Watch: In the first over of his first-class career, Somerset debutant Shoaib Bashir spun his off-breaks twice past the outside edge of Alastair Cook. This caught the eye of England captain Ben Stokes, leading up to his upcoming Test debut against India in Vizag.
Having started his career at Surrey, Bashir had made an impact at age-group level before moving to Somerset via Berkshire. On his Somerset Second XI debut, in 2022, he picked up 3-51 and 4-12 against the Surrey Seconds.
Soon afterwards, there was a 5-44 against Warwickshire Seconds. In 2023, he signed a contract with Somerset for the season, and claimed 4-49 against Northamptonshire Seconds.
Bashir played some Second XI Twenty20 matches before making his T20 Blast debut last week. The 2-0-19-0 against Hampshire oozed little confidence, but he followed that with 4-0-26-3 as Somerset trounced Gloucestershire by 80 runs at Bristol.
That was on June 9. The next day, Somerset extended Bashir’s contract by two years, until 2025.
“Shoaib has a huge amount of potential and we have all been really impressed with his attitude, work ethic and determination to give himself the best chance of reaching that full potential,” said Andy Hurry, Somerset’s director of cricket.
The day after, Bashir made his first-class debut in a County Championship match against Essex. He came on to bowl for the first time at a well-set Alastair Cook, who came into the match with two decades, over 26,000 runs, and 73 hundreds under his belt – not to speak of an excellent reputation of playing spin.
Bashir’s second ball pitched on the stumps. Cook tried to play a forward defensive, but the ball spun sharply and bounced, forcing Somerset wicketkeeper James Rew to collect well above his waist.
The fourth ball spun past Cook again, and even Rew’s gloves. Cook played out the rest of the over, and Bashir began with a maiden.
Bashir has since taken 10 first-class wickets, averaging 67.
His over to Cook was the first look that Ben Stokes had at Bashir. Impressed with what he saw, Stokes asked Rob Key (director of cricket) and Brendon McCullum (head coach) to keep an eye on him for the India Test tour.
“The first time I saw him was on Twitter. I think the County Championship [account] put a little clip together of him bowling against Sir Alastair,” Stokes said two days ahead of the second India-England Test in Vizag.
“I’m in a WhatsApp group with Keysy (Key) and Baz (McCullum). I actually did forward the clip on and said, ‘Have a look at this, this could be something we could work with on our India tour’ and it just progressed from there. He got selected on the Lions tour and obviously the coaches on that tour fed back everything to us.”
Picked in an England Lions squad to take part in a training camp in the UAE, he impressed the England management sufficiently to win a call-up for the five Test series in India, and is now set to make his Test debut in the second game of the series in Visakhapatnam.
Watch Shoaib Bashir beat Alastair Cook twice in his first over in first-class cricket:
19-year-old off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, bowling his first over on County Championship debut, beats the bat of Alastair Cook twice 👀
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 11, 2023