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.
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