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Shoaib Bashir set to rejoin England squad after resolving visa issues

The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed that spinner Shoaib Bashir's visa problems have been resolved, and he is free to join his team-mates in India.

The uncapped 20-year-old, a British Muslim with Pakistani heritage, was unable to travel to India for the start of England's upcoming five-Test series due to delays with his visa application.

He initially remained in Abu Dhabi after the team's recent training camp but was later forced to return to the UK to complete the process.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that the Somerset youngster had belatedly received the necessary stamp of approval in London and would now be able to fly out to India.

The news comes too late for him to be involved in the first Test in Hyderabad, which begins on Thursday, but he should be back with the team in the coming days.

An ECB spokesperson said: "Shoaib Bashir has now received his visa and is due to travel to join up with the team in India this weekend. We're glad the situation has now been resolved."

England captain Ben Stokes expressed his frustration over the episode, but said initial thoughts the team should not travel until the issue was resolved were quickly dispelled.

Stokes said: "When I first found the news out in Abu Dhabi, I did say we shouldn't fly until Bash gets his visa, but that was a little bit tongue in cheek.

"I know it's a way bigger thing, doing that. That was probably just (my) emotions around the whole thing. There was never a chance that we were not going to travel around this, but Bash knows he's had our full support.

"I'm pretty devastated that Bash has had to go through this. As a leader, as a captain, when one of your team-mates is affected by something like that you do get a bit emotional."

Bashir, who was called up for the tour after making just six first-class appearances, is not the first player to encounter difficulties receiving a visa for India.

Lancashire's Saqib Mahmood, whose parents hail from Pakistan, had to be withdrawn from an England Lions tour of India in 2019 after similar delays, while Australia opener Usman Khawaja was a late arrival on his country's Test trip in 2023.

Last year the Pakistan Cricket Board also wrote to the International Cricket Council to express concerns over waiting times for World Cup visas.

England had called for assistance from counterparts at the Board of Control for Cricket in India for Bashir, with new operations manager Stuart Hooper leading negotiations in the United Arab Emirates, but were informed the player needed to present his passport in person at the Indian high commission in London.

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