England v Pakistan - Men's

Rashid has 'wasted his talent' in Tests: coach

Yorkshire coach laments leggie's decision to prioritise white-ball cricket as England prepare to blood another spinner

Cricket Network

22 May 2018, 07:20 PM AEST

Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale believes Adil Rashid would likely be playing Test cricket this week if the leg-spinner hadn't turned his back on the longest form of the game to focus on the World Cup.

In February, Rashid made the shock decision to turn down a red-ball contract with Yorkshire for this season in order to prioritise white-ball cricket, adding he would consider a return to first-class ranks next year.

Last week, uncapped 20-year-old Dom Bess earned a shock maiden Test call-up as England selectors were forced to look beyond injured incumbent Jack Leach as well as Mason Crane, Liam Dawson (both injured) and allrounder Moeen Ali, who was dropped during the winter.

And Gale says Rashid, who took 38 wickets in 10 Tests in 2015-16 and is England's premier spinner in both ODI and T20 cricket, would have got picked ahead of Bess had he still been playing red-ball cricket.

"My only frustration with Rash is that I look at Dom Bess getting picked for England and see the way Rash bowls," Gale told The Yorkshire Post ahead of the first Test against Pakistan, starting on Thursday.

"It doesn't matter whether it's a white or red ball, it's still round.

"There is no way he should not be playing Test cricket for England, and that's a frustration. I think he's wasted his talent in that respect."

Rashid's remarkable BBL|05 season

The lack of a clear frontline Test spinner in England did lead former Test captain Michael Vaughan to question Rashid's decision earlier this year.

"He could have started the (first-class) season with lots of wickets," Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph, adding the decision was "unselfish" as it would allow younger spinners a chance at first-class level.

"England's spin department is pretty thin and in a couple of months' time they could be crying out for someone like Rashid.

"He could have taken a couple of five-fors and got back in the Test side against India. England are touring West Indies and Sri Lanka this winter, good opportunities for a spinner. But Rashid has given that up aged only 29. Strange."

Having missed the start of the county season due to his red-ball absence, Rashid returned to action in Yorkshire's opening one-day cup game last Friday and picked up 4-47 against Durham.

The 30-year-old last week conceded he could have earned an England recall for the upcoming Pakistan series if he hadn't put red-ball cricket on hold, but said he stuck by his decision.

"That could have happened, of course, but it's not something I've thought about," said Rashid. "I made the decision some time ago and those kind of things will always happen. 

"It was just what I felt was the right thing to do because it would have been easy for me to carry on, go through the motions and let nobody know. I didn't really feel my heart was in it. Rather than that I had to tell Yorkshire.

"I was thinking about it for probably a couple of months before making the decision. I'm 100 per cent happy."

Rashid is sure to play a major role in England's white-ball series against Australia and India this summer as the world's No.1 ODI builds towards a World Cup on home soil next year.

"His white-ball cricket, he's up there as one of the best in the world," Gale said. "He's a massive player for us.

"You can see just how difficult he is to face. They just can't pick his googly. He's a fantastic performer."