India v England: Shoaib Bashir says visa delay makes debut more memorable

England's Shoaib Bashir celebrates the wicket of India's Axar Patel with Ben Stokes on day one of the second Test in Visakhapatnam
Shoaib Bashir (centre) had only taken 10 first-class wickets before his England call-up

Spinner Shaoib Bashir said the two wickets he took on his England debut will be more “memorable” because of his problems getting into India.

Bashir, 20, is of Pakistani descent and had to return home from England’s training camp in Abu Dhabi in order to sort a visa delay.

He missed the first Test, but claimed 2-100 as England limited India to 336-6 on the first day of the second.

“It’s very, very special. It’s what you dream of,” Bashir told BBC Sport.

The off-spinner was unable to travel with the rest of the England squad when they moved from Abu Dhabi to India.

He returned to the UK, and eventually arrived in India on the fourth day of England’s superb 28-run win in the first Test in Hyderabad.

Bashir was selected to play in Visakhapatnam following an injury to his Somerset team-mate Jack Leach.

“I always thought I would be here,” he said. “I knew the BCCI and ECB were working hard. I had no doubts.

“We’re here now. I’ve made my debut and that’s what matters. It definitely makes it more memorable.”

Bashir had India captain Rohit Sharma caught at leg slip on the first morning of the second Test and celebrated with a howl to the sky.

Late in the day, Bashir persuaded Axar Patel to cut to point where Rehman Ahmed took a straightforward catch.

Although India opener Yashavi Jaiswal made a superb unbeaten 179, it was a creditable effort for England to take six wickets.

“Getting Rohit Sharma out first up is very special,” said Bashir. “He’s a very good player of spin.

“I just let it all out. It’s the passion. I love playing cricket, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I could have been in uni[versity] instead.

“For us to pick up six wickets has been very good. We’ll go again. We’ll take things a session at a time. Hopefully get a few breakthroughs.”

Bashir was a surprise call-up for the tour, having played only six previous first-class matches.

Released by Surrey as a teenager, he was picked up by Somerset, but still playing club cricket for Taunton Deane as recently as last summer.

He was spotted by England captain Ben Stokes bowling to former opener and skipper Sir Alastair Cook on his first-class debut against Essex in a video on Twitter.

Stokes identified Bashir’s height and the amount of spin he puts on the ball as qualities that could be successful in India.

With Bashir fast-tracked into the Test side, Stokes spoke to him on Friday morning and said any nerves would be natural, because all players experiences them.

“I remember that video going viral,” said Bashir. “I’m lost for words.

“Stokesy is such an incredible lad. He made me feel at ease straight away, in the huddle and with all I’ve been through over the past two or three weeks.

“He has been so supportive. It’s a testament to the way the team is run. It’s incredible.”

India are indebted to Jaiswal, the 22-year-old opener who made a second hundred in just his sixth Test.

Without the effort of the left-hander, the hosts were in danger of squandering their decision to bat first. All of their batters made starts, but the six men out fell for between 14 and 34.

And former India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik said he was impressed by Jaiswal’s “determination”.

“Sometimes when you have so many shots, you want to use them and you get carried away,” Karthik told the Test Match Special podcast. “His hunger to be out there and do what the country required was great to see.”

Jaiswal moved from Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai as a 12-year-old in order to further his cricket, selling street food to get by.

Spotted by a coach whilst playing at a maidan, he was set on a course to be player of the tournament at the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, when India were runners-up.

He signed a huge Indian Premier League deal with Rajasthan Royals and a stellar start to his Test career has confirmed Jaiswal as one of the country’s fastest rising stars.

“The sky is the limit for him,” said Karthik. “He can play on tough pitches. He has got skill. He is one of those rare players that could play in all formats. That is what makes him really special. He can be a cut above the rest.”

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