Adil Rashid has appeared to rule himself out of England’s Test tour to Sri Lanka, suggesting that it would be “a bit unfair” to declare himself available for selection without earning his place in county cricket.
Rashid was a key member of England’s side that won 3-0 on their last trip to Sri Lanka, taking 12 wickets at 28.16 as part of a spin trio with Jack Leach and Moeen Ali, but, following Sunday’s ODI in Johannesburg, told Sky Sports that he would “probably not” consider declaring himself available for their upcoming tour if asked.
“That’s a long way off,” Rashid said. “At this moment in time, I’m concentrating on playing for England in T20 cricket coming up in a couple of days.
“I don’t think I would [make myself available] at this moment in time. For me to get into Test cricket, I’ve got to earn that right and deserve my place. For me to get Test cricket, I’ve got to go back into county cricket, perform, do well, and then get selected.
“It’s a bit unfair for me to just say ‘yeah, I’m available’. At this moment in time, I’m really concentrating on white-ball cricket. Maybe in the future [I’ll return to Test cricket].”
It is over a year since Rashid’s last first-class appearance, which came in England’s 381-run defeat against West Indies in Barbados, and he is yet to sign a new contract with Yorkshire ahead of next season.
His comments seem to jar with the circumstances surrounding his recall to the Test side in 2018, when he was recalled despite not having played a County Championship game since the end of the previous summer.
But he has had to manage a persistent shoulder problem since the start of last summer: he had to take pain-killing injections to get through the World Cup, and missed the rest of the 2019 season following the final of that tournament in July.
It now appears highly unlikely that Rashid will be named in England’s squad for their tour of Sri Lanka, which is expected to be named on Monday morning. Jack Leach is expected to be fit enough to travel alongside Somerset team-mate Dom Bess, while reports suggest that Moeen’s self-imposed absence from Test cricket is set to continue, meaning Liam Dawson is likely to be included as the third spinner.
Rashid took 3 for 52 in Johannesburg on Sunday, including the crucial wickets of Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma, and was named player of the match for his efforts. He bowled at a quicker pace during his ten overs than he had in November’s T20I series in New Zealand, and revealed afterwards that his speed through the air was the result of hard work pushing himself to get back towards full fitness.
“It’s nice to get back in this circle,” he said. “I love playing white-ball cricket, especially with England, so it’s nice to get out there and bowl some overs.
“Once you have that shoulder injury, that niggle, then you feel it, especially as a legspinner – you might struggle to get that extra zip, extra pace. It’s [been] frustrating, but you’ve got to make do with it, you’ve got to find a way.
“[Speed] is something I’ve been working on, especially with the shoulder, trying to get stronger and better. I’ve been trying to bowl a bit quicker, bit more in the run-up, in the action, trying to get more fizz. My mindset is pretty simple: go in the nets, work hard in the nets, try my best in the nets, and then try to deliver.”