ANDREW GALE says Yorkshire are very lucky to have Adil Rashid in their ranks as the leg-spinning all-rounder continues to press for an England recall.
Rashid has enjoyed an excellent summer, particularly with the ball, with 68 wickets in all competitive matches, including 19 from eight Royal London one-day Cup appearances.
He heads into today’s quarter-final tie with Durham at Headingley as the competition’s leading wicket-taker and on the back of a career best 5-33 in last week’s final group win over Hampshire.
Rashid has five one-day and five T20 international caps to his name, all coming in 2009, and Yorkshire’s captain believes the 26-year-old deserves another shot at international cricket even if he does not particularly want to shout it from the rooftops.
“Look, I don’t want to pump his tyres up too much because I want to keep him here,” said Gale, who has been handed a late boost with the news that Gary Ballance will be available today having been released from England’s one-day squad to play.
“But from what I have seen, there is no better out and out spinner in the country at the minute than Adil Rashid.
“Adil is bowling as well as I have ever seen him bowl. He has matured a lot as a character, and his confidence is high.
“Particularly when the tail comes in, nobody can pick him. As soon as the tail comes in, I just throw him the ball because he’s bowling googlies, wrong-uns, leggies, toppies, and none of them can pick him. That’s why he gets so many lbws.
“We have given him the confidence to spin the ball hard. His role is to take wickets in all forms of cricket.
“In previous years, he has probably felt a bit of pressure if he goes for runs. But we have said to him ‘if you get 5-100 in the Championship or 5-50/60 in the one-dayers, then you have done your job’.”
It would be a major surprise to see Rashid’s name omitted from some kind of England squad this winter, even if it is only with the Performance Programme or the Lions.
And with calls for flair to be added to England’s one-day team ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March, a recall to the top level is by no means out of the question.
England travel to Sri Lanka for a warm-up one-day series before Christmas, a place where spin will play a significant role.
“While he is wearing a Yorkshire shirt, we are very, very lucky,” added Gale. “I believe he deserves another chance at international cricket.
“He is 26 with 300 plus first-class wickets. The guy is a superstar to me.
“We have not really seen his full pedigree with the bat this season, but we know he can bat and make first-class hundreds. You know, he could easily bat seven or eight for England and bowl in all forms.”