28th November 2020

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Adil Rashid England 2020-21 – ‘There are pros and cons of playing Tests again and biggest issue is my shoulder’

Adil Rashid has said that any potential return to England’s Test set-up will depend on whether his shoulder “can handle the stress of red-ball cricket”. Rashid held talks with England head coach, Chris Silverwood, at the end of the summer and could be in contention for selection if and when possible Test tours to Sri Lanka and India are confirmed for early 2021.

Rashid has not played a Test since the 2018-19 tour of West Indies, and had surgery on his right shoulder after struggling with injury through England’s successful World Cup campaign. He has since returned to form, taking 22 wickets in 16 limited-overs appearances this year, but warned that thoughts of a Test comeback would have to be weighed against the impact it could have on his role in the ODI and T20I sides.

“At the end of this season Chris Silverwood and I had an informal chat about my future plans, how I was feeling about my game and about my availability for playing Test cricket,” Rashid told the i website.

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“I was very honest and said that there are pros and cons about playing Test cricket again and the biggest issue is my shoulder injury which has been ongoing for over 12 months. I have to be cautious and only I know what I had to go through to get my shoulder right. By not playing Test cricket it has meant that I’ve got the shoulder in good shape again in the last six or seven months.

“The big question is whether my shoulder can handle the stress of red-ball cricket again and there is the potential knock-on effect on my bowling in the shorter formats to consider as well. It’s something I need to think about, and it will be a decision that I have to ensure I won’t regret.”

England’s national selector, Ed Smith, has previously suggested Rashid could be picked for Tests despite currently only holding a white-ball contract with Yorkshire. Earlier this year, Rashid described himself a “100% focused” on limited-overs cricket, but added he could reassess come the end of the season.

Rashid played an important role as part of a three-spinner attack when England won 3-0 in Sri Lanka two years ago, and his experience may prove valuable if the winter tours to Asia go ahead. But he said that he would reflect positively on his Test career even if he does not add to his collection of caps.

“Playing 19 Test matches doesn’t disappoint me one bit,” he said. “When I think back, I cherish the memory of having played those matches when many others never get the chance to even play one Test. I am not one of those cricketers who looks back and wonders if I should have played more Tests as there’s no point in over analysing your career or looking at things in a negative light. I’m thankful for the opportunity of having played Test matches and while others may disagree, I feel that it’s quite an achievement.”

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Rashid has yet to commit to a new deal with Yorkshire but indicated he wished to see out his playing days at the county. However, in the wake of recent allegations of racism at the club made by Azeem Rafiq, he suggested lessons still needed to be learned about integrating better with Yorkshire’s Asian communities.

“Whatever has been going on with Azeem Rafiq is not nice to hear,” he said. “You don’t want this to happen in any sport, and there really is no place for such things to go on. But I’m hoping that the situation can be resolved in a professional way and that Azeem and Yorkshire can come to an agreement and sort things out as it’s important for everyone to learn from this and move forward.

“I have always felt that if you are good enough you will get the chance, whatever race or religion you are. However, I do look at the leagues in Yorkshire and wonder why more Asian lads are not coming through. They have the aspirations and dreams to play county cricket and need to make the most of the opportunity which I feel is there for all.

“It would please me no end to see more home-grown Asian boys from Leeds or Bradford making it at Yorkshire and I’d be really happy to see in future a Yorkshire team made up of several Asian lads in the starting XI. Seeing more Asians making it at Yorkshire would really tighten the bond between the club and the Asian community in the region.”


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