ADIL RASHID is preparing to perform a dramatic U-turn over his decision to quit red-ball cricket.
The Yorkshire leg-spinner said last night that he would consider playing for England in their forthcoming Test series with India.
Rashid quit red-ball in February and turned down a recent request by Yorkshire to return to their County Championship side.
But the 30-year-old, who has yet to sign a new white-ball contract offered by the club for 2019, prompting speculation that he could leave, is willing to play red-ball for England again, who are understood to want him back for the Tests that begin on August 1 after he starred in the one-day series victory against India, a highlight of which was his ‘Ball of the Century’ dismissal of Virat Kohli at Emerald Headingley on Tuesday.
Rashid, who returns to the Yorkshire T20 side for tonight’s Roses match against Lancashire at Old Trafford, made the last of his 10 Test appearances in December 2016.
In his diary for Sky Sports Cricket he announced: “Right now I’m focusing on white-ball cricket for Yorkshire, but if England do want me to be part of the squad for the Test series against India then I’ll consider it.
We’ve offered Adil a deal to play white-ball only cricket for 2019. As yet, we’ve not had a definitive answer on that. Whether he signs it, I honestly don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.Martyn Moxon.
“I made the decision earlier this year to focus on playing white-ball cricket to see how it felt, but always knew that if I found I was missing red-ball cricket then I would go back to it. So if the selectors come and show faith in me then I would consider it, whatever role they want me to do.
“It would certainly be nice to bowl to Virat Kohli again! I’ve got on with him well since we first played against each other at Under-19 level.”
Rashid’s words are unlikely to go down well at Yorkshire, who were forced into the loan market to sign Warwickshire leg-spinner Josh Poysden for next week’s Championship game at Old Trafford after Rashid maintained his white-ball stance.
There are rumours that Rashid wants to join his England team-mate and close friend Moeen Ali at Worcestershire, with relations between Rashid and Yorkshire having long been strained.
Commenting on the contract offer that remains on the table, Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, said: “We’ve offered Adil a deal to play white-ball only cricket for 2019.
“As yet we’ve not had a definitive answer on that. Whether he signs it, I honestly don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Rashid is set to be joined in the Yorkshire side tonight by England team-mates Joe Root, Liam Plunkett and David Willey, plus New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Plunkett and Willey are now available for the rest of the tournament, with Plunkett – another whose relationship with the club has soured – rumoured to be on his way to Surrey at the end of the season.
Tim Bresnan is another high-profile player whose contract is up although Yorkshire are hopeful of keeping him on board. It is a time of minor upheaval playing-wise, but Yorkshire are adamant that they will not be left short of top personnel.
“There is (contract) activity going on with regards to our own players, but we’re also looking to try and strengthen the squad as well,” said Moxon. “It’s all combined really and like a jigsaw at the moment.
“There’s lots of pieces of the jigsaw on the table, and we’re just starting to look to piece them together. Over the next couple of weeks or so we’ll start getting that jigsaw hopefully put together a little bit more.”
On the field one part of the jigsaw that Yorkshire have never quite pieced together is success in T20, but there is every reason to suppose that this year could be different.
Even without their England players Yorkshire have won three of their first four games with only an eight-wicket defeat at Birmingham Bears interrupting their progress.
“We’re really pleased with the way we’ve started the tournament,” said Moxon as Yorkshire prepare to face a Lancashire team who top the North Group after four wins from five.
“Obviously it was a disappointing game at Edgbaston, but other than that we’re really pleased with how it’s gone. We’ve given ourselves a chance of qualification and hopefully we can achieve that now.
“With the England lads coming back as well as our own lads playing so well it gives us a lot of confidence and belief going into the last 10 group games.”
A 23,500 sell-out is expected tonight (6.30pm start) with England’s Jos Buttler available for the hosts. Among those relishing the fixture is Root, who said: “We’ve won three of our first four games, and when you’re in a T20 tournament that momentum can be quite crucial, so it’s really important that we carry that forward.”
Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bresnan, Brook, Lyth, Patterson (captain), Plunkett, Rafiq, Rashid, Root, Tattersall, Thompson, Williamson, Willey.