The selection of Adil Rashid has clearly signalled what modern day administrators think. In spite of showing that they give first-class cricket priority, the recent trends have clearly emphasized that domestic cricket has taken a plunge in their priority list
It was hard to be in shoes of Yorkshire cricket director Martyn Moxon.
Moxon was disappointed as his county will not be having services of their premier spinner Adil Rashid for limited over tournaments. Following the trends all over the world in recent times, Rashid had turned his back from the longer version of the game after clarifying he won’t be available for Yorkshire for the longer format of the game. Hence clarifying he was no more interested to play Test cricket for England. However when England squad was announced for the first test , on Thursday , to the surprise of everyone Rashid was called up as the premier spinner,overlooking both Jack Leach and Dom Bess.
Rashid’s decision of not opting to play Test cricket is his own, if he doesn’t feel the same kind buzz for red ball cricket like limited over games, then it’s better to walk out.
His decision of only playing white ball cricket for Yorkshire is something which must be respected.
In fact, everyone took it sportingly as Rashid was performing well in limited over games and England got Jack Leach and Dominic Bess during this time. Things, however, become a bit complex when Rashid bowled a ripping leg break at The Headingly to bamboozle Virat Kohli, a picture that comes once in a decade for English fans.
This led to the talk that Rashid was in exceptional form and should get a crack at Indians in test matches. The support from Captain Joe Root and team management meant that Ed Smith led selection team would go on to select Rashid for the India series.
Adil Rashid has played 73 ODIs has taken 113 wickets at 30.80 along with 32 T-20I picking up 28 wickets at 28.82. His record in Tests though has been less impressive. He has taken 38 wickets in 10 tests at 42.78. In spite of limited test match success, there is no argument that he is one of the better spinners available in England. However, here his ability or record is not in discussion.
In fact, the manner in which he has been selected has divided an entire English cricket fraternity.
The question which has been raised by the critics here is that wouldn’t selecting a player whose heart is not there to play longer format for his county undermine the value of domestic championship? Wouldn’t the selection of Rashid set a dangerous precedent for the future, where the players start thinking that they can be selected without playing county championship?
The selection panel headed by Ed Smith feels that the limited over forms can be justified to the select longer version of cricket but it doesn’t goes vice versa. Will the panel show the same guts to select James Anderson or Stuart Broad or Jack Leach or Alistair Cook? If they show excellent form in test cricket. Mind it these cricketers are fit to play and haven’t retired yet from shorter format. The answer probably will be no, the way England Cricket Board (ECB) has shown interest in 100 ball game and then to start a T-10 tournament clearly shows where the game is heading in the traditional home of cricket. The limited over games are given priority, players who are ignoring test cricket and have a penchant of opting for leagues and limited over format are given priority in test match selection.
While Ed Smith might brush it off as one such occasion. However, the selection of Joss Butler earlier in the summer clearly indicates a dangerous pattern that he and his team are setting.
This has also left counties frustrated and disappointed.
Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur told the county’s website: “We’re very surprised that England has 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” While Martyn Moxon , was left frustrated “”County clubs generally now are feeling a little bit like doormats”
The decision have come at a time when County cricket are fighting for their survival, the game in England is about to change by 2020. At such time they need support from the national board for laying down policies where they can protect their interest especially in an era of T-20 franchise cricket which are growing like a mushroom. Instead, they have been left in the lurches to find their own way to protect themselves like an old museum in the center of city eyed by a multi-millionaire industrialist.