Adil Rashid admitted even he was “kind of surprised” by his dramatic recall to England’s Test squad for next week’s series opener against India at Edgbaston. But angry Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur said he hoped England “knew what they are doing”.
Rashid was included in a 13-man squad announced Thursday even though the Yorkshire leg-spinner has opted out of playing first-class County Championship cricket this season. “It was definitely a tough decision – and yes, obviously, I was kind of surprised,” Rashid told Sky Sports News.
“To get back in the Test side, usually people have got to go back to their counties and perform to be considered. “But me and Ed Smith (England’s national selector), and a few others, had a chat – and they were thinking, if I can be available...we’ll be happy for me to be in the squad. That’s something I had to think about, and I made that decision to be available.”
But Rashid’s inclusion provoked a furious reaction from Arthur. “We’re very surprised that England have called Adil up after not playing red ball cricket this season,” he told Yorkshire’s website. “Neither has he expressed a desire to do so. I hope that England know what they’re doing to Adil, and the county game.”
Rashid is now in line to play his first home Test, after all 10 of his previous appearances were made overseas. His recall came alongside that of off-spinner Moeen Ali, who was preferred to Somerset’s Dom Bess – a Test debutant in the drawn series against Pakistan earlier this season. Rashid’s selection in a squad for what will be England’s 1,000th Test when they face India in the first of a five-match series at Edgbaston, comes despite him deciding to opt out of all first-class cricket this year ahead of a home World Cup campaign in 2019.
It was a bold move by a panel headed up by new selection chief Smith, who recalled Jos Buttler against Pakistan on the strength of the batsman’s form in the Indian Premier League. Rashid won the last of his 10 Test caps away to India in Chennai more than 18 months ago.
He starred recently in England’s one-day series wins over Australia and India, taking 20 wickets at an average of 23.95. Rashid also produced a classic leg-break to bowl India captain and star batsman Virat Kohli as England clinched a 2-1 success at the bowler’s Headingley home ground.
Meanwhile left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who like Rashid naturally turns the ball away from right-handed batsmen, suffered concussion on his return to county cricket with Somerset after breaking his thumb on the eve of the Pakistan series and so has yet to add to his debut cap against New Zealand in Christchurch.
Former England batsman Smith said that while Rashid’s contractual situation at Yorkshire was unchanged for this season, he would also have to commit to playing red-ball cricket if he wanted a long-term Test future.
“Adil fully understands that if he wishes to be eligible for Test cricket in the 2019 season, he must have a county contract to play four-day cricket,” he said. “Moving forward, England Test players must be committed to the County Championship. Clearly, the one-off circumstances around Adil’s return to the Test squad are unusual. However, the selection panel was unanimous in believing that Adil should be selected in England’s squad.”
England also called uncapped Essex seamer Jamie Porter into their squad in place of Chris Woakes, only recently back in action following a knee injury. Smith said the panel felt both Woakes and Leach needed to bowl more overs at county level before they could be considered for England selection again. England squad for first Test against India, August 1-5, Edgbaston.