DAVID ‘BUMBLE’ LLOYD was adamant.
“On that performance, Rashid, he’s a must for the Test team, he’s got everything,” said the former England batsman/coach turned Sky Sports summariser.
Lloyd, along with those of us watching at home in England, had just seen Adil Rashid mark his 100th one-day international by taking England’s best figures of 3-51 from 10 overs as they beat South Africa by two wickets to end the series 1-1 and avoid their first ODI series defeat for three years.
It was an excellent performance by the Yorkshire leg-spinner, who has not bowled better to my eyes for some time – although I must confess that Storm Ciara did unhelpfully knock out my television signal at one stage while he was in full flow (hey, knock out someone else’s television signal, you windy old bat).
But in between climbing up the side of the house like Spiderman amid dangerous gusts and driving rain to check that the TV cables were still in place, I caught enough of Rashid’s work to echo ‘Bumble’s’ assertion that the player has indeed got it all and is a must for the Test side.
Whether the powers-that-be concur, however, is a different matter, while Rashid’s own intentions remain decidedly opaque.
Afterwards, he said that he felt he had to earn selection again through county cricket, which was odd as there has been no suggestion that he is prepared to sign a new red-ball deal with Yorkshire to facilitate that aim.
It is expected that Rashid will sign a new contract of some description with the club when he returns from the three-match T20 series in South Africa that starts on Wednesday.
But, considering that he turns 32 next week, and that he is now managing a chronic shoulder problem, the white-ball only path must be even more tempting to him than it was before he initially quit red-ball in 2018 before a brief return to the Test team later that year.
With England set to announce their squad for next month’s two-Test series in Sri Lanka, however, there is little doubt that Rashid is still a top-class operator, one more than good enough to prosper in the five-day arena.
I have often described him as a wasted talent – not out of any disrespect to him, but because of the outstanding figures that he has built up over the years (more than 500 first-class wickets and just under 7,000 first-class runs), numbers which suggest that he could have done so much more at Test level had he been given more opportunities by England and been better managed by them.
Instead, the Bradford-born all-rounder has played just 19 Tests during a 14-year career.
As our American cousins would say, go figure...
Whatever transpires with regards to his red-ball future (and the only certainty in sport is that nothing is certain), Rashid clearly has plenty to offer – dodgy shoulder or not.
Recalled yesterday as England chose to give him and fellow spinner Moeen Ali game-time ahead of the T20 series, which is the tourists’ main priority given the T20 World Cup later this year, Rashid restricted South Africa to 256-7 after Eoin Morgan put them into bat.
He trapped Temba Bavuma lbw with a googly, bowled Quinton de Kock with a leg-break that the South Africa captain tried to heave into the middle of Johannesburg and pinned Andile Phehlukwayo with another googly.
Rashid got plenty of revolutions on the ball and his dismissal of de Kock was the latest example of his ability to remove top players when well-set and change games accordingly, giving England a significant point of attacking difference in this format especially.
With a little more luck/competent officiating, Rashid might have had four wickets, but one ball after pinning Bavuma he was denied another lbw decision against Rassie van der Dussen.
Although Shaun George, the on-field umpire, initially upheld Rashid’s appeal, van der Dussen was recalled and given the option to review after it was belatedly decided that Bavuma’s earlier failed review (sides only have one review to call on) should not count because the Ultra Edge element of the technology had for some reason gone haywire for that delivery.
Consequently, Aleem Dar, the third umpire, felt unable to say categorically that Bavuma had not got an inside-edge, even though there appeared to be clear daylight between bat and pad. When van der Dussen reviewed his decision, the ball was shown to have been missing leg stump and he was able to resume.
Rashid was well supported by Moeen, who took 1-42 from his 10 overs after some good bowling first up from Tom Curran and ODI debutant Saqib Mahmood.
The Lancashire pace bowler trimmed the off bail of Reeza Hendricks during five overs that cost 17 runs in a performance that augured well for the future.
South Africa were lifted to a competitive total by former Yorkshire batsman David Miller, who clubbed four sixes and four fours in an unbeaten 69 from 53 balls.
Miller strikes the ball so hard that he makes the West Indian powerhouse Chris Gayle look like someone who can barely get it off the square; De Kock also made 69 before Rashid sent him packing.
Jonny Bairstow is another batsman for whom no cricket ground has yet been designed that is big enough to contain his murderous strokeplay.
The Yorkshireman thumped three sixes in a savage innings of 43 from 23 balls that got England’s reply off to a flyer, Bairstow adding 61 in seven overs with opening partner Jason Roy.
Joe Root chipped in with a measured 49, and Joe Denly (66) and Tom Banton (32) played nicely as England survived a late wobble to wrap up victory.