“The best we’ve seen him bowl,” Trevor Bayliss said about Adil Rashid, holding out hope that the leg-spinner is discussed by the selectors in the context of Test cricket.
Earlier this year, Rashid agreed on a white-ball only contract with Yorkshire, making it clear that he expected his future with England to be in limited-overs cricket.
But with Rashid, the 30-year-old with 10 Test matches behind him, in excellent form for England in limited-overs cricket in recent times, Bayliss has expressed hope that he could be brought back to the long format side.
Since the new deal with Yorkshire, Rashid has chipped in with 20 wickets in ODIs and five in T20Is, and his 3-49 against India in the ODI series decider was a stellar effort. The delivery he bowled Virat Kohli with, a leg-spinner that pitched on leg and hit off, left the Indian captain staring open-mouthed at the pitch.
“This year is probably the best we’ve seen him bowl,” said Bayliss, the England coach. “He’s bowled well in one-day cricket over the last few years, but his control and his consistency this year has been top class and probably the best I’ve seen him bowl since I’ve been here.”
Rashid, who has 38 Test wickets, hasn’t played in the longest game since December 2016, when he was part of the England XI in India. He hasn’t played first-class cricket since September 2017 either, but that shouldn’t prevent him from playing Test cricket if the recent Jos Buttler example is a hint.
Buttler came from IPL 2018, where he was in stunning form for Rajasthan Royals, and thrown in at No.7 in the Test side against Pakistan. He responded with 14, 67 and 80* in his three innings.
“Could he get picked in the Test team on white-ball form? Well, it’s already been proven this year it’s happened once. So, look I’m sure he’ll be up for discussion definitely,” said Bayliss, adding that it was also for Rashid to decide what he wants: “I’m not sure whether Ed Smith [the chief selector] had a chat with him or not.”
Rashid sounded amenable to the idea, when he said, “At this moment in time I’m just concentrating on white-ball cricket, but, in the meantime, if something comes about I’ll be happy.”
In recent times, especially when playing at home, England have relied on Moeen Ali to be their main spinner, with the likes of Mason Crane, Jack Leach and Dom Bess tried out from time to time.
The first of five Tests between England and India starts at Edgbaston on August 1 – the England squad hasn’t been announced yet.