Adil Rashid’s back!

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2 minute read

As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything.

Is Adil Rashid a bowler who can take wickets when others cannot? Yeah, probably. Sometimes.

Does Adil Rashid’s selection for the Test squad having previously jacked in red ball cricket maybe raise a couple of awkward questions? Erm, yeah, probably. But let’s focus on the wickets, eh?

What was the point of that red ball retirement?

Earlier this year, Adil Rashid supposedly gave up first-class cricket to become a white ball specialist. A major reason why he did this was because he suspected that he was not going to play Test cricket under England’s current captain.

Rashid didn’t think this for no reason. He’d been England’s first-choice spinner for the tour of India and while he didn’t perform spectacularly, he did better than everyone else and well enough that he’d have expected to retain his place. Instead he was dropped. Double-dropped even.

England picked Mason Crane as their second spinner on the Ashes tour, even though it was clear to everyone that he was never actually going to play.

Rashid thought about this and he thought about how he could make an unarguable case for reselection bowling leg-spin in the County Championship. With half the matches played in April and May and England clearly not much interested in picking him for Tests, he concluded that he’d be pissing in the wind.

We’re not sure whether you’ve ever tried pissing in the wind, but honestly, there’s little to be gained from it. More often than not you’ll end up thinking that you never should have commenced the piss in the first place. Rashid therefore binned red ball cricket to focus on his England career. It’s worth noting that he subsequently played very well.

Worked out well though, didn’t it?

Who knows what happens next, but thanks to a change in selection policy and good form in limited overs cricket, Adil Rashid has won back his place in England’s Test squad.

When Jos Buttler came back into the Test team off the back of his IPL returns, he said that it wasn’t a question of playing the right format.  He pointed out that in an alternate universe, maybe he’d have made five first-class hundreds for Lancashire and won his place back that way.

That’s true, but the same doesn’t hold for Rashid. The chances of a leggie tearing it up in the Championship on damp seamers is nil because no matter what form he’d been in, he simply wouldn’t have been given the ball. He’d have been lucky to get three overs. He might not even have been picked.


Plenty of people will moan about Adil Rashid’s return, but it’s hard to envisage any other way he could have won his place back.

Good luck to him.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. It is quite hot and dry at the moment. Any moisture in the pitch is probably going to dry up half way through the first session (if it takes that long). England should look at playing two spinners. I’m pretty sure India will be.

  2. Poor Rashid. He gets selected against Pakistan and India. Bet he would love to play against South Africa or New Zealand sometimes

  3. I think you undervalue how poor his form has been when it comes to staring in annoyance as the Headingley outfield fails to dry in spite of there being no rain on any of the four scheduled days of the match.

  4. I think we put too much emphasis on format. Test cricket throws up so many different situations that I’ve often thought the best way to pick a test team is just to write a list of your most talented cricketers (taking into account temperament but ignoring such factors as potential, format-specialisation and form). The top sixteen or so names form your squad, and then you pick your XI from that pool based on form and balance.

    If you did that then the likes of Buttler, Rashid and Hales would undoubtedly be in the mix, as well as more traditional “test” cricketers, and I think the side would be better placed to handle the varied challenges of test cricket.

    1. As we said to someone on Twitter earlier, if you’re preparing to bowl to Virat Kohli in a Test match in August, that experience is probably closer to bowling to Virat Kohli in an ODI in July than it is to bowling to Tom Westley in a Championship match in April.

  5. Yorkshire seem pretty upset; wonder if he’ll be moved on next season now.

    If you want the County Championship to encourage spinners, then they need to play it in the summer. Maybe Somerset should be playing Bess?

    I doubt this will be a terribly successful choice, but I don’t blame Smith for picking him, or Rashid for making himself available.

      1. He was a good bowler and a good batsman. A Venn diagram would be 2 circles with very little overlap. Also, a great captain. But then his Oxford nickname was ‘Im the dim.’ haha!

      2. Honestly, I don’t remember seeing him play much. Don’t think I remember the (checks…)1987 series, don’t remember the 1992 World Cup final beyond the result (although if I remember correctly, I had swimming that day).

        Politically, less of a dick than Botham?

        Generally, less of a dick than Botham, I guess.

      3. Kidding aside, it is as a strong, fearless ‘captain’ that his people have elected him, but politically he comes across as rather naive. To the extent that in this arena he’s not so much a player, as someone who’s being played. But astounding that an ex- cricket captain is political leader of his country. Must be a first?

      4. Better than being an ex-reality TV show host.

        I wonder if Ranatunga is upset Khan got there first?

      5. No, Ranji never captained England.

        But it does seem to have been/be a quintessentially Sussex thing to do big-time politics after cricket. Must be the sea air.

      6. Nawab Tiger Pataudi was the closest approximation, I think. At least till Indira Gandhi decided that even the “Nawab” part was a bit much.

  6. We’re still no closer to finding out what adil rashid did to rile joe root in the first place.

    Please feel free to speculate.

    1. It seems like a general Yorkshire attitude to spinners in general. They just don’t rate them. Seamers can be a threat and may demand a bit of respect but spinners? NO.

      unless they can bowl a magic ball every over and threaten to take wickets, Yorkshire will not respect spinners, I guess.

    2. Joe Root had left half a pizza in the fridge in a box clearly marked “Captain of England, Leader of Men”. Adil should’ve thought twice before picking all the mushroom bits off the top and gorging himself. It is whispered in some circles that he didn’t even spare the cheese. Root, understandably, was peeved.

  7. I think you’ve missed a large element of Adil’s importance in first class cricket.

    ” He’d have been lucky to get three overs. He might not even have been picked.”

    He might not have got many overs but would have been selected as a batsman unless all the internationals were available. Unlike in the shorter form Adil would be picked by Yorkshire for a lot of games as a batsman alone. His first class stats don’t really show his ability – he plays a lot of home games on low scoring grounds and has had some dodgy seasons when falling out with captains and coaches.

    Perhaps a good quiz question – who replaced Darren Lehman in the Yorkshire batting lineup?

  8. AGREED! While we’re at it, Yorkshire can stop the pissy routine, grow up. Michael Vaughan should stop saying controversial stuff just to get attention in the media.

  9. He will create an impact in this series against India. He is in great form this season and bowling really well. Hope he will answer to all his critics with his leg-spin…

  10. Here is the first part of the story of my two days at the Middlesex v Warwickshire match earlier this week.

    It includes, amongst various sub-plots, the Rutles and some Ryan Sidebottom confusion, which I try to resolve with the help of The Atheist’s seminal blu tac stop-frame animation film.

    Part two tomorrow, all being well.

      1. Can’t unimagine the thought of Rohan Candappa performing the Longyi dance, in the Lords pavilion.

  11. The interesting one for me is that Moeen Ali’s back, practically under the radar thanks to all the talk about Rashid. Which is just as well – even if he hasn’t toured well, Mo’s record in England is perfectly respectable – a bowling average of 33 may not be much to write home about, but a bowling strike rate of 52 is really, really good. He seems to do well out of the slightly capricious “will it turn/won’t it” nature of English pitches.

  12. Good to hear it’s not ankylosing spondylitis. His stance does look a bit tense in the picture.

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