Shoaib Bashir: ‘On that wicket, anything is possible’

England

Shoaib Bashir dedicated his maiden England five-wicket haul to his late grandfathers, as he braced himself for one last big push in the fourth Test in Ranchi, after a day of Indian dominance put the hosts on course for a series-sealing victory.

Bashir bowled a marathon 44 overs in India’s first innings in claiming final figures of 5 for 119. That included a 31-over unbroken spell on the second afternoon, in which he claimed the first four of his wickets, and he completed his five-for on the third morning when Akash Deep fell lbw for 9.

However, India had already seized the initiative by then, thanks to a key stand of 76 between Kuldeep Yadav and Dhruv Jurel, who top-scored with 90 from 149 balls as an overnight deficit of 134 was reduced to a far more manageable 46.

India’s own spinners then cemented their dominance of the day by ripping through England’s second innings to bowl them out for 145, with R Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav sharing nine wickets between them. Bashir was back with ball in hand by the close, serving up a solitary over as Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal picked off 40 untroubled runs from their victory target of 192.

Despite a tough day for his team, Bashir recognises – even at the age of 20 and in his second Test – that he will have to play another key role on the fourth day if England are to have any hope of clawing back the ascendancy, and going to Dharamsala next week with the series locked at 2-2.

“Yeah, look, we would have liked to have got one or two wickets in that last period, but me and Harts [Tom Hartley] know we got a job to the tomorrow,” he told TNT at the close. “Ten opportunities to take ten wickets, and on that wicket anything is possible.”

Irrespective of the result, Bashir acknowledged that his rise to prominence was “surreal”, given that he had played just six first-class fixtures in his entire professional career before his debut in Visakhapatnam, and was only recently playing national county cricket with Berkshire and club cricket in Guildford after being released by Surrey prior to his current stint with Somerset.

But, he added, he had not once felt out of place in an England dressing-room that includes one player, James Anderson, who made his Test debut before he was born, and several others – Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow among them – who have been fixtures of the Test side for more than a decade.

“I used to see these guys when I was a little kid,” Bashir said. “So to be in that dressing-room, they give you so much confidence. Stokesy and the lads are brilliant, even if that’s to go out to bat as well. It just gets the best out of you, and it’s just a wonderful group to be a part of.

“I just want to dedicate this to my two late granddads who passed away a year and a bit ago,” he added. “They used to watch Test cricket all the time on TV, sitting in front of the TV on the couch. And their wish was to watch me play, and that didn’t happen. So yeah, it was quite emotional, but I’m grateful.”

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