Test cricket may be dead in some parts of the world but in England, it is well and truly alive. This has been pretty apparent following the lead up to the five-match Test series against India which starts on Wednesday at Edgbaston.
Never since the Kevin Pietersen days has a single name caused so much controversy, talking points and backlash on these shores. Step forward, Adil Rashid.
Slap In The Face
The Yorkshire leg-spinner recently decided to sign a white-ball only contract for his county, thus indicating to all that his days in the longer form are done. But, it seems a lot of sun, injuries, and a Warne-like ball to Virat Kohli during the ODI’s has earned (maybe I should put that word in inverted commas) Rashid a return to the Test set-up.
Understandably, many within the media, including former England captain Michael Vaughan didn’t like the idea of the county game being slapped in the face with this decision.
Despite the weather turning a little cooler in the last few days, particularly in Birmingham, spin will still play a factor.
From England’s perspective, it is slightly ironic that in a game, and perhaps a series, where spin might be the deciding factor in who wins, they are telling those turning their arms in the domestic set-up that they are not really wanted.
Stab In The Chest
Later on this year, Joe Root’s men will travel to Sri Lanka for a tough and grueling three-match Test series. Unless you have the West Indian pace attack of the late 70’s and 80’s amongst your ranks, England will be selecting three spinners for each of those games.
Who is England’s third spinner then? The same Jack Leach whose confidence you have rocked by ignoring him for this series? Or any other up and coming spinner the England selectors have decided to metaphorically, not stab in the back, but in the chest.
Truth be told, if Rashid does the business against what will be a strong Indian batting line-up then all of what has happened before will be seemingly forgotten. However, it shouldn’t because it is an absolute disgrace that spinners in this country can be treated with such disrespect.
Choking On Caviar
At the start of the summer, the England selectors led by Ed Smith opted to pick Jos Buttler for the series against Pakistan based on his blistering IPL form. That move paid off.
Once again, those eating caviar in their expensive suits are going to be put under the microscope when Rashid lets that red cherry out of his hand at Edgbaston. If he starts well the selectors will be able to sit back and enjoy their wine.
If it goes wrong, is Gareth Batty still playing lads?!