Adil Rashid has hit back at criticism from his county Yorkshire and former England captain Michael Vaughan over his selection for the first Test against India at Edgbaston next week, calling Vaughan’s comments “stupid”.
Rashid was selected in the squad despite making himself unavailable for domestic red-ball cricket this season. The decision by Ed Smith has angered many who think the county system has been devalued by Rashid’s selection above Somerset pair Jack Leach and Dom Bess, who have both been playing Championship cricket.
At hearing the news, Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur said: “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.”
Vaughan also weighed in on Twitter, calling the decision “ridiculous”, and in his column for The Telegraph, where he wrote that Rashid’s selection sent out the message that “our county game, the finishing school for our cricketers, does not matter anymore and that it is irrelevant”.
Rashid, who has taken 38 wickets in ten Tests at an average of 42.78, says he is not bothered by the criticism directed at him by Vaughan. “He can say a lot and he thinks people might listen, but I don’t think they do,” Rashid told BBC Sport. “His opinions do not matter to anybody.
“When I mentioned at the start of the year I will not be playing red-ball cricket, he tweeted something then. He was being controversial and saying his stupid things then too. A lot of people have got no interest in what he says. It is about getting people to like what he says.
“I don’t think he has an agenda against me. I played under and with him but sometimes ex-players come out and start talking nonsense about current players. If he wants to carry on talking just because he is bored with nothing better to say, then that is his choice. There will be people out there who are not happy. There will be haters, like the pundits who are saying it is a disgrace. That is not my fault.”
When Rashid made the decision to concentrate on white-ball cricket this season, he made clear that it did not mean he had given up on the red-ball game for good. At the time of his decision, a Test call-up looked a long way away with Mason Crane, Liam Dawson and Jack Leach all preferred as spinners since Rashid’s last Test, in India in 2016. Rashid’s desire to focus on next year’s World Cup was a factor too.
However, Smith has cited exceptional circumstances for the selection of the 30 year-old for the first Test against India. In the selectors’ view, neither Leach, who is returning from injury, and Bess, who wasn’t selected for Somerset’s last Championship fixture, have had enough bowling and with Crane injured, slow bowling options were limited.
Whatever the rationale, the decision has not gone down well with Yorkshire and Rashid is likely to move on at the end of the season once his current contract expires, with a move to Worcestershire, to form a partnership with fellow England spinner and his great friend Moeen Ali, on the cards.
“They might be disappointed for various reasons, but it would have been nice if the chief executive or head coach could have said, ‘well done, congratulations on being selected, good on you’ – as opposed to being angry and upset for not playing red-ball cricket for them, even though I told them I would not be doing so,” Rashid added.
“I did not do anything wrong in that sense. There is no reason for Yorkshire to react like this. It was not something I expected or wanted. It would have been nice to have got the support from your county or the people close to you, but if they do not want to give their support, that is their problem.
“I don’t need anybody’s support in that situation. I know what I want to do and achieve. If I give 100% and it goes well, it goes well. If it doesn’t then I will still be happy. If they treat me like they have done, don’t see any value in me and are disrespectful to me, I have to think about the future in terms of which county I play for.”
It is the second time this season that an England player has come out and publicly criticised Vaughan. During the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley, Stuart Broad, who before the match Vaughan had called to be dropped, said: “I don’t think he’s got much insight into the England changing room. I don’t think the players talk to him about cricket or what’s going on in the changing room. It’s personal columns, it’s radio shows which need likes and airtime. It did anger me a little bit as I thought it was unfair and a bit targeted.”
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