Ian Botham keeps Durham door open for Adil Rashid


Ian Botham, the Durham chairman, has said the county club will make an offer to leg-spinner Adil Rashid to get him on board for the 2019 season.

This comes after Rashid came out in open to say “I have to think about the future in terms of which county I play for,” after his current club, Yorkshire, expressed their disappointment at his inclusion in the England squad for the first Test against India despite opting out of red-ball cricket with them.

Although Rashid’s selection came in unusual circumstances, England chief selector made it clear that he needs to have a county contract if he has to be considered for Test selection from the 2019 season onwards. With him not being in great terms with Yorkshire, it is very evident that Rashid is likely to switch base.

“We will definitely talk to him,” Ian Botham said. “It is very competitive out there and everyone wants to get out of the second division. We won’t do it this year but we’ll do it next year with the way we are going and the way we are restructuring. We need to make it a side that people like Adil Rashid will look at and say ‘it is only up the road and I can see where they are going and I would happily go there’.

“It is very hard to have much sympathy for Yorkshire. I have lost players – we have lost five key players at Durham – that have been poached around the north. I say poached and I stick by it.

“I have seen some pretty ridiculous stuff written over the last couple of days and I am very much on Adil’s side,” the former England cricketer added.

There has been quite a bit of talk around Rashid’s surprising selection in the national side with a few questioning Smith’s move. However, Botham appreciated the recall and opined lack of enough red-ball exposure before the India series is not going to affect Rashid, considering his current bowling form.

“He’s the best spinner in England at the moment. He’s possibly the best one-day bowler in the world – he’s certainly right up there – so why shouldn’t he play? His Test record isn’t bad,” the 62-year-old expressed.

“It won’t make any difference to him that it’s a red ball instead of a white one. He’s not a swing bowler. He will get the ball to dip and spin because of the purchase he gets on it. The bigger seam on the Duke’s ball might be better for him.

“There’s a strong case for England to play two spinners at Edgbaston because of the way it turns. It wouldn’t surprise me if India play three spinners. I hope he does really well. I like the kid. His bowling has come on leaps and bounds so I wish him all the very, very best.”

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