Adil Rashid had no choice but to negotiate a white-ball only contract with Yorkshire because his heart is not currently in red-ball cricket.
Rashid caused a stir when he and Yorkshire jointly announced last week that he will play no first-class cricket for them this summer, and instead concentrate solely on white-ball fixtures for both club and country.
The England leg-spinner’s decision came just days before his 30th birthday during the Twenty20 Tri-series against New Zealand and Australia.
As he prepared for this weekend’s opening one-day international against the Kiwis in Hamilton, he explained his reasons.
“Last year playing red-ball cricket for Yorkshire, my thought was that if I wasn’t giving 100 per cent then I would be letting the team down and also myself down.
“My mind’s not there – my heart’s not there. I’m letting the team down but also myself down.
My mind’s not there – my heart’s not there. I’m letting the team down but also myself down.Adil Rashid
“I had to get it off my chest and let Yorkshire know.”
It was perhaps not the easiest conversation for Rashid to inform his county’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon of his decision – but he has no doubts he has done the right thing.
“It’s very much my decision,” he added.
“It’s something that I’ve thought about and felt I had to do, and has been inside me for a little while.
“Martyn is very good.
“We had a chat, and he was disappointed that I made this decision, but he also respects it.
“He’s happy that I told him now rather than maybe a week before the season – that would have been a tough situation for him. He took it well and is happy that I told him.”
Rashid is confident he will not regret his move, reassured by the knowledge he can reverse it if necessary in years to come – perhaps after England’s 2019 home World Cup campaign.
“It’s not a permanent thing,” he said.
“It’s for this season, to see how it goes, how it unfolds and what happens ... to see what my mind says and what my heart feels.
“If it changes I could be going back to red-ball cricket next season.
“That’s a long way away, and a lot can change. At this moment in time I’m very content with what I’m doing.”
Rashid has played in 10 Tests – to go with his 87 limited-overs caps – but never on home soil, and was overlooked for England’s Ashes campaign this winter in favour of the much younger Mason Crane.
The switch means his future depends on continued success in the shorter formats, beginning against New Zealand tomorrow (1am).
“This was a choice that I had to make, so by doing that I can be fully committed to white-ball cricket,” he said.
“I’m not thinking of what-ifs. I’m happy with the decision I have made – whether it’s a good one or a not so good one, I’m fully committed to it.
“The enjoyment, the spark, the buzz ... all that came into it.
“I couldn’t go through another season doing this – it could affect my performance, my bowling and that could easily rub off into other competitions and white-ball stuff.
“This decision is a very good one.”
New Zealand have called up Ish Sodhi as extra spin-bowling cover in a 14-man squad for their first two one-day internationals against England.
Leg-spinner Sodhi was a lynchpin part of the Kiwis’ Twenty20 Tri-Series team which lost in Wednesday’s final against Australia in Auckland on Wednesday.
He played the last of his 18 ODIs to date against Ireland nine months ago but returns because of recent injury concerns for fellow leg-spinner Todd Astle and slow left-armer Mitchell Santner - both of whom are also in the squad.
In-form New Zealand beat Pakistan 5-0 in their ODI series last month, and West Indies 3-0 just before Christmas. They will bid to continue the winning streak when they open their campaign with the first of five matches against Eoin Morgan’s England in Hamilton tomorrow.