20-year-old leg-spinner Shoaib Bashir, a student of the Rajasthan Royals Surrey Academy (Reed's School) has been called up to England's 16-man squad for the upcoming five-match Test series in India.
England are scheduled to play five Tests against India in early 2024, with the first Test to be held in Hyderabad on January 25.
Who is Shoaib Bashir?
Born to Pakistani-origin parents in Surrey, Shoaib Bashir is a right-arm off-break bowler who made his T20 and first-class debut for Somerset earlier this year. The youngster has had an impressive start to his domestic career, bowling to the likes of legendary England cricketer Alastair Cook. So far, Shoaib has already picked 10 wickets in 6 first-class matches and has come up as a promising prospect in England's cricketing landscape by displaying exemplary performances in age-group cricket. The news of his inclusion sent waves of surprise in the English fraternity given his limited experience, but those who have watched him closely say there's more than what meets the eye.
The Royals Connection
At age 11, Bashir was enrolled into our Surrey academy and has since then worked rigorously under the guidance of our Head of Academy Coaching, Siddhartha Lahiri. Having studied at a state-funded school with limited coaching facilities, the young off-spinner would spend his evenings at the academy, having his evening snack and being made to bowl to 15/16-year-olds. While the primary focus would be on helping him bowl better, Lahiri would also make him hit the nets once a week to sharpen his batting skills.
“I have been training with Sid (Siddhartha Lahiri) and the Rajasthan Royals academy since I was 11 and the coaches have been excellent. They have helped my game to excel in all departments, especially my batting where I was always encouraged to adopt a fearless approach without worrying about results", Shoaib had exclaimed in a candid chat a few days after his first-class debut.
Today, Bashir joins a list of highly-rated upcoming players in England to have come out of our academies across the UK - including Ollie Pope, Phil Salt, Ryan Patel, Amar Virdi, Dan Douthwaite, Tom Lawes.
"One of my highlights of training at the Royals Academy UK was meeting and talking to the great Shane Warne. I was lucky enough to bowl a few balls while he was watching and he gave me a few valuable tips!” - Shoaib Bashir, England's latest Test recruit 👏 pic.twitter.com/GaqI7sbevj— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) December 11, 2023
At the Royals, our vision of “Transforming Society through Cricket and Cricket through Innovation” has led us to set up a network of academies and high-performance training centres across India, the UK and the UAE. The purpose of doing this is to go deep into the grassroots system and provide a platform for aspiring cricketers to become top-level professionals. It means building world-class infrastructure facilities, a robust training programme with the latest technological advancements to adapt to modern-day cricket, and having an esteemed panel of coaching experts to impart the right kind of knowledge. These players become a part of the Royals way of coaching which comprises one-of-a-kind techniques and drills, interactive one-on-one sessions with the coaches, and a process-driven approach keeping the long-term goal in mind.
England Test squad: Rehan Ahmed, James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Shoaib Bashir, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Tom Hartley, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Ben Stokes (captain), Mark Wood