Shoaib Bashir Receives England Test Call Up

December 13, 2023

Everyone at Berkshire cricket are delighted to hear the news that Shoaib Bashir had been selected in England’s test squad for the upcoming new year tour of India. It caps off a remarkable 16 months for a player who helped us to two national white ball trophies with our U18’s at the end of the 2022 summer.

Our first glimpses of Shoaib came in the summer of 2021 when our U18’s played Surrey at LSE in London where we were narrowly defeated in an entertaining 3 day game. It wasn’t till the close season that he was bought to our attention again having not been offered an Academy deal with Surrey. Our head coach Tom Lambert picks up the story from there…..

“Through our merger with Middlesex I spend Sunday evenings at Finchley and saw Shoaib again as he was having sessions with them. What struck you immediately when working closely with him was the potential he had both physically and outcome wise. His height enabled him to extract bounce from a high release point and the shape and action he put on the ball was extremely eye catching. He could change pace with minimal change in arm speed. It was a pleasure to watch and I remember leaving thinking I’d love to have him working with us.”

As the winter rolled on Shoaib spent equal time with Middlesex and Berkshire and split his time between Finchley and Wargrave.

“He never once missed a session and had a real thirst to play the game firstly, and to improve session on session. He was equally happy to be in either environment and that was what struck me about his character. He just wanted to train and wanted to play cricket. It hadn’t turned out the way he might have liked at Surrey but that was by no means going to set him back. He shone in our room both as a lad and a player.”

Come the start of the summer in 2022 the decision was made that he would play the majority of his cricket with Berkshire, turning out twice in white ball cricket for Middlesex at U18 level.

“In spending more time with us than Middlesex there was potential for that to knock his confidence further. There was none of that and he got on with performing outstandingly for us at U18 and 2nd XI senior level where he put in outstanding performance after outstanding performance. He played an ever present role in us winning both white ball national tournaments that summer.”

On the way to winning both trophies we played Somerset in the 50 over plate semi final where Shoaib bowled us to a memorable 7 wicket victory with an outstanding 5-22 helping dismiss our first class opponents for less than a hundred. It was that phone call that prompted a message from Somerset Performance Lead Matt Drakeley to ask of his current circumstances and whether he’d be available to play some 2nd XI cricket for them in September.

“In the Semi Final of T20 finals day he dislocated his finger in the field and had to go off to hospital. He was consistently in contact with me asking if he could get back for the final but by this stage he had already agreed to play for Somerset the following week in a 2nd XI fixture so we agreed he’d miss the final to make sure he was ok for that. He travelled that night from Leicestershire to Somerset for the game. Indeed the week leading into finals weekend we discussed him missing out so he was fresh for Somerset. He was having none of that and was fully committed to us. Wanting to play at all and wanting to play in the final with a patched up finger sums Bash up.”

His 2nd XI games with Somerset couldn’t have gone any better a quickly there was an offer of a contract on the table which he duly signed. He went on to play in all three formats for Somerset this summer and was named on the recent lions tour which has subsequently led to his inclusion in the touring party for India.

“We couldn’t be more happy for him and are delighted we can contribute in our small way to where he is today. I’m delighted to see that England have seen in him what ourselves and Somerset did and we wish him all our best. Shoaib’s journey to date shows the enormous role NCCA cricket can play in helping to put players back together and offering outstanding provision across the winter and summer to those who don’t always take the natural route to the top. I hope his story continues to flourish and encourages 1st class counties to keep a casting eye over NCCA cricket whilst also helping to inspire players within our pathway and others that anything is attainable.”

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