“I find it frustrating that we have picked a player and he’s not with us because of visa issues.”

Bashir is now not expected to arrive in India until this weekend at the earliest, and Stokes will hope to have him available for the start of the second Test on February 2.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK government expected all British citizens to be treated equally in India’s visa application process.

“I can’t speak to the specifics of this case, but more broadly we have previously raised issues of this kind with the High Commission,” the spokesperson said.

“We have been clear that we expect India to treat British citizens fairly at all times in its visa processes. We have previously raised the issues British citizens with Pakistani heritage have experienced.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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