Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid turns back on first-class cricket this season

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Adil Rashid has heightened fears of an exodus from first-class cricket by several of England’s limited-overs internationals after deciding against featuring in the County Championship this season.

Rashid earned the last of his 10 Test caps more than a year ago, with fellow leg-spinner Mason Crane preferred in the Ashes, but is a regular in England’s limited-overs set-up.

The 29-year-old is therefore focusing on improving his skills in the shorter formats, and Yorkshire are working on a deal to facilitate the request which would see him play only in the Royal London One-Day Cup and the NatWest T20 Blast this year.

“It’s for this season coming and to see how it goes,” he said. “At this moment in time in my career, I just feel that white-ball cricket is where I am best, enjoying it most and where I feel I can develop and offer a lot more.

“England and (coach) Trevor Bayliss were happy with the decision I made and are backing me fully. I’ll use as much of the time I have to work on my white-ball cricket and I’ll just see where that takes me and what lies ahead.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make but it’s something I felt I had to do. I’ve made the decision, this summer, to just concentrate on white ball, something which makes me very happy and gives me the best chance of improving my cricket.”

Rashid, who was overlooked in the Indian Premier League auction but could earn a late replacement deal, has taken 38 Test wickets at an average of 42.78 while he has 166 first-class appearances to his name.

He is the first England international to officially forgo, at least temporarily, first-class cricket although limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan has not featured in a red-ball fixture since 2015 and Jos Buttler has played only a handful of matches in recent years.

Buttler recently gave an interview in which he suggested T20 cricket could kill all other forms, telling Sky Sports Cricket: “I feel cricket could become a one-format game in the future – whether that’s soon or in 15 to 20 years.

“Test cricket is still, for me, the pinnacle of cricket but T20 fills out stadiums and is easy to keep up with and follow. Everyone wants things faster these days and things evolve so maybe Twenty20 could have a monopoly on cricket.”

Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon made plain his disappointment with Rashid’s stance and hinted his future may lie away from the county if he continues to play white-ball cricket only. A review of the situation will take place in the autumn.

Martyn Moxon
Martyn Moxon expressed his dismay at Adil Rashid’s decision (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We need our players to be able to play in all three formats predominantly. You get the odd specialist, but county set-ups can’t accommodate specialists at this moment in time.

“Whether that will happen in the future, we’ll wait and see. We really need to get our players skilled up in all three formats. Adil obviously feels he can’t achieve that at the moment.”

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