'I'm devastated' - Ben Stokes angered as England cricketer sent home ahead of India series with visa issue

'I'm devastated' - Ben Stokes angered as England cricketer sent home ahead of India series with visa issue

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as England prepare to play India in a Test series

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 23/01/2024

- 19:09

Updated: 23/01/2024

- 19:10

England will be without Shoaib Bashir for the first Test against India this week

England captain Ben Stokes has vented his frustration after Shoaib Bashir returned to the UK to resolve his visa issues.

The uncapped spinner had been stuck in Abu Dhabi after the rest of the team left for India on Sunday.

Bashir will miss the first Test in Hyderabad on Thursday and won't be in India until at least the weekend.

The 20-year-old Somerset star faced visa issues due to his parents being of Pakistani descent.

Shoaib Bashir

Uncapped England bowler Shoaib Bashir is yet to receive his visa to tour India


England hoped that would be cleared so he could join up with the squad ahead of the first match in the five-Test series.

However, he is now back in the UK as he attempts to seek a resolution to the saga.

England cricket chiefs applied for Bashir's visa shortly after he was a surprise inclusion in the squad in December but are yet to receive clearance for him to travel to India.

Stokes is disappointed for Bashir that his first taste of international cricket hasn't started well.

The 32-year-old said: "I find it particularly frustrating. We announced the squad in mid-December, and now Bash finds himself without a visa to get here.

"I am more frustrated for him. 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. I feel for him."

Bashir isn't the first cricketer to be delayed entry to India, with Australia's Pakistan-born batter Usman Khawaja facing a similar case last year.

The youngster, who was born in Chertsey in Surrey, has made just six first-class appearances since making his debut for Somerset last June.

Stokes is annoyed to be without Bashir for the first Test but admits he is 'devastated' for the spinner.

He added: "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. Especially for a young lad. I'm devastated for him.

"It's a frustrating situation to be in, but a lot of people have been trying to get it through. It's unfortunate and I'm very frustrated for him."


Shoaib Bashir

Shoaib Bashir has played just six first-class matches before his England call-up


Meanwhile, Stokes is vying to be fit for Thursday's match after undergoing surgery on his knee injury last November.

He hopes the procedure on the long-term problem will add a few more years onto his international career.

Stokes said: "I've worked very hard to get myself into this condition. Hopefully it is something that will give me a little bit longer.

"We're getting to that point you know, I'm 32 now, sport and everything like that isn't here forever. I want to play for England as long as I possibly can. The older you get, the harder you work.

Ben Stokes

England captain Ben Stokes has been left angered as Shoaib Bashir returned to the UK


"I think it's allowed me to progress a lot quicker than we actually thought. It's been a long one, but something that I'm proud of myself for, with how hard I've worked to get into this position.

"Surgery is always the last option. Some can go very well, but they can also sometimes not go too well, set people back even further and potentially even end careers."

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