England’s Adil Rashid says he has much to consider before potentially playing Test cricket again

England leg-spinner Adil Rashid says he has a lot to weigh up before potentially playing Test cricket again for the first time since 2019.

Joe Root’s Test team are set for a two-match tour of Sri Lanka in January – the place where Rashid bagged 12 wickets in three games in 2018 as England completed a whitewash – before visiting India shortly after.

Speaking to Sky Sports’ The Hussain and Key Cricket Show, Rashid said he must work out whether his shoulder can withstand the rigours of Test cricket as he would not want an injury setback with T20 World Cups taking place in India in 2021 and Australia in 2022.

“It is definitely a difficult one,” said the 32-year-old when asked about his Test future.

“In Sri Lanka and India it’s potentially bowling a lot of overs and I haven’t bowled a lot of overs since my shoulder injury so it all depends whether my shoulder can hack it. Can I bowl those long spells out there? These are the questions I need to ask myself.

“I came across an article where Nasser said about making sure you are mentally tough [for Test cricket] and really want it if India, say, are 200-2.

“How you have to be mentally switched on, want the ball, try to create chances and if your heart and mind are not there then it could be a very long tour. So there is all that to come into it.

“At this moment in time I am concentrating on white-ball cricket and trying my best to perform for England. I have to keep myself fit with this shoulder, especially with what’s coming ahead.”

Rashid sits fourth in the T20I bowling rankings after England’s 3-0 sweep of South Africa – a series in which his economy rate was under six runs an over – while no bowler has taken more ODI wickets since the 2015 World Cup.

The spinner has been bowling notably quicker of late, something he attributes to his shoulder being stronger after rehab, while he also explained the impact good friend and fellow spinner Moeen Ali and England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan have had on his career.

Rashid added: “I am always working on and striving for that consistency with my variations – the top-spinner, the leg-spinner, the slider. I want to make sure I am developing each series.

“My shoulder is a lot stronger after the rehab and that has helped massively but you also develop your bowling over the years, your speeds, your variations. All that comes with experience.

“My shoulder has helped me gain that extra two, three, four miles an hour but you still have to spin it. If you are bowling quicker and not spinning it then it is easier for batsmen to hit through the line.

“Moeen is like a big brother to me. Since I came back into the side in 2015 we have spent a lot of time together on and off the pitch and we spend a lot of time talking about cricket and bowling.

“Mo has helped me massively in that way. He knows me very well and knows when I am bowling well. When I am not bowling so well, he will give me advice so the communication and trust is there.

“Morgs is also a massive help. He has given me confidence with my bowling and field placings and even with I get smashed, which has happened many times, he shows that confidence in me with his body language. He has been massive, not just for myself but for the team.”

Moeen had a watching brief for the T20I series win over South Africa – the all-rounder was picked in England’s squad but did not make the XI for any of the three games as the tourists opted for only one frontline spinner in Rashid.

Ali ‘frustrated’ by lack of game time

Speaking to Sky Sports News on Thursday, Moeen admitted his lack of cricket in 2020 has been “frustrating” and says he has lost his “rhythm” having only been used sparingly by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

“[England] is a difficult team to get into. Morgs explained it was about the balance of the team so I was pretty relaxed about it [but] you are always disappointed inside,” Ali said of his omission from the T20s against South Africa.

“I haven’t played much recently and rhythm is not there. I have been training hard in the nets but it is never the same. You need those back-to-back games so I think that is the most frustrating thing.

“In the IPL, I played one game, didn’t play for three weeks, played another game. The year’s gone and I haven’t played any cricket, a handful of games.

“Rhythm comes from an innings in the middle and that’s probably what’s missing at the moment. It’s been frustrating.”

Who are England’s back-up spin options?

Rashid and Moeen are England’s primary spinners in white-ball cricket at the moment but who are the back-up options should injury strike before the T20 World Cup in India late next year?

Nasser Hussain offered a few options on The Hussain and Key Cricket Show, including Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, who has played two ODIs and two T20Is to date.

“Matt Parkinson was in New Zealand last winter and did pretty well. He bowls a lot slower than Adil and may not have the variations Adil does – Parkinson is little more slow and loopy.

“On some of the bigger grounds in New Zealand that worked with catches in the deep so it’s whether he can bowl that pace on smaller grounds.

“If Adil got injured then there is Parkinson; Hampshire’s Mason Crane; Daniel Moriarty, at Surrey, impressed from a very small sample size in the Vitality Blast; Liam Dawson is a multi-dimensional cricketer that England like

“There are some options but Adil is bowling so well that fingers crossed he doesn’t injure that shoulder.”


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