Adil Rashid insists he still wants to play Test cricket despite new white-ball deal at Yorkshire

ADIL RASHID insists that he still wants to play Test cricket again despite signing a new white-ball only contract with Yorkshire that rules him out of doing so next summer.

Adil Rashid.

Rashid has agreed a deal for the coming season in which he will play for the club in the T20 Blast.

The leg-spinner wants to focus on white-ball cricket in the run-up to the T20 World Cup in Australia in October/November and to manage his workload after a shoulder injury.

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The move rules him out of playing County Championship cricket for Yorkshire in 2020 (he has not done so in any case since 2017) and, by definition, Test cricket for England, who play six Tests next summer against West Indies/Pakistan.

National selector Ed Smith said that Rashid must have a red-ball contract with Yorkshire going forward to remain in consideration for Test cricket after controversially recalling him to the Test team in August 2018 – six months after the player quit Championship/Test cricket and had no such contract in place.

Rashid felt obliged to honour his England call-up that time but had no desire to play Championship cricket again for Yorkshire, a position that is unlikely to have changed.

Nonetheless, a one-year multi-format deal was put in place at Emerald Headingley in September 2018 only for Rashid to then lose his Test place four months later.

He played only three times for Yorkshire last year – all in the Royal London One-Day Cup, with the 50-over World Cup/England commitments clashing with Championship cricket in any event – and he withdrew from the club’s T20 Blast campaign due to his shoulder injury after helping England to win the global competition.

There have been suggestions that Rashid, who turned 32 yesterday, might have been needed for next month’s two-Test series on the spinning pitches in Sri Lanka, hence the delay in clarification regarding his county situation.

But Rashid ruled himself out of that tour earlier this month, saying that Test selection was something he felt he had to “earn again” at county level – albeit at what clearly remains an unspecified time.

“Although I won’t be playing red-ball cricket this summer, I still have ambitions of playing Test cricket in the future,” said Rashid, who has taken 60 wickets in his 19 Tests.

“I have decided to concentrate on white-ball cricket this summer in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup. This is due to an ongoing shoulder injury, so it is important for me to manage my workload to give me the best chance of remaining fit.

“I am thrilled to sign this contract with my home club and look forward to this season’s T20 campaign.”

It is possibly surprising, given the whole history of this saga, Rashid’s age and his shoulder issues, that he has not now retired from red-ball cricket.

Perhaps the player and England want to keep all options open, and Yorkshire are happy with Rashid’s decision.

“We fully understand Adil’s position and are happy that he will be available for Yorkshire in the Vitality Blast this coming season,” said director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

“Adil is a world-class performer and will obviously add great value to our T20 team.”

Rashid’s value in the T20 format was evidenced on the tour to South Africa that finished on Sunday. He bowled as well as ever to help England to a 2-1 win that served as useful build-up as they bid to hold the 50-over and 20-over World Cups simultaneously.

Rashid will also play white-ball cricket next summer in The Hundred, which clashes with the county One-Day Cup.

He is one of the ‘local icon’ players for the Headingley-based franchise Northern Superchargers.