Speaking at a pre-match press conference, India captain Rohit Sharma expressed empathy for Bashir, acknowledging the disappointment of the delay.
“I feel for him. He is coming, I think, for the first time. Unfortunately, I don’t sit in the visa office to make the decision. Hopefully, he will make it here soon,” Rohit said, expressing hope for a swift resolution.This delay is reminiscent of a similar situation faced by Australian opener Usman Khawaja last year when he arrived late for the Test series in India.
Bashir’s delayed entry into India is expected to be resolved with the approval from the Indian High Commission in London, yet it remains a source of frustration for England’s leadership.
The hiccup has left team captain Ben Stokes frustrated, highlighting the challenges cricketers sometimes encounter beyond the field.
“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,” Stokes lamented.
The situation resonates with a historical precedent, as another player of Pakistani origin, Saqib Mahmood, faced a similar obstacle in 2019, preventing his travel to India for an ‘A’ series.
Efforts were made by the England and Wales Cricket Board to expedite the visa processing, with Stuart Hooper, MD (Operations), present in the UAE for the purpose. However, the desired result did not materialize, leaving the team grappling with the frustration of being without a key player due to administrative challenges.
(With inputs from PTI)