‘To get Rohit as my first wicket was very, very special’ – Shoaib Bashir

India
Shoaib Bashir, England’s debutant offspinner, has described the dismissal of Rohit Sharma for his first Test wicket in Visakhapatnam as “very, very special” – and said that the lengthy delay in being granted his visa had made his debut “more memorable”.

Bashir bowled 28 overs on his first day as a Test cricketer, returning figures of 2 for 100. He dismissed Rohit in his fourth over, caught at leg slip, and had Axar Patel caught at backward point in the final session as India closed the opening day of the second day on 336 for 6.

“If you were to tell me that two years ago, I would laugh,” Bashir told talkSPORT, asked about becoming a Test cricketer at the age of 20 with only six previous first-class appearances to his name. “It was a very special moment receiving my Test cap and for me to get Rohit Sharma as my first wicket was very, very special.

“He’s a great player of spin as well. I’m just so grateful to God and my family. They’ve supported me through thick and thin. I had a lot of ups and downs in my journey, so I just want to thank them as well.”

Bashir only arrived in India on the fourth day of the first Test in Hyderabad after a delay in receiving his visa caused by his parents’ Pakistani heritage. It meant he had to fly back to the UK after England’s training camp in Abu Dhabi.

“I always knew I’d get the visa,” he said. “I did have a few troubles with it, but look, we’re here now and I got to make my debut and it’s such a special day. It makes it more memorable, yeah. I had a bit of trouble, bit of hassle with it but to come out to India now and make my Test debut is unbelievable.”

Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum told Bashir he was playing at training on Thursday, and Jack Leach, his Somerset team-mate, presented him with his Test cap on the morning of the game. “He had some nice words to say,” Bashir said. “Me and him get on really well.

“We’re very tight and he’s the one that saw me on the scene when I was playing for Somerset 2s. He was just talking about how proud everyone is of me, and my family and my journey. It was just so special receiving it from him as well.”

Assessing England’s day, Bashir said: “It was a tough pitch to bowl on. It didn’t offer too much, but I thought the way the boys went about it was awesome for us to pick up six wickets… we’ll get again tomorrow, hopefully get a breakthrough and get batting out there.”

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