- England spinner Shoaib Bashir was denied entry to India as a British Pakistani
- The 20-year-old has flown back to Britain to get his visa rubber stamped
- He will miss the first Test against India in Hyderabad, which starts on Thursday
The ECB have a decision to make over the treatment of Shoaib Bashir — either ignore it and carry on, tell India they will not start the Test series until their full complement of players is present, or bring the England team home.
It is a decision they should be thinking very seriously about and the latter two options should most definitely be on the table.
Let’s go back more than 50 years and the selection of mixed-race player Basil D’Oliveira as a replacement by England for the 1968-69 tour of apartheid South Africa. The MCC called that tour off because the South Africans made it clear D’Oliveira would not be welcome to return to his homeland as part of the squad.
The MCC, who sent England sides abroad in those days, would not accept such political interference and refused to honour their commitment.
That episode was an absolute disgrace and thankfully the administrators did the right thing in the end by pulling out.
Shoaib Bashir is unable to join England in India due to visa issues owing to his Pakistani origins
How Mail Sport responded to India blocking Bashir from entering country on eve of Test series
Captain Ben Stokes voiced his frustration at Bashir being unable to enter India with the rest of the England squad
This situation is also political. Now, I realise this is different because it is a player being delayed rather than refused entry permanently, but it doesn’t make it right.
People all over the cricket world are asking why an individual within an international squad should be treated differently from the rest.
Here is a lad on the verge of fulfilling his dreams by playing for England and he is being prevented from having a fair crack at it.
I don’t think we have ever stopped an Indian cricketer from coming here to play. Why are they stopping an English one for no apparent reason, other than his Pakistani heritage? Sadly, Usman Khawaja suffered for the same reason last year, arriving 36 hours behind his Australian team-mates for a four-Test tour.
Surely in this day and age, it’s reasonable to expect when you are travelling abroad to play a series of such prestige that your players are permitted free passage as part of that process.
This England Test squad was picked in early December and so they will have got to work immediately with the visas. They have had over a month.
Bashir is an England cricketer, the same as the other 15 players in the squad. We need to stand up and support him.
England’s tour of South Africa in 1968 was called off over the Basil D’Oliveira apartheid storm
He will be feeling awkward and perhaps embarrassed by the situation, but he should not be in this position as he has done absolutely nothing wrong.
He should not have to be subjected to this. My view is that they should delay Thursday’s scheduled start of the first Test until he gets there.
India are stopping one of our players from playing. They have made him ineligible for selection by forcing him home to try to get the necessary paperwork through. It is a journey he should not need to make.
It beggars belief that the delay has gone on for so long that he is now unavailable for the first Test in Hyderabad.