England snub plea for Rashid return to Yorkshire

WOULD Yorkshire have won this match had Adil Rashid been playing?

Nottinghamshire's Chris Read plays at a delivery as Yorkshire's Andrew Hodd prepares to take.

The question is hypothetical.

What is categorical is that the leg-spinner will not be playing in the next one either after England yesterday refused Yorkshire’s request for his early release from the tour to the West Indies.

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Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, spoke to national selector James Whitaker and also to Peter Moores, the England head coach, after Rashid was left out of the second Test in Grenada having also been omitted from the first match in Antigua.

Yorkshire wanted Rashid back for the County Championship game against Warwickshire at Headingley, starting on Sunday, which clashes with the build-up to the third and final Test beginning in Barbados on May 1.

The club’s argument – that Rashid would be better off playing county cricket than carrying the drinks – fell on deaf ears.

The 27-year-old is one of four Yorkshire players along with Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett and Jonny Bairstow languishing on the sidelines in the Caribbean, where Joe Root and Gary Ballance are flying the White Rose flag in the Test team.

After Yorkshire were held to a draw against Nottinghamshire yesterday, with the hosts closing on 354-7 in their second innings, a lead of 341, Moxon admitted his disappointment at England’s decision.

“We are disappointed,” he said. “We were quite within our rights to ask for Adil to be released.

“However, England said they want to keep their options open with regards to selection for the final Test match, so there’s not a lot we can do. But it seems unlikely he’s going to play in Barbados.”

There will be sympathy for Yorkshire, who contributed six players to the initial 16-man Test squad swelled by the late arrival of spinner Moeen Ali.

Moxon is concerned that the four Yorkshire drinks waiters will need time to adjust when they finally return to competitive action, with Rashid, in particular, the type who benefits from regular cricket.

“Last time Adil went to the West Indies, he didn’t play a game and he bowled a load in the nets, and the problem is, when you do come back (to England), you haven’t got match overs under your belt,” said Moxon.

“It could take him a little bit of time to adapt, and the other lads too, who’ve got to then find form when they return to this country.

“Ironically, when the third Test finishes, we miss the next round of four-day fixtures, so it’s going to be well into May before Adil plays a first-class game.

“It’s not ideal, the timing of this tour, and the fact we’ve got four players out there not playing makes it difficult for us and frustrating, quite frankly.”

Under the circumstances, with seven players unavailable including the injured Ryan Sidebottom, Yorkshire have made a splendid start to the season.

Victory at newly-promoted Worcestershire last week was perhaps to be expected, but this had all the makings of a particularly tough fixture. After a poor start to the match, when they conceded 393-7 after winning the toss, Yorkshire hit back in the manner of champions.

As first team coach Jason Gillespie said afterwards, Yorkshire were the only side with a realistic hope of winning the game going into the last day, an ambition thwarted by obdurate batting and an increasingly benign pitch.

How Yorkshire could have done with a player like Rashid.

Without their leading spinner, it was hard work for the seamers on the featherbed surface and for batsman Jack Leaning, the part-time off-spinner.

But Yorkshire gave it a good go after Nottinghamshire resumed on 74-3, a lead of 61, and still had hopes of victory deep into the afternoon session. However, they were unable to bowl out their opponents to set up a run-chase as Chris Read (83 not out) and Samit Patel (76) led a fighting rearguard.

Yorkshire took two wickets in the morning (Steve Patterson luring Will Gidman into an edge behind and James Taylor pulling Will Rhodes to backward square-leg) and two in the afternoon (Rhodes having Patel caught behind and Leaning capturing his maiden Championship wicket when he had Riki Wessels caught behind). But Yorkshire were unable to strike with the second new ball just before tea as Read and Vernon Philander added an unbroken 109 in 26 overs before hands were shaken.

“I was pretty happy with the draw,” said Moxon. “The lads worked really hard, and we did as much as we could given the conditions.

“Ultimately, Notts have a strong batting line-up and they were able to see out the day.

“Overall, after a disappointing first day from our point of view, the next three days showed what we’re about, our fighting spirit and our skills.”