India v England: Ben Stokes says there was ‘by no means an opportunity’ of boycott over Shoaib Bashir visa

Shoaib Bashir


Somerset’s Shoaib Bashir has been called up by England for the first time despite playing only six first-class matches

Ben Stokes says there was “never a chance” England would boycott the first Test against India because of the delay with Shoaib Bashir’s visa.

The uncapped Somerset spinner, who is of Pakistani heritage, is out of contention for the Test, which starts on Thursday, because of the issue.

England captain Stokes said he was “devastated” for the 20-year-old.

He admitted he had floated the idea of a boycott among the team, but said it was “tongue in cheek”.

“As a leader, as a captain, when one of your team-mates is affected by something like that you do get a bit emotional,” Stokes said.

Bashir, who was initially left in Abu Dhabi when the rest of the team travelled to India on Sunday, has returned to the UK in order to sort the visa delay.

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…