ADIL RASHID OPTS FOR ONLY WHITE-BALL CONTRACT

After being a key part of the Yorkshire team for back-to-back County Championships in 2014 and 2015, Adil Rashid has now decided to focus on his white-ball game for the 2018 season. This came as a huge surprise as the director of cricket at Headingley, Martyn Moxon, begrudgingly accepted the leg-spinner’s request on the terms that the new deal would be re-assessed at the end of the year.

adil-rashidA mainstay of England’s one-day team since the 2015 World Cup, England has turned to Adil Rashid for both the recent Ashes campaign and the next month’s Test tour to New Zealand since he returned 38 wickets at 42 apiece up to the end of a 4-0 defeat of India in late 2016. Although being at the top of the list, with no other bowler topping his record of 84 wickets during this time, the Hampshire’s Mason Crane feels he would simply be “going through the motions” if he continued to play first-class cricket.

“I’ve made the decision to just concentrate on the white ball, something which makes me very happy and gives me the best chance of improving my cricket,” the player recounted. “It’s not me saying I’m finished with the red ball. It’s just this summer I’m going to concentrate on the white ball and see where that takes me. England and Trevor Bayliss were happy with the decision I made and are backing me fully.”

Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire head coach, commented on the decision of Adil Rashid as a huge blow to the team’s title ambitions and expects to see more players specialize in the future on account of Twenty20 opportunities both on the domestic front and the international front.

Adil Rashid’s decision, though surprising, might prove to be a good influence on the player. Although the Yorkshire home team is disappointed, they respect the player’s decision and wish him the best.

STOKES TO REUNITE WITH HIS TWENTY20 SQUAD

Ben Stokes may train on Saturday with the Twenty20 squad before their final Trans-Tasman Tri-Series group match against New Zealand on Sunday, as the player is scheduled to meet his England teammates on Friday in New Zealand. Scheduled to arrive in Auckland at 3.20 pm local time, the player will be met with his ECB representatives including a security presence to escort him to the team hotel in Hamilton.

Indicating that he would plead non-guilty to affray charges in front of Bristol crown court on 12 March, Stokes is not expected to feature in the match on Sunday or the final on 21 February. There is much doubt for his presence at the first ODI against New Zealand on 25 February, as Trevor Bayliss recounted the usual protocol after such a long-haul trip to allow players to take a couple days off.

With an assessment to be made on Stokes’s two-day trek, England has much riding on New Zealand’s win against Australia as their only hope out of a dead rubber game.