England newcomer Shoaib Bashir put his visa issues behind him as he soaked up the “incredible feeling” of dismissing India captain Rohit Sharma on his first day as a Test cricketer.
Bashir was left high and dry in Abu Dhabi after hold ups with his application forced him to miss the start of the series in Hyderabad.
He was eventually forced to travel back to London to receive the stamp of approval and arrived just in time to watch his new team-mates apply the finishing touches to their first Test victory.
Fast forward five days and the 20-year-old was in the thick of the action as India reached 336 for six in Visakhapatnam, capping a remarkable rise to prominence by snaring his first two international wickets.
YES, BASH! 👏
Bashir takes his first Test wicket by removing Sharma! ☝
Match Centre: https://t.co/tALYxvMByx
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 2, 2024
It took him less than four overs to open his account when he had Sharma, a master of these conditions who boasts eight centuries and an average of 63 on home soil, caught at leg-slip with an off-break.
It was a moment that looked unlikely when he was flying back in the wrong direction last week, but in years to come he will only remember the good things.
“I’m just going to look back on this day and think about getting Rohit Sharma out, I think that’s all that matters really,” he said.
“I had no doubts at all that I’d make it here, I always knew I would get the visa. It was a bit of a hassle but we’re here now, I’ve made my debut, and that’s all that counts. I’m pretty chilled.
“It’s been a very special day. To get Rohit Sharma out, my first wicket, is an incredible feeling. I just let it all out. He’s a quality player, one of the best in the world and a great player of spin as well.”
Bashir was still playing under-18 cricket for Berkshire in 2022 and turned out for Taunton Deane in the West of England Premier League last summer, but England captain Ben Stokes treated him like an old hand.
He was trusted with 28 overs – 10 more than anyone else – and responded with two for 100 on a batting friendly pitch that saw Yashasvi Jaiswal help himself to a superb 179 not out.
Skipper Stokes has excelled in his management of young players – particularly spinners – and told Bashir in the team get together that he was allowed to be nervous.
Yet there was no evidence of any anxieties as he warmed to his task.
“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 said.
“He has been so supportive. Credit to Stokesy, he’s backed me all the way. He basically just said to me, ‘Remember why you started playing the game, remember your family’.
“He said, ‘Go out there and show what you’ve got. We already know, we’ve seen you, so go out and do what you do best’. Those words helped me massively with my confidence.”