England leg-spinner Adil Rashid has decided not to play in first-class cricket this season and will represent Yorkshire in limited-overs formats only.
The White Rose are working to facilitate Rashid’s request and it is understood a new deal is being renegotiated for the 29-year-old, who will only play in the Royal London One-Day Cup and the NatWest T20 Blast for his county.
Rashid is a regular in England’s one-day and Twenty20 teams and hopes the decision to focus on white-ball cricket this year will give his career a boost.
He said: “It’s for this season coming and to see how it goes. At this moment in time in my career, I just feel that white-ball cricket is where I am best, enjoying it most and where I feel I can develop and offer a lot more.
“That was my main thought process. It’s not me saying I’m finished from red ball, it’s just me saying that this summer I’m going to concentrate on white ball and see where that takes me.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make but it’s something I felt I had to do.”
It wasn’t an easy decision to make but it’s something I felt I had to do.Adil Rashid
Rashid has taken 38 wickets at an average of 42.78 in his 10 Tests but his last appearance was more than a year ago and he was overlooked in favour of 20-year-old leg-spinner Mason Crane in the Ashes.
He added: “If I was to go back to playing red ball early in the season, a bit inside me would have said ‘I’m just playing because I have to’ but I had to make that decision and say ‘no, I can’t just go through the motions’.
“If I do just go through the motions, firstly I’d be letting the team down and I’d also be letting myself down because I wouldn’t be giving 100 per cent.”
Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon admitted his disappointment with Rashid’s stance as he becomes the first England player to officially forgo, at least temporarily, first-class cricket.
Moxon said: “It’s obviously Adil’s decision. He contacted me recently and explained that he wanted to focus solely on white-ball cricket and concentrate on becoming the best white-ball cricketer he could possibly be.
“From my point of view it’s disappointing because I think Adil has got the ability to play in all three formats of the game, not only at county level, but also at international level. It is Adil’s decision and we have to respect that.”