Feel for him: Rohit Sharma, Ben Stokes offer support to Shoaib Bashir over visa delay

Tags: England tour of India 2024, India, England, Rohit Gurunath Sharma, Benjamin Andrew Stokes, Shoaib Bashir

Published on: Jan 25, 2024

Indian captain Rohit Sharma and his England counterpart Ben Stokes offered their support to young England off-spinner Shoaib Bashir after his arrival in India was delayed due to visa issues. While Rohit said that he feels for the youngster, Stokes admitted that it was frustrating not to have him with the squad.

England will kick off their tour of India with the first Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad starting Thursday, January 25. The visitors, however, did not have the services of Bashir before confirming their playing XI. He was asked to fly back home to sort out the visa issues.

At the pre-match press conference on Wednesday, both Rohit and Stokes empathized with Bashir’s plight.

"I feel for him. He is coming, I think, for the first time. Unfortunately I don't sit in visa office to make the decision. Hopefully, he will make it here soon,” the Indian captain said.

As per the latest update from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), 20-year-old Bashir has received his visa, and is due to travel to join up with the team in India this weekend.

Earlier, speaking about the matter, Stokes clarified that his thought about not going to India until the visa issue is sorted was a tongue-in-cheek one.

"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 admitted.

He had earlier stated that Bashir had the team’s full support as he tried to get the matter over his visa sorted out. Stokes also added that he was bit emotional on learning what his young teammate was going through.

"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...Bash knows he's had our full support,” the England captain said.

"You know, we had announced our squad mid-December. Now, it's January 24 and we still don't have a reason for Shoaib's absence here...hopefully, we can get over and he can also just concentrate on the rest of his tour," he added.

England have named their playing XI for the Hyderabad Test, leaving out veteran pacer James Anderson and picking three spinners.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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