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Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid is basking in the joy of being called up to England’s Ashes squad for the first Test in Cardiff.
The uncapped Rashid was the surprise name in the 13-man squad announced to take on Australia at the SSE Swalec. He was omitted from the four-day team bonding trip to Spain recently, which was largely viewed as an indicator of the squad the hosts would choose.
However, with England keen to bolster their frontline spin options, Rashid and Worcestershire all-rounder Moeen Ali have both been included.
Only half way through the season! Plenty of cricket left but loving our momentum! Massive congrats to @AdilRashid03 much deserved call up!
— Jack Brooks (@BrooksyFerret) July 1, 2015
“I’m delighted, over the moon, and am looking forward to going there and seeing what happens,” Rashid said on Yorkshire’s official website.
“It is definitely a career highlight. It’s always a dream to play Test cricket for any youngster, especially to be part of an Ashes squad. I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully I can do well.”
Rashid was unconcerned after missing out on the training camp in Almeria and thinks playing for Yorkshire in a county match in Durham was better preparation anyway.
“I was just told by ( England assistant coach) Paul Farbrace to come to Durham and get some overs under my belt and see what happened,” he said. “It was good to get some overs under my belt, get into rhythm and bowl my tricks.”
It has been a stellar last 18 months for the 27-year-old, who catapulted himself back into international contention last year by taking 81 wickets for the White Rose in all formats last season.
He continued his recent resurgence with fine, if not spectacular, displays in the limited-overs formats against New Zealand recently, taking eight wickets in five onedayers.
Rashid believes his consistent displays can be attributed to a more carefree attitude on the field.
“I think now I’m a lot more relaxed, looking to spin the ball both ways and have fun, “ he said. “I’m not really worried about going for runs. I look to attack and create chances. That’s all I’ve been thinking over the last two years.”
Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris’s hopes of being fit for next week’s first Ashes Test suffered a blow on Wednesday with a recurrence of the knee trouble that has blighted his career. The setback ruled him out of the team’s final warm-up match against Essex.
The 35-year-old paceman underwent major surgery to his right knee last year and put himself on a lengthy fitness programme in a bid to be fit in time to face England in Cardiff.
Although officials labelled Harris’s latest injury, which saw him replaced by Peter Siddle for the four-day game against Essex, as nothing more serious than “soreness” it may well be enough to keep him out of the side when Australia launch their defence of the Ashes.
Harris missed Australia’s recent series win in the West Indies in order to be present for the birth of his child.
“We pulled him out because he’s sore, he’s going to get some scans done and we’ll have a better idea in a day or two,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann said.
The match against Essex saw home captain Ravi Bopara, the England all-rounder, win the toss and field.
avid Warner blazed his way to 94 before falling just short of a hundred before lunch when caught by Bopara at third slip off Jamie Porter.
Thereafter, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh took charge as he cracked a superb 136 off 151 balls to all but ensure his spot in the team ahead of Shane Watson. Australia ended the day on 440 for six.