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England cricketer Shoaib Bashir returns home to resolve visa issues for India test tour

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — An England cricketer who was unable to obtain a visa to get into India ahead of the test series between the countries has flown home to resolve the issue.

Shoaib Bashir, a 20-year-old British Muslim of Pakistani heritage, was the only member of England's touring party to experience a significant delay over his visa application and remained grounded following a training camp in Abu Dhabi while his teammates transferred to Hyderabad, where the first test starts on Thursday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board had hoped the matter could be resolved in the United Arab Emirates — where its managing director of operations, Stuart Hooper, remained with Bashir — but a solution has not been found.

Now the spinner has returned to England in an effort to receive the correct approval at the Indian embassy.

Bashir was unlikely to play in the first test, but the events early in his first international tour have left the England camp frustrated.

“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," England captain Ben Stokes said. "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. It’s a frustrating situation to be in but a lot of people have been trying to get it through."

Bashir is the latest cricketer of Pakistani descent to face difficulty getting into India, with Usman Khawaja belatedly joining Australia’s tour of the country last year and Saqib Mahmood withdrawn from an England Lions trip after similar problems back in 2019.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket