Rashid made a scapegoat as England deliver another slap in the face to county cricket

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Rashid is being made a scapegoat by England's decision to select him.

England‘s selection of Adil Rashid for the upcoming Test series against India is illogical, reactionary, and a slap in the face for county cricket.

And none of that is Rashid’s fault.

Sure, he took a white-ball-only contract with Yorkshire this year, and given that English cricket’s priority is next year’s World Cup, to be played at home, it seemed perfectly reasonable for one of their best limited-overs players to focus on the shorter forms – especially considering his last Test engagement was the 2016 tour of India, where he was made to look thoroughly ordinary.

That decision has been vindicated by his form in white-ball cricket and he is now ranked inside the top 10 ODIs bowlers.

From an England perspective, this decision makes zero sense. Rashid took 23 wickets in five matches in India in 2016, at an average of 37.43 and a strike rate, 60.6, that shows his shortcomings in Tests. When batsmen aren’t under pressure trying to hit him for quick runs, and captains can’t protect him with boundary-riding fielders that allow him to attack, his effectiveness drops effectively – and that was on turning wickets in India.

Against the same batsmen, on England’s less helpful pitches? There is the tiniest chance this could be an inspired selection, but all the signs point to picking Rashid being a recipe for disaster.

It almost seems as if Rashid has been picked thanks to one magical ball against Virat Kohli in the ODIs, but picking a player for the Test team on the back of limited-overs form has never been a sensible policy.

And Yorkshire are entitled to feel hard done by, given that the player who wanted to play only white-ball cricket for them will now miss the latter stages of the T20 Blast because he’s on Test duty with England.

Last week, Rashid turned down the chance for a red-ball return in Yorkshire’s most recent County Championship match, the Roses fixture against Lancashire. His county were forced to draft in a spinner on an emergency loan.

But the criticism that has been directed Rashid’s way is unwarranted.

The bowler is entitled to bristle at the fact that he’s not received a word of congratulations from anyone at Yorkshire – standard practice for Test selection. Instead, he’s had to hear Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon saying he was “disappointed” at Rashid’s selection, and chief executive Mack Arthur’s reaction that he was “very surprised”. Both are justified in feeling that way – but that emotion should be directed at the ECB and its selection panel.

Reaching out to Rashid should have been the first thing both did, and their comments should have made clear that they bore him no ill-will for the selection itself, whatever may have transpired between player and team before this (he’s had a strained relationship with Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale since the day the latter was captain of the team and Rashid was a rising star).

Meanwhile, English cricket’s latest self-styled moral compass, former captain Michael Vaughan, who has taken turns being impressive and inane as a commentator and pundit, accused Rashid of being “unprofessional” and “a bit dozy”.

He was singing a different tune when England recalled Jos Buttler, another player on a self-imposed exile from red-ball cricket, this May against Pakistan on the back of a strong IPL.

What exactly was Rashid supposed to do? Turn down an England call? Sure, he might have received praise for standing his ground regarding his preference for white-ball cricket, and asserting his commitment to his county’s T20 and List A teams, but that’s an unfair moral standard to be applying.

Playing Test cricket for your country remains the pinnacle of any cricketer’s career – or so they keep telling everyone. And pundits from all sides are always worrying over the impending death of Test cricket, and how players’ preferences for T20 and ODIs is among the chief causes. After that, expecting a player, who let’s not forget is 30, to turn down selection is unrealistic.

The real story here is the ECB yet again showing its disregard for county cricket, by depriving Yorkshire of one of their best players during pivotal stages of their domestic T20 campaign, and by valuing ODI form over County Championship performances – even if nobody was quite sticking their hand up from that competition.

England say Rashid’s selection is a one-off, and that the selection panel has been told that playing county cricket is a prerequisite for being considered for the Test team.

But they picked Buttler on the back of IPL form, and they’ve picked Rashid now. The criticism should be aimed solely at the ECB and its selection committee.

Instead, they’ve made their leading leg-spinner a convenient scapegoat.

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England's Stuart Broad welcomes Adil Rashid's controversial Test recall

Andy Sims 27/07/2018
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Stuart Broad has welcomed Adil Rashid‘s controversial recall to the England Test squad.

Leg-spinner Rashid has been selected in the 13-man squad to face India at Edgbaston next week despite his self-imposed exile from county cricket.

Rashid currently only has a limited-overs contract with Yorkshire having turned his back on the longer form of the game.

The 30-year-old has not played red-ball cricket all season but Broad feels he can still transfer his sparkling one-day form – Rashid took 20 wickets in the recent series wins against Australia and India – to the Test arena.

“I’ve never bowled spin and never been out of red-ball cricket for an extended period of time,” said Broad.

“One thing is for sure, though, he’s bowled beautifully in the one-day series.

“I know it’s easy to say it’s a very different format with different strategies and all that sort of thing, but you can see he has got wicket-taking balls in him and he’s come through a couple of years of wonderful white-ball bowling which will give him a lot of confidence at the top level.”

National selector Ed Smith made it clear that in order to be eligible for Test selection next year Rashid must return to the four-day game domestically.

Rashid won the last of his 10 Test caps in Chennai more than 18 months ago, but he underlined his case for a recall by bowling India captain Virat Kohli with a memorable leg-break at Headingley last week.

Nevertheless, the decision prompted an angry response from Rashid’s county Yorkshire, whose chief executive Mark Arthur said: “We’re very surprised that England have called Adil up after not playing red-ball cricket this season.

adil rashid

“Neither has he expressed a desire to do so. I hope that England know what they’re doing to Adil, and the county game.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan – an ex-team-mate of Rashid’s for Yorkshire – is also against the move and says it is a “stab in the back for county cricket.”

Writing in the Telegraph, he added: “It basically says our county game, the finishing school for our cricketers, does not matter any more and that it is irrelevant.”

Referring to the ongoing discussions about the proposed ‘Hundred’ competition, he said: “The ECB has to be careful. It is running out of friends.”

Smith countered: “I believe strongly in the county game’s value. The other selections are strongly anchored in county cricket.

“Jamie Porter has been the outstanding seam bowler for the last three seasons.”

Essex seamer Porter won his first call-up for what will be England’s 1,000th Test match.

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England spinner Rashid says Vaughan is 'talking nonsense' following Test call-up

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Adil Rashid has hit back at Michael Vaughan following the former England captain’s criticism of his Test recall and accused his county Yorkshire of being “disrespectful” in their reaction to the news.

Leg-spinner Rashid has been selected in the 13-man squad to face India at Edgbaston next week despite his self-imposed exile from county cricket.

Rashid, who won the last of his 10 Test caps in Chennai more than 18 months ago, currently only has a limited-overs contract with Yorkshire having turned his back on the longer form of the game.

The 30-year-old has not played red-ball cricket all season, but his sparkling one-day form – Rashid took 20 wickets in the recent series wins against Australia and India – has earned him a shock recall to the Test arena.

His selection has not gone down well with Vaughan, an ex-team-mate of Rashid’s for Yorkshire, who described his selection as “stab in the back for county cricket.”

Writing in the Telegraph, he added: “It basically says our county game, the finishing school for our cricketers, does not matter any more and that it is irrelevant.”

Rashid, though, claimed Vaughan was “talking nonsense” and his opinions “did not matter to anybody”.

“When I mentioned at the start of the year I will not be playing red-ball cricket, he tweeted something then,” he said in an interview with BBC Sport. “He was being controversial and saying his stupid things then too.

Controversial comments: Michael Vaughan.

“I don’t think he has an agenda against me. I played under and with him but sometimes ex-players come out and start talking nonsense about current players.

“There will be people out there who are not happy. There will be haters, like the pundits who are saying it is a disgrace. That is not my fault.”

Vaughan was far from the only critical voice. Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur said the county were “very surprised” by Rashid’s recall.

The player responded by casting doubt on his future at Headingley.

He said: “They might be disappointed for various reasons, but it would have been nice if the chief executive or head coach could have said, ‘Well done, congratulations on being selected, good on you’, as opposed to being angry and upset for not playing red-ball cricket for them, even though I told them I would not be doing so.

“I did not do anything wrong in that sense. There is no reason for Yorkshire to react like this. It was not something I expected or wanted.

“It would have been nice to have got the support from your county or the people close to you, but if they do not want to give their support, that is their problem.

“I don’t need anybody’s support in that situation. I know what I want to do and achieve.

“If I give 100 per cent and it goes well, it goes well. If it doesn’t then I will still be happy.

“If they treat me like they have done, don’t see any value in me and are disrespectful to me, I have to think about the future in terms of which county I play for.”

National selector Ed Smith has made it clear that in order to be eligible for Test selection next year Rashid must return to the four-day game domestically.

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