Brendon McCullum has said Shoaib Bashir could make his England debut in the second Test at Visakhapatnam and floated the idea of fielding an all-spin attack at some stage in a five-match series in India.
Bashir joined the squad in Hyderabad on Sunday after delays in visa processing forced him to return to London from England’s training camp in Abu Dhabi. With sparse first-class experience, he has only taken 10 wickets in six matches, but England’s management believes he could adapt to Indian conditions.
Doubts remain over Jack Leach’s fitness ahead of the second Test, as a heavily bruised knee limited his participation in Hyderabad. However, if Leach is cleared and the pitch looks dry, England might play all four of their spinners together.
In their turnaround 28-run victory in Hyderabad, England used Mark Wood as their single seamer, but his impact was limited. Despite the presence of James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, and Ollie Robinson, McCullum suggested the team could potentially play without a seam option.
Tom Hartley’s impressive performance in the second innings was praised by McCullum, who also commended Ben Stokes for guiding the young player through a difficult performance. McCullum emphasized the importance of making bold selections based on the skillset that suits the conditions.
McCullum also recalled the early career of Australian cricketer Nathan Lyon and emphasized the need to be brave with selections, trusting in a player’s character and skillset in terms of suitability to specific conditions.