Adil Rashid has been named in England's 13-man squad for the first Test against India despite signing on as a white-ball player only with his county side Yorkshire. Rashid, who last featured in Tests for England in 2016, against India in Chennai, has played 10 Tests for his 38 wickets.
Speaking on the selection, chief selector Ed Smith clarified that if Rashid had to be picked for the 2019 season, he'd have to have a county contract.
"Adil Rashid also returns to the England Test squad. Before the selection meeting, Adil had confirmed his availability to play Test cricket for England for whole of this summer and the upcoming winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies. Following his earlier decision in February 2018, Adil has a white-ball only contract to play for Yorkshire this summer. 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.
"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," said Smith.
Rashid's selection has been met with disdain from several at Yorkshire. Earlier this year, Rashid signed a white-ball only contract with the county for the 2018 season and is likely to leave at the end of the season when his deal expires. It was mooted that he might play in Yorkshire's recently completed four-day match against Lancashire, but Rashid stuck to his decision not to play red ball cricket for the county.
Yorkshire's club's chief executive, Mark Arthur, said the following in a statement released on the Yorkshire website: "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."
Meanwhile Rashid clarified to Sky Sports that he made the decision after having a chat with Smith. "It was definitely a tough decision - and yes, obviously, I was kind of surprised. 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," he said.
Also making a comeback into the Test squad as a spin-bowling all-rounder is Moeen Ali while pacer Jamie Porter earned his maiden call-up to the Test squad. Sam Curran keeps his spot in the squad with the selection panel not keen on rushing back Chris Woakes, who has recovered from a thigh and knee injury.
Moeen last played a Test when England went on a tour to New Zealand while Rashid featured even before, on the tour to India. The spin attack that featured in their last Test series against Pakistan included Dom Bess and Jack Leach but the selection panel felt that both will need more bowling time before being picked.
"Jack Leach has had an exceptional run of bad luck which now leaves him short of bowling at the start of the series against India. Having broken his thumb before the first Test against Pakistan, Jack then suffered concussion on his return to county cricket. As a result, Jack has bowled only 37 overs in county or Lions cricket since first being injured. The selection panel felt it was too early for Jack to play in a Test match. Though he is not included in the XIII, Jack will join the team throughout preparations for the Test.
"The same applies to Dom Bess. Dom made an outstanding all-round contribution in his debut series against Pakistan and impressed everyone with his character and competitiveness. For different reasons, unfortunately Dom has also found opportunities scarce in championship cricket. Though not included in the XIII, he will also practice fully with the squad before the Test," said Smith.
The first Test is slated to be played on August 1 at Edgbaston.