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England have recalled spinner Adil Rashid and included uncapped Essex pace bowler Jamie Porter in their squad for the first Test against India at Edgbaston.
Rashid has not played Test cricket since December 2016, but his call-up to the Test side has drawn controversy since he gave up playing red-ball cricket on the county circuit and instead opted to sign a white-ball contract with Yorkshire in February.
This is the second time that a player who has given up red-ball cricket on the domestic scene has been drafted into the Test squad as batsman Jos Buttler was included in England’s squad for the recent Test series against Pakistan.
Given Rashid’s excellent performance with the ball in the limited overs series against India, national selector Ed Smith decided to add him to the Test squad for the match in Birmingham, which begins on August 1.
“Before the selection meeting, Adil had confirmed his availability to play Test cricket for England for whole of this summer and the upcoming winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies,” Smith was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “Adil fully understands that if he wishes to be eligible for Test cricket in the 2019 season, he must have a county contract to play four-day cricket. Moving forward, England Test players must be committed to the county championship.
“Clearly, the one-off circumstances around Adil’s return to the Test squad are unusual. However, the selection panel was unanimous in believing that Adil should be selected in England’s squad.”
Rashid admitted that he didn’t see the recall coming, and is now determined to make his presence felt should he be picked for the first Test.
“After the ODIs there was a discussion that me and Ed had, just regarding – you know – how you feel about playing, or being part of the squad, this summer against India,” he told Sky Sports. “So obviously I had to think about it, considering I hadn’t played red-ball game for a little while; but this opportunity I couldn’t buy at it – I had to think about it and make a decision.
“I said ‘I’ll make myself available’ and if you guys want to select me in the squad then I’ll come and try my best.
“It was definitely a tough decision and obviously I was kind of surprised because to get back in the Test side usually people have to go back to your county and perform to be considered.
“But me, Ed Smith and a few others had a chat and they were thinking that if I could be made available and do whatever the job is in the team – to be attacking or whatever – we’d be happy for you to be in the squad. That was something I had to think about and I’ve made that decision to be made available.”
Meanwhile, Porter has come into the side as a replacement for all-rounder Chris Woakes, who is still recovering from thigh and knee injuries.
In the ongoing County Championship, Porter has taken 28 wickets in seven matches at an average of 26.82.
“Jamie Porter has been the outstanding seam bowler in the county championship over the past three seasons,” Smith said. “He also impressed for the Lions v India A last week. With his resilience and appetite for wicket-taking, Jamie fully deserves his elevation to the England Test squad. Sam Curran, also full of form and confidence in Lions and county cricket, retains his place in the squad after his promising debut at Emerald Headingley.
“The selection panel felt that Chris Woakes needed a little more time to regain full form. We are keen to avoid rushing him back from injury too soon. Chris will combine playing for Warwickshire in T20s alongside building up red ball fitness and workload with the England coaches.”
All-rounder Moeen Ali is also back in the side after being dropped in the aftermath of a disappointing Ashes series.
“Moeen Ali has taken his strong bowling form from England’s ODI team into the county championship, where he picked up eight wickets in a fine display against Somerset this week,” Smith said. “Moeen is recalled to the XIII having missed out on selection against Pakistan.”
England’s Squad for the first Test against India: Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Dawid Malan, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes