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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Malik Ouzia

England vs India team: Shoaib Bashir to make debut in Second Test as James Anderson recalled

Shoaib Bashir will cap his remarkable rise with an international debut on Friday, after England named the rookie spinner in their side for the Second Test in Vizag.

Bashir made his first-class debut for Somerset only in June and his selection as part of England’s 16-man squad for the tour of India was greeted with huge surprise when it was announced late last year.

However, Jack Leach’s knee problem has seen the 20-year-old drafted into the XI for Friday's Second Test as one of two changes from the dramatic triumph in Hyderabad, with James Anderson recalled as the sole seamer in place of Mark Wood.

Leach returned from seven months on the sidelines with a stress fracture to start the series, but injured his knee while fielding on the first day and has not recovered in time to keep his place, paving the way for Somerset team-mate Bashir to make his bow.

“Bash coming in for Leachy was a simple one: one spinner out, one spinner in,” captain Ben Stokes said.

“Baz [Brendon McCullum] told him. So, when I went up to him, I knew that he knew and he just gave me a big hug. He looked very excited. I’m fully backing him and looking forward to hopefully putting on a grand show.”

Bashir, who was released by Surrey as a teenager, has played just six first-class matches, taking 10 wickets at an average of 67, but impressed on an England Lions camp in the United Arab Emirates before Christmas.

James Anderson has replaced Mark Wood in the England side for Second Test (REUTERS)

His chances of a debut in the First Test were scuppered by visa delays relating to his Pakistani heritage that forced him to fly back to London before belatedly arriving on the subcontinent last weekend, as the opener reached its climax. However, Stokes insisted that setback did not put him off handing him his chance this week.

“There’s no issues for me that he’s been away from the group for a period of time, then come back in to make his debut,” he added. “It’s not like he’s forgotten how to bowl.”

Bashir’s inclusion means England’s specialist spin attack will go into the contest with just three caps between them, with teenage leggie Rehan Ahmed keeping his place despite a quiet start to the series with the ball and Tom Hartley looking to build on his match-winning seven-for on debut.

By contrast, Anderson will win his 184th cap and continue a remarkable streak of having played Test cricket in 22 consecutive calendar years.

England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, who is just 10 scalps away from a landmark 700 in Test cricket, has not played since an underwhelming Ashes series last summer.

Stokes, however, is backing the 41-year-old’s fine record in India, where he has 34 wickets in 13 Tests at an average of 29, despite seldom playing in seam-friendly conditions.

“Considering what Jimmy is known for — ‘the swing king’ and all that — it just proves how good a bowler he is,” Stokes added.

"I’m fully backing him and looking forward to hopefully putting on a grand show"

Ben Stokes on England debutant Shoaib Bashir

“Taking nothing away from Woody, we just feel like there’s a bit more I can turn to him for. It’s not just picking Jimmy for the new ball, it’s everything else he possesses — his reverse skills, his off-cutter skills and stuff like that.”

Joe Root will also expect to play a significant part with the ball once more, having taken five wickets in the First Test as he this week climbed above Stokes to No4 in the ICC’s Test all-rounder rankings.

India are yet to name their team but will be forced into at least two changes after KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja were ruled out of the match with quadricep and hamstring problems, respectively.

England: Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Bairstow, Stokes (c), Foakes (wkt), Ahmed, Hartley, Bashir, Anderson.

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