London - England
dramatically recalled Adil Rashid to their 13-man squad announced
on Thursday for next week's first Test against India even though the
Yorkshire leg-spinner has opted out of playing first-class County
Championship cricket this season.
Rashid is now in line to play his first home Test, after all 10 of his previous appearances were made overseas.
His recall came alongside that of off-spinner Moeen Ali, who was
preferred to Somerset's Dom Bess - a Test debutant in the drawn series
against Pakistan earlier this season.
Rashid's selection in a squad for what will be England's 1 000th Test
when they face India in the first of a five-match series at Edgbaston,
comes despite him deciding to opt out of all first-class cricket this
year ahead of a home World Cup campaign in 2019.
It was a bold move by a panel headed up by new national selector Ed
Smith, who recalled Jos Buttler against Pakistan on the strength of the
batsman's form in the Indian Premier League.
Rashid won the last of his 10 Test caps away to India in Chennai more than 18 months ago.
He starred recently in England's one-day series wins over Australia and India, taking 20 wickets at an average of 23.95.
Rashid also produced a classic leg-break to bowl India captain and
star batsman Virat Kohli as England clinched a 2-1 success at the
bowler's Headingley home ground.
Meanwhile left-armer Jack Leach, who like Rashid naturally turns the
ball away from right-handed batsmen, suffered concussion on his return
to county cricket with Somerset after breaking his thumb on the eve of
the Pakistan series and so has yet to add to his debut cap against New
Zealand in Christchurch.
An England statement stressed Rashid, 30, was committed to Test cricket.
"Before the selection meeting, Adil had confirmed his availability to
play Test cricket for England for whole of this summer and the upcoming
winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies."
Former England batsman Smith added Rashid would
also have to commit to playing red-ball cricket if he wanted a
long-term Test future.
"Following his earlier decision in February 2018, Adil has a
white-ball only contract to play for Yorkshire this summer," he
"That arrangement is unchanged by his selection for England.
"However, Adil fully understands that if he wishes to be eligible for
Test cricket in the 2019 season, he must have a county contract to play
"Moving forward, England Test players must be committed to the county championship.
"Clearly, the one-off circumstances around Adil's return to the Test squad are unusual.
"However, the selection panel was unanimous in believing that Adil should be selected in England's squad."
But Rashid's inclusion provoked an angry reaction from Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur.
"We’re very surprised that England have called Adil up after not
playing red ball cricket this season," Arthur told the county's website.
"Neither has he expressed a desire to do so.
"I hope that England know what they're doing to Adil, and the county game."
England also called uncapped Essex seamer Jamie Porter into their
squad, with pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes missing out on a Test
at his Warwickshire home ground following a return from a knee injury.
Smith added: "The selection panel felt Chris Woakes needed a little more time to regain full form.
"We are keen to avoid rushing him back from injury too soon."
It was a similar story with Leach, Smith saying: "Jack Leach has had
an exceptional run of bad luck, which now leaves him short of bowling at
the start of the series against India."
England squad for first Test against India:
Joe Root (Yorkshire, captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James
Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), Stuart Broad
(Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Sam
Curran (Surrey), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Middlesex),
Jamie Porter (Essex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham)