England eye Rashid Test return despite his first-class break
Leg-spinner not playing for Yorkshire due to shoulder Addition to squad would lift chances in India and Sri Lanka
England are keen for Adil Rashid to make a return to Test cricket, believing he would boost the quality and depth of their squad.
The Yorkshire leg-spinner played the last of his 19 Tests for England in January 2019, but has since been in brilliant form for England in limited-overs cricket.
Following extensive work on his right shoulder, which has troubled him over the years, Rashid was widely praised for his bowling in the recent one-day international series against Ireland, with his googly particularly impressive.
He is not currently playing for Yorkshire in first-class cricket, after deciding to focus on managing his shoulder in the build-up to the next Twenty20 World Cup, which was scheduled for October before being postponed due to Covid-19.
But it is understood that if Rashid returns to playing first-class cricket, the England management would welcome him being available for Tests once again.
In April, Rashid said that he would consider a return to Test cricket. “Once September comes, if my shoulder is 100 per cent and I feel I can get back into red-ball, that is something I would consider,” he said, declaring his ambition of playing in the Ashes in 2021-22.
“If I don’t make that decision of playing red-ball and just sticking to white-ball then there’s no Ashes for me. But if I do make that decision and I play red-ball, then that’s something that I could look towards. It’s something that I’ve got to earn.”
With England identifying a varied attack as essential if they are to build a side who can thrive throughout the world – and ultimately return to being the No1 Test team – there would be huge appeal in adding a leg-spinner to the squad. Shane Warne is among those who
have recently said Rashid would strengthen England’s Test side.
Rashid has a reasonable record in Test cricket, taking 60 wickets at 39 apiece in his 19 games. After his controversial recall in 2018 – at the time, Rashid was not available for Yorkshire in first-class cricket – he played in England’s next nine Tests, a sequence that featured seven victories.
Rashid made useful contributions at times during these games, taking 22 wickets at 34 apiece, including a Test best of five for 49 in England’s victory in Colombo. But he endured a poor last Test, taking nought for 117 from 26 overs in England’s crushing defeat by West Indies in Barbados. He has not appeared in any form of first-class cricket since.
Dom Bess, the current firstchoice Test spinner, has had a modest summer, taking just seven wickets at 46 apiece while conceding an expensive 3.3 runs an over. But, rather than a slight on Bess, England’s desire for Rashid to return to the Test fold is based on wanting to increase options in the Test squad.
During tours to Asia – England are due to tour both India and Sri Lanka this winter – two front-line spinners are likely to be essential.
Even if Rashid’s shoulder is not robust enough to be sure of getting through long spells on the winter Test tours – when he could potentially be required to bowl in the region of 50 overs a Test – he could subsequently return to the Test reckoning.
At 32, he is still younger than many leg-spinners traditionally peak, and his recent performances in ODI cricket have suggested he may still be improving.
‘If my shoulder is 100 per cent and I feel I can get back to red ball, I would consider it’
Turning fortunes: Adil Rashid was impressive against Ireland, with his googly in particular