YORKSHIRE boss Martyn Moxon said that the club’s plans have been thrown into chaos once more following England’s controversial decision to call up their leg-spinner Adil Rashid for the India Test series.
Rashid has been named in a 13-man squad for the first Test against India at Edgbaston next Wednesday despite giving up red-ball cricket in February and signing only a white-ball contract with Yorkshire this season.
Yorkshire had expected to have Rashid available for the rest of their Vitality Blast campaign as they try to win the domestic T20 tournament for the first time.
But his shock call-up on the back of his England white-ball form has changed all that and represents the latest in a string of setbacks for Moxon and his coaching staff, which have included this year the late Indian Premier League call-ups of David Willey and Liam Plunkett and the aborted signing of T20 pace bowler Billy Stanlake by Cricket Australia.
“We’re very disappointed with this situation,” said Moxon, who said that Rashid would be available for tonight’s T20 game against Birmingham Bears at Emerald Headingley and tomorrow’s fixture against Derbyshire at Chesterfield before linking up with the national team.
“We planned on having Adil available for the remainder of the T20 competition; he’s a big player for us in that format and now that’s been thrown into chaos as it were.
“It’s another example of our plans being thrown into disarray given that up until last weekend Adil wasn’t wanting to play red-ball cricket at all.
“With regards to the future we have previously made a contract offer to Adil for white-ball only next year and that situation is still ongoing.”
In announcing the squad for next week’s Test, Ed Smith, the national selector, confirmed that Rashid’s Yorkshire situation remains unchanged for this season, but said that he must have a red-ball county contract to be considered for next year’s Tests.
He added that Rashid is available for the entirety of the five-match India series and for the winter tours to Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
“Following his earlier decision in February Adil has a white-ball only contract to play for Yorkshire this summer,” said Smith. “That arrangement is unchanged by his selection for England.
“However, Adil fully understands that if he wishes to be eligible for Test cricket in the 2019 season he must have a county contract to play four-day cricket.
“Moving forward England Test players must be committed to the County Championship.”
Smith added: “Clearly the one-off circumstances around Adil’s return to the Test squad are unusual. However, the selection panel was unanimous in believing that Adil should be selected in England’s squad.”
For his part, Rashid, 30, said that he had not expected England to come knocking and that he had to think hard before accepting their offer.
“It was definitely a tough decision and, yes, obviously, I was kind of surprised,” he said.
“To get back in the Test side, usually people have got to go back to their counties and perform to be considered.
“But me and Ed Smith and a few others had a chat and they were thinking, if I can be available, we’ll be happy for me to be in the squad. That’s something I had to think about and I made that decision to be available.”
Following the squad announcement, which saw Rashid preferred to the Somerset spinners Jack Leach and Dominic Bess, with the latter ironically overlooked with Smith citing that Bess had “found opportunities scarce in Championship cricket”, Mark Arthur, the Yorkshire chief executive, laid bare the club’s feelings on the matter.
In a terse statement Arthur commented: “We’re very surprised that England have called Adil up after not playing red-ball cricket this season.
“Neither has he expressed a desire to do so.
“I hope that England know what they’re doing to Adil, and the county game.”
There will be concern, both in the Broad Acres and beyond, that county cricket is by definition devalued if a player who refuses to play in the Championship is chosen for the Test side.
Rashid is understood to have no desire whatsoever to play Championship cricket, having recently turned down a request by Yorkshire to change his mind, with Smith’s insistence that the player must have a red-ball contract next year a transparent attempt to avoid setting a precedent whereby other players could take what might be considered a soft route into the Test team.
In addition to Rashid’s inclusion for the first time in Test cricket since the final Test against India at Chennai in 2016, the England squad for Edgbaston includes a first call-up for Essex seamer Jamie Porter and a recall for spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali.
Pace bowler Chris Woakes is deemed not quite ready after recent thigh and knee injuries.
n England squad: Ali, Anderson, Bairstow, Broad, Buttler, Cook, Curran S, Jennings, Malan, Porter, Rashid, Root (captain), Stokes.