Rashid return 'a stab in the chest' for county game

Adil Rashid

England v India, first Test
Venue: Edgbaston Date: 1-5 August Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. In-play clips and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full tour details

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has reiterated his criticism of Adil Rashid’s Test recall, branding it “a stab in the chest” for county cricket.

Rashid, 30, has not played Test cricket since December 2016 and in February signed a contract to only play limited-overs matches for Yorkshire.

The spinner called Vaughan’s original comments “stupid” and added: “His opinions do not matter to anybody.”

On Monday, Vaughan responded: “I don’t think he has prepared well enough.”

Rashid has been named in the 13-man England squad for the first Test with India, which begins at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

Vaughan, a former Yorkshire team-mate of Rashid’s, believes the leg-spinner should have played in the recent Championship match between Lancashire and Yorkshire at Old Trafford, as Test players including Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and James Anderson had done.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live’s Tuffers and Vaughan programme, he added: “If I’m stupid to suggest that he should have played a four-day game leading into a Test series against the number one team in the world – I firmly believe the cricketing world has gone nuts if he thinks he doesn’t have to do that.

“This all could have been put to bed if England had sat him down and said he has to play in that four-day game.

“I cannot be wrong that I’m asking someone to prepare their body, their mind.

“It’s not just me that has criticised him so he can come at me all he wants, but it’s our job to have an opinion and my opinion is that if someone is not playing four-day cricket in our schooling ground to prepare Test match cricketers, I don’t think you should be able to play in a Test match.”

Rashid was England’s leading wicket-taker in the recent one-day series victory against India, taking six wickets at an average of 24, but has not played a first-class match since September 2017.

Vaughan added: “I think this has been a real stab in the chest to county players that are out there busting a gut, playing the formats, getting on those buses up and down the country for someone who has not been bothering to play four-day cricket.”

‘He’s a quality bowler’

Meanwhile, England opener Alastair Cook says he sympathises with Rashid over his controversial selection.

Cook told BBC Sport: “I feel a bit sorry for Adil being caught up in this mess, the off-field political stuff.”

The 33-year-old, who warmed up for the first Test of the five-match series by hitting 180 runs for the England Lions in a win over India A earlier this month, added: “He didn’t ask to be selected – he’s earned his right on merit in a different way, and there’s hullabaloo about it.

“He’s a quality bowler. Is it ideal that he hasn’t played red ball cricket? I don’t think it is ideal.”

Rashid has taken 38 wickets at an average of 42.78 in 10 Tests for England, the most recent of which came in India in December 2016.

England national selector Ed Smith has insisted his selection does not devalue county cricket, called it a “one-off” and said players must play first-class cricket next year to feature for the Test side.

Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon has described it as a “crazy situation” – with Rashid unavailable for the club’s forthcoming T20 Blast matches – and said the county will hold talks with the player’s agent about his future.

Speaking on the day of his selection, Rashid said: “It was not an easy decision, but when your country wants you and asks if you are available, you cannot just say no.”

Cook one of England’s best ever

Cook has also spoken of his delight at being named in the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) best ever men’s Test XI.

The team was compiled in commemoration of England’s 1,000th Test, which takes place at Edgbaston this week, and their record run-scorer was named as one of the openers after an online survey completed by 6,108 supporters.

Captain Root and record wicket-taker Anderson were the other current players to be included.

“I’ve got to thank my dad for voting as many times as he did,” Cook joked. “They are the great names of English cricket to to be named up there, I’m quite rightly proud.”

ECB best-ever men’s Test XI: Alastair Cook, Sir Leonard Hutton, David Gower, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Sir Ian Botham, Alan Knott (wkt), Graeme Swann, Fred Trueman, James Anderson, Bob Willis.

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