ON THE face of it, Yorkshire’s decision to sign leg-spinner Josh Poysden on loan from Warwickshire says little for their existing spinners.
Instead of going down the loan route, Yorkshire could have turned to off-spinner Azeem Rafiq or left-arm spinner Karl Carver for tomorrow’s County Championship match against Lancashire at Old Trafford, for which Poysden has been signed on a one-match deal.
Rafiq has not played much red-ball cricket for the second team, however, while Carver is working on various things.
“We want to go into the game with someone who we’re confident is at a level that will give us the best chance of winning,” said director of cricket Martyn Moxon.
The situation effectively sums up Yorkshire’s spin bowling situation, which was thrown into crisis on the eve of the season.
Adil Rashid, the England leg-spinner, announced that he was giving up red-ball cricket in 2018 to focus solely on the white-ball game, although has since said that he would consider playing in the forthcoming Tests against India.
It left Yorkshire with no option but to make do and mend and, has often been the case this year, to go into four-day matches without a specialist spinner, instead relying on the part-time spin of batsmen such as Adam Lyth and Jack Leaning.
We can bemoan until the cows come home how sad it is that Rashid, one of my favourite players, has been lost to the Yorkshire Championship side.
This is a man who has taken 490 first-class wickets at an average of 35.07, to go with 6,577 runs at 33.21, a man who, in my humble opinion, should have played many more than 10 Tests and who has been badly handled by the England hierarchy.
But Yorkshire must deal with the reality of the situation, which is that they no longer have a spinner on their existing staff whom they are confident about pitching into Championship action just at the moment.
Yorkshire have to look to the future – quite possibly a Rashid-less future – and start trying to find a frontline spinner for Championship cricket. Clearly they rate Poysden.Chris Waters
Rafiq and Carver are fine bowlers, but it is no insult to them to say that they are not quite in the class of Rashid, who is one of the finest spinners in the game today.
As such, I found it interesting – and indeed slightly mystifying – that there was quite a negative reaction to Poysden’s signing.
On Twitter (admittedly a platform awash with negativity), there were comments such as “embarrassing”, “disgraceful”, and so on – as though the posters were commenting on the fall-out of Donald Trump’s Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin.
But Yorkshire have to look to the future – quite possibly a Rashid-less future – and start trying to find a frontline spinner for Championship cricket.
Clearly they rate Poysden, a 26-year-old who is out of contract at the end of the season, and who it is reasonable to speculate has been brought in with one eye on a permanent move.
Let us hope that the arrangement works out, and perhaps it would be best not to mention that the last time Yorkshire brought in a leg-spinner for one match, the celebrated Imran Tahir, he took 0-141 from 37 overs as the club lost by an innings against Sussex at Hove.
But Poysden has the talent to prosper on the Old Trafford pitch, which traditionally offers some help to the spinners, and his opportunities at Warwickshire have been restricted by the presence of the outstanding New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel.