Ian Hart: Is Adil Rashid's England Test selection in the spirit of the game?

Columnist Ian Hart on Adil Rashid's England selection for the first Test against India and backing Aston Villa to return to the Premier League
Columnist Ian Hart on Adil Rashid's England selection for the first Test against India and backing Aston Villa to return to the Premier League

Spinner Adil Rashid’s recall to the England side for the first Test at Edgbaston against number-one-ranked nation India has certainly stirred up a hornets’ nest.

Rashid is making his first Test appearance in almost two years despite not having played any form of red-ball cricket since last September, and in the wake of the news he signed a new contract with Yorkshire in February to play only white-ball cricket.

For the uninitiated ‘red-ball cricket’ is the traditional version of the game, still played in whites, whilst ‘white-ball’ represents a shortened version of the game, that with various competitions around the globe is financially lucrative for the top players.

Is it really in the spirit of the game that while Rashid won’t play county cricket for Yorkshire he will still turn out over five days for England? As many have said, including former England legends Michael Vaughan and Darren Gough, it certainly is a kick in the teeth for both Yorkshire and the County Championship in general. And could it set a dangerous precedent?

Hopefully England will put in a series of great performances over the course of the series. As a long-suffering England cricket fan who has seen us humbled on three continents, I hope, as currently the only spinner in the XI, Rashid plays a big part.

However if he does - and dare I say it with the current conditions plays a huge part in a series win – will that be the green light for the other top England players to elect for the lucrative white-ball contracts?

And as things develop will it reach a situation that effectively all the top English cricketers don’t go near the County Championship in any shape or form? To my mind it could all have been averted by the ECB. One simple rule: a red-ball county contract qualifies you for test cricket, anything else doesn’t.

Without doubt my current frequently asked question in and around the locality is how I think Brighton will fare in their second season in the Premier League. The club has certainly been busy over the summer, with a plethora of new signings arriving at the Amex.

Next week’s column will feature my annual Premier League preview, but what I will say this week is that I’m quietly optimistic.

I will naturally name at least three teams that will finish below the Seagulls next week, but for the time being our attentions turn to the start of the Championship this weekend.

It’s perhaps the most competitive league in the world. While I love the Albion being at the top level, a tiny part of the football fan in me missed the cut and thrust of domestic football’s second tier.

But who’s going to win it this season? That’s the lure of the competition because in my opinion there are at least eight teams in that league all with the credentials to carry off the silverware next May.

I can’t sign off this week’s column without my annual Championship prediction.

It’s great that Frank Lampard is cutting his managerial teeth at Derby, and whilst the Rams will certainly be in the mix, I’m going to go with the experience.

With regained stability at Villa Park and the all-important news that Steve Bruce is staying, my tip for Championship success is Aston Villa.

Fairly predictable, I know, but I think everything is in place and Bruce certainly knows his onions at that level.

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