Shoaib Bashir: 

Date of birth:: October 13, 2003, Chertsey, Surrey

Shoaib Basir is an English cricketer representing Somerset and England. Known for his right-handed batting and right-arm off-break bowling, he debuted for Somerset in first-class cricket against Essex on June 11, 2023. His T20 Blast debut for Somerset came against Hampshire on June 7, 2023. Bashir marked his international test debut against India on February 2, 2024.

Hailing from Woking, Surrey, Bashir completed his education at Fullbrook School and Woking College. His cricketing journey was influenced and encouraged by his uncle (Saj), a former wicket-keeper batsman for Guildford City Cricket Club. He who comes from Pakistani descent and follows the Muslim faith, stands at an impressive height of 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm) for an off-spinner. Despite his stature, he has not ventured into seam bowling. His bowling technique adheres to the traditional style expected of an off-spinner, with a characteristic run-up and action.

He represented Guildford in club cricket, played age-group cricket for Surrey and Middlesex, and competed in Minor Counties cricket for Berkshire. During the winter of 2022-2023, he further developed his game by participating in club cricket in Australia, representing the Lindfield District Cricket Club.\

Somerset awarded Bashir a contract for the 2023 season following his impressive performances in Somerset Second-XI matches, where he secured nine wickets at an average of 14.11, with a notable best of 5 for 44 against Warwickshire Second XI. His T20 Blast debut for Somerset came on 7 June 2023 against Hampshire, followed by a notable performance on 9 June 2023, where he claimed his first wickets, taking 3-26 as Somerset defeated Gloucestershire.

Somerset extended Bashir's contract in June 2023 for an additional two years, tying him to the county until the end of the 2025 season. Subsequently, he made his first-class debut for Somerset against Essex on 11 June 2023. Bashir played a pivotal role on 15 July 2023 during finals day, contributing to Somerset's victory over Surrey and Essex in the T20 Blast at Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

In October 2023, he received his inaugural call-up to the England Lions cricket team. During his debut match against Afghanistan B, he showcased an impressive performance by claiming six wickets for 42 runs in a total of 15 overs bowled across both innings.

England captain Ben Stokes discovered Bashir's talent through social media when a video of Bashir bowling to former England opener Alastair Cook gained widespread attention and went viral online. The video, uploaded by Somerset Cricket during Bashir's first-class debut match against Essex, showcased his bowling prowess against Cook. Stokes, an active presence on Twitter, came across the clip shared by Somerset Cricket on their official account, where Bashir's impressive deliveries to Cook caught his eye. Stokes proceeded to share the video of Bashir's bowling with a WhatsApp group that included England head coach Brendon McCullum and ECB managing director Rob Key. Stokes persuaded England selectors to include Bashir in their squad for the upcoming five-match Test series in India, slated to begin in January 2024.

On 11 December 2023, Bashir received his inaugural call-up to the senior England squad, securing a spot in the 16-man roster for the test tour of India. However, he encountered obstacles regarding visa complications, leading to an initial delay in his entry by Indian authorities, primarily due to his Pakistani heritage. While all other members of the England squad traveled to India from Abu Dhabi, Bashir remained behind to address the visa delay. Returning home from Abu Dhabi, he sought to resolve the issue and complete the necessary formalities in London. The involvement of Britain's Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, was noted in facilitating Bashir's safe arrival in India amidst visa concerns, sparking discussions in both the UK parliament and media outlets. The UK Prime Minister's Office expressed disappointment over India's handling of the situation, emphasizing the expectation of fair treatment for British citizens. A source from India's Ministry of External Affairs confirmed Bashir's eventual visa approval upon his return to the United Kingdom. Later revelations indicated that the delay in processing his application, compared to other members of the England team, was attributed to his Pakistani heritage.

On 1 February 2024, Bashir earned his place in the England team for his test debut in the second match of the five-match series against India in Visakhapatnam. By 25 February 2024, he secured his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket, claiming figures of 5/119 in only his second appearance, marking his first such achievement in his first-class career. This feat also positioned him as the second youngest overseas spinner to achieve a five-wicket haul on Indian soil, trailing behind South Africa's Paul Adams. On 9 March 2024, Bashir further solidified his place in cricket history by becoming the first English bowler under 21 to achieve two five-wicket hauls, accomplished during the first innings of the fifth test against India at Dharamshala.

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