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.
The 30-year-old even admitted he was taken aback by the decision, despite having held talks with Smith prior to the recent one-day series against India about a potential call-up.
He told Sky Sports News: “I was kind of surprised. To get back in the Test side, usually people have got to go back to their counties and perform to be considered.”
Rashid won the last of his 10 Test caps in Chennai more than 18 months ago, but underlined his case when he bowled India captain Virat Kohli with a memorable leg-break at Headingley last week.
Nevertheless, the move prompted an angry response from Rashid’s county Yorkshire, who are also captained by Root, and whose chief executive Mark Arthur said: “We’re very surprised that England have called Adil up after not playing red-ball cricket this season.
“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 currently only has a limited-overs contract with Yorkshire but Smith made it clear that in order to be eligible for England Test selection next year he must return to the longer form of the game domestically.
Yet Smith insists he, his selection panel and, crucially, Root, are “comfortable” with what he calls a “one-off” decision.
“The decision involved quite a lot of context,” said Smith.
“We are fully aware of the summer we are having and the likelihood that the pitches are going to turn.
“In the event of needing two spinners how would we get people into the side who turn the ball in different directions?
“In that context is obviously Adil’s form in white-ball cricket, his confidence, his touch, the fact that he has evolved so much as a bowler and is in the form of his life and has never felt more at home in an England one-day or Twenty20 jersey.
“Clearly, the one-off circumstances around Adil’s return to the Test squad are unusual.
“My task is to put the best available squad together to give to the captain and the coach to pick the XI on the day.
“That’s the extent of my job. Given the circumstances I feel very comfortable that we have picked Adil Rashid in the squad.
“The decision was a unanimous one, the decision makers being myself, James Taylor and coach Trevor Bayliss, and also round that table was Joe Root.
“When it came to the final decision I asked all four if it was the right thing to do and the answer was ‘yes’ from all four.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan – an ex-team-mate of Rashid’s for Yorkshire – is wholeheartedly against the move and says it is a “stab in the back for county cricket”.
Writing in the Telegraph, he said: “It basically says our county game, the finishing school for our cricketers, does not matter anymore 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.”
Paceman Stuart Broad welcomed Rashid’s inclusion, saying: “One thing is for sure, 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.”
Moeen Ali is back in the Test reckoning for the first time since his miserable Ashes winter while Essex seam bowler Jamie Porter earned a first call-up for what will be England’s 1,000th Test match.
The current India skipper has not enjoyed the best of times in his previous visit to England in 2014 where he could only muster 134 runs from 10 innings at a dismal average of 13.40.
Ganguly, in a chat with Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz Unplugged, stated that Kohli’s captaincy legacy will be decided by a whole set of other factors rather than the number of runs he scores.
“Virat Kohli will not be judged just by the runs he scores. That’ll remain, he will keep scoring runs till the time he plays because he’s a very good player. But for me, Virat Kohli will be judged by how he takes Indian cricket with him. And that’s very, very important. Hope he has the right people around him, to guide him and make sure that life becomes a little easy for him. Because it’s going to get harder,” Ganguly said.
“With overseas trips, the longer he spends as captain, his form – up and down – so it’s only going to get harder. So hopefully he has people around him who help him and guide him. And that will be his legacy – where he leaves Indian cricket as a captain,” he added.
Kohli and his men are currently participating in a three-day warm-up game against Essex at Chelmsford before they take on the hosts in the first Test which gets underway on August 1 at Edgbaston.
The Indian captain put in a solid showing with the bat in India’s first-innings total of 395 in the warm-up game with a fluent knock of 68.
The leg-spinner could be set to make his first Test appearance for England since December, 2016 after he was named in the 13-man squad for the series opener at Edgbaston. This comes after Rashid had turned his back on the five-day format and signed a white-ball only contract with his county outfit Yorkshire for the ongoing English domestic season.
We’re very surprised that England have called Adil up after not playing red-ball cricket this season. Neither has he expressed a desire to do so,” Arthur was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
“I hope that England know what they’re doing to Adil, and the county game,” he added.
The wrist-spinner’s performance in the recently concluded three-match ODI series between England and India seems to have swayed the selectors to include him in the Test squad. Rashid accounted for India skipper Virat Kohli’s wicket twice in the series.
That showing had led to murmurs about a possible Test recall with England head coach Trevor Bayliss among those to champion for his recall. Rashid too, had stated that he would be open to a Test recall in his column for Sky Sports.
“If England do want me to be part of the squad for the Test series against India, if the selectors come and show faith in me, I would consider it,” he had stated in his column.
Rashid is the only other spinner in the 13-man squad apart from Moeen Ali who was handed a Test recall too after being dropped from the squad during England’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year.