Visakhapatnam, Feb 1: He arrived late due to visa issues. But he is finally ready to test Indian batters on Indian spin-friendly tracks. His abilities as a turner has been talked about a lot.
Will he able to rattle India further, who are already down after the humiliating loss in Hyderabad? Will he be nervous? Or, will he trouble India with his skill-set in the Vizag Test, which starts from Friday?
Yes, the long wait for young English spinner Shoaib Bashir is over. He is all set for England debut as he has been included in the playing XI on Thursday. It would be interesting to see how Indian batsmen handle him at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium.
Bashir has a Pakistan ancestry and he is an exceptional talent, who may trouble TEam India, who are without some very experienced players like Virat Kohli, K L Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja. Even the two Test specialists Cheteswar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have been overlooked by the Indian selectors.
England made two changes from the side that won the opening Test in Hyderabad with Bashir replacing Jack Leach, who has been ruled out with a knee injury.
Leach jarred his left knee while fielding during England's thrilling 28-run win over the hosts last week. He aggravated the injury later on in the same match, bowling 10 overs during the hosts' second innings with a swollen joint.
On the other hand, veteran pacer James Anderson coming in for Mark Wood.
Earlier, skipper Ben Stokes was confident Bashir could perform well on debut if he was selected to partner fellow spinners Rehan Ahmed and Tom Hartley for the second Test.
"If he was to play on this tour, then the great thing he has on his side is, what is there to lose?" Stokes said.
"That is how I will be thinking about it, if he gets the chance to play: just to make sure I can give him the best experience I possibly can. Because you only play your first Test match once. If he does play, then I will be trying to make it as enjoyable and fun for him as I can," he said.
England Playing XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (C), Ben Foakes, Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson. (With IANS support)