British government raises concerns over England spinner Shoaib Bashir's visa delay for India tour

Updated - 24 Jan 2024, 06:28 PM

Rohit Sharma and Shoaib Bashir
Rohit Sharma and Shoaib Bashir (Image Credits: Twitter)

The British government has urged India to ensure fair treatment for British citizens in the visa process, considering the challenges faced by Shoaib Bashir. The British government also highlighted the difficulties faced by their citizens during visa applications in the past.

Shoaib Bashir received his first call-up to the English team for the upcoming Test series against India. Bashir participated in the team training camp in Abu Dhabi. Although initially set to travel to India with the team on Sunday, he had to return home due to a visa issue.

The 20-year-old spinner was born in Surrey with Pakistani heritage. The young cricketer’s application was submitted with other cricketers after the ECB squad announcement on December 11. The delay in his visa approval is believed to be linked to his Pakistani heritage.

Players with similar backgrounds have faced challenges with visas in the past. In 2019, Saqib Mahmood missed an England Lions tour to India, and Moeen Ali arrived late for the 2022 IPL season. Usman Khawaja also faced visa delays during Australia’s tour of India last year.

We Have Previously Raised The Issues – A British Government Spokesperson

The British government reiterated its position that India should ensure fair treatment for British citizens during the visa application process. A spokesperson emphasized that the specifics of Shoaib Bashir‘s case are between him and the Indian government.

“The specifics of this case are a matter for Shoaib Bashir and the Indian Government,” the government spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo.

“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 added.

Despite continuous assurances from the BCCI and India High Commission, there has been minimal progress in resolving Shoaib Bashir’s visa issue. The uncapped spinner has been ruled out of the upcoming first Test match and is awaiting the final clearance.

We Are Going To See Shoaib Bashir Back In India – Ben Stokes

England Test skipper Ben Stokes expressed frustration over the delayed visa process for Shoaib Bashir. Stokes anticipates a swift resolution to the issue, allowing Bashir to focus on the remainder of the tour.

“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,” said Stokes.

“Hopefully we can get this sorted, we can get Bash out here and he can concentrate on the rest of this tour. It’s unfortunate he’s had to go through something like this on his first experience of being in the England team,” he added.

Bashir is yet to make his international debut and has participated in only six first-class matches, securing 10 wickets. Alongside his limited first-class experience, he has played seven List A games, clinching three wickets.

The first Test between India and England is scheduled to commence on Thursday, January 25, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

Also read: “I don’t sit in the VISA office..”- Rohit Sharma on Shoaib Bashir controversy

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