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Ex-players question Rashid omission

Warne, Hussain ask why hosts left out their leading ODI wicket-taker in last two years for Champions Trophy opener

While tournament favourites England kicked off their Champions Trophy campaign in style against Bangladesh, their decision to drop ace leg-spinner Adil Rashid has raised eyebrows among former players.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain and spin legend Shane Warne have both questioned why Rashid, England's leading one-day international bowler in the past two years, was left out at the expense of seamer Jake Ball.

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The crafty wrist-spinner has been a key figure in England's white-ball resurgence since suffering a humiliating group-stage exit at the 2015 World Cup. 

Only prodigious South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada, the International Cricket Council's top-ranked ODI bowler, has more wickets (64) since the last World Cup in the 50-over format than Rashid's 60 scalps.

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And while many believe this year's Champions Trophy could be the beginning of a new era for a side that's never won a major ODI tournament, Hussain suggested Rashid's axing had hallmarks of the England of yesteryear.

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"The decision to drop Adil Rashid for the first game of a major tournament seemed odd to me," Hussain wrote in his Daily Mail column.

"He had played 41 of England's previous 44 one-day internationals leading up to the Champions Trophy, so it was strange when Eoin Morgan said they had made a horses-for-courses choice.

"It seemed like an un-England thing to do — almost the sort of thing they said they didn't do any more, after making late changes ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

"I thought this would have been a good way of getting Rashid into it. He's the sort of bloke who thrives on confidence, and he's going to be important as the tournament progresses and the pitches may take a bit of turn."

England captain Eoin Morgan explained Rashid's omission in favour of five seamers and spinning allrounder Moeen Ali was a tactical move based on Bangladesh's perceived strength against slow-bowlers.

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"We felt given the opposition playing against Bangladesh, they probably would have preferred to play against a lot more spin, as opposed to four quicks and Ben (Stokes)," Morgan told reporters after England's eight-wicket win at The Oval.

"So that contributed to how we wanted to balance the side and how we sort of had foreseen them playing. 

"Their top three batters are lefties, and the possibility of getting Joe (Root, a part-time off-spinner) or 'Mo' on early was an option."

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Rashid however has performed strongly against Bangladesh recently. On the ODI leg of England's tour to the Asian nation in October, he collected 10 wickets at 14.50 with two four-wicket hauls to lead the series' wicket-taking charts.

England won that series, as they have in eight of their 11 bilateral ODI encounters since that watershed 2015 World Cup, and Warne believes dropping Rashid is a diversion from what has worked for them in the intervening years.

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"Sometimes teams go away from their plans in big tournaments … and I don't know why they do that," Warne said on commentary for the England-Bangladesh match.

"Rashid's been an integral part of why England have had a lot of success recently. 

"Morgan knows that he could throw the ball to Rashid, he could take wickets, and not just dry up runs, he can be aggressive. 

"When you don't have Rashid - you have Moeen Ali … who will do a decent job but (Rashid's) a wicket-taker, could be a match-winner. 

"I understand they want to hit Bangladesh with pace but I just don't like it when teams go away from how they've been successful and they leave a player out."


Champions Trophy 2017 Guide

AUSTRALIA SQUAD: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa

Other squads: Every Champions Trophy squad


Schedule


1 JuneEngland beat Bangladesh by eight wickets

2 JuneAustralia v New Zealand, Edgbaston (D)

3 JuneSri Lanka v South Africa, The Oval (D)

4 JuneIndia v Pakistan, Edgbaston (D)

5 JuneAustralia v Bangladesh, The Oval (D/N)

6 JuneEngland v New Zealand, Cardiff (D)

7 JunePakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (D/N)

8 JuneIndia v Sri Lanka, The Oval (D)

9 JuneNew Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (D)

10 JuneEngland v Australia, Edgbaston (D)

11 JuneIndia v South Africa, The Oval (D)

12 JuneSri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)

14 JuneFirst semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)

15 JuneSecond semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)

18 JuneFinal, The Oval (D)


19 June – Reserve day (D)


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