Adil Rashid’s return to the England Test squad was met with mixed response from cricket pundits largely due to the fact that the leg-spinner had given up on playing red-ball cricket.
Rashid however, was recalled by the selectors after some outstanding performances in white-ball cricket over the past few months.
Given the hot summer conditions in England, the ball is likely to turn in few of the venues which is why Rashid has been included in the side which is deprived of quality spinners, with off-spinner Moeen Ali in the mix as well.
Rashid has taken 38 wickets at an average of 42.78 in 10 Tests for England, the most recent of which came in India in December 2016.
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Former England captain Alastair Cook meanwhile, feels sorry for Rashid, who last played a Test match back in 2016.
“The way Adil has been playing and bowling for the one-dayers, it seemed quite an obvious selection. He has been bowling brilliantly but I know in a different format. In one sense, I feel a little bit sorry for Adil with all the political side of the selection, rather than looking at him,” said Cook.
I was kind of surprised: Adil Rashid reacts to England Test squad comeback
“He’s gone away and worked really hard on his one-day skills and has been bowling brilliantly in the last two series. He’s been selected to play for England, which is a huge honour, and all this other stuff has overtaken it.
“It’s just because it’s unusual it’s never really happened this way before. I don’t think it will happen very many times again. Obviously, Ed Smith (chief selector) says he needs to be playing red-ball cricket [to be selected in future] and I think that’s right. But sometimes in exceptional circumstances, selection goes a different way than you would like and obviously Ed and the selectors have made a brave call,” Cook said.
Former England captains blast selectors for recalling Adil Rashid in Test squad
Cook feels the selectors were hard pressed as they didn’t have much option at hand.
“It is interesting because it’s so unusual with the history of Adil saying he’s not playing red-ball cricket. But in the last couple of months, there have been some exceptional circumstances with a couple of the guys next in line, Jack Leach and Dom Bess.
“I played with him (Jack) in the Lions game, and he was probably a little bit short of match practice and that rhythm you need as a bowler. Dom is a very young spinner, right at the beginning of his career, so in one sense the selectors didn’t have too many options really,” he added.
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Cook also thinks Rashid will be able to cope up with the situation but will be nervous ahead of the first Test in Birmingham on August 1.
“I think probably in the past Adil would have been (affected by this). Over the last 18-months even though I haven’t played with him but just watching how he’s gone about his business in the one-dayers I think he’s matured as a cricketer and improved since we last saw him in an England Test shirt,” he said.
“I think he’ll be fine. Clearly he’s going to be nervous because it’s a bit of time away from the England team and with the circumstances. But I genuinely think he will cope and he’s bowling really well,” Cook said.
In February, he signed a contract with Yorkshire to play only limited-overs cricket in 2018. He has not played a first-class match since September 2017.
Rashid’s selection led to a war of words between him and Michael Vaughan after the former skipper called the selection a “ridiculous” decision.
Rashid then hit back at Vaughan saying his comments were “stupid” and “do not matter”.
News credit : Indiatoday