They’re supporting me from up above: Bashir dedicates maiden fifer to his late grandfathers


PTI, Feb 25, 2024, 8:26 PM IST

Off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, who became the second youngest England bowler to grab a Test five-for, dedicated his feat to his late grandfathers who were avid fans of the red-ball cricket.

At 20 years and 135 days, Bashir grabbed his maiden five-for — 5/119 — during India’s first innings on the third day of the fourth Test here. He was playing in just his second Test.

“It was a very special moment on my journey. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have thought anything like this (would happen) but that was really special,” Bashir told reporters after day’s play.

“It was quite emotional as well, actually — I lost my two grand dads about a year and a half ago and they used to just sit and watch Test cricket all the time. Their wish was to see me out on the TV, I know they’re supporting me from up above.” Bashir bowled across three sessions and had 32 overs under his belt, including 31 overs on the trot from the dressing room end.

The youngster said the Ben Stokes-led side supported him well.

“Stokesy and the boys are incredible. They give you so much confidence in anything you do. If that’s me going out to bowl or bat, they’re so good confidence-wise.

“I know tomorrow I have a job to do and me and Tommy (Hartley) are really excited for the challenge. We saw how Ashwin and Jadeja bowled on that wicket and we take huge confidence from that.”

‘England have massive chance to win’

England bowled India out for 307 to take a 46-run first innings lead but thereafter the visitors capitulated to be bowled out for 145, giving India a 192-run target to win the fourth Test.

India had polished off 40 runs from the target without losing any wicket at close on day three.

But Bashir believed England would turn it around on the morning of day four.

“It’s 10 chances to take 10 wickets. Massively (we ca win). Me and Tommy are really excited for tomorrow. That pitch is deteriorating quite a bit now. We saw some pop from a good length and some roll. That’s good signs for us and we’re really excited.

“We’re two tall spinners and we have tall release points. Stokesy and Baz picked us for a reason. We’ve just got to go out tomorrow and hopefully win a Test match.” Asked if the first session is best for batting, he said: “Yeah, probably. The roller does have an affect but the pitch is deteriorating massively so anything can happen tomorrow. We’re really excited for what tomorrow will bring.” Indian wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel struck a splendid career-best 90, batting with the tail that revived the hosts’ fortunes.

“India played well, Jurel batted really well towards the end. He probably scored a few more runs than we would have liked but again, we’re going to bowl them out tomorrow.”

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