London: England leg-spinner Adil Rashid has hit back at Michael Vaughan who had criticised the selectors’ decision to recall him in the Test squad, saying the former captain’s comments were “stupid” and “do not matter”.
Rashid’s inclusion to the Test squad for the home series against India has brought sharp reactions from ex-players with Vaughan terming it as “ridiculous”. Vaughan had questioned the decision of the England selectors, saying that someone who does not want to play the longer format has been rewarded with a Test spot on the basis of his recent limited overs form.
The 30-year-old Rashid was chosen for the Test series against India starting on August 1 despite signing a white-ball only contract with Yorkshire for the 2018 season. Rashid said Vaughan’s comments about his recall to the Test squad was a kind of nonsense being spoken by ex-players.
“He (Vaughan) can say a lot and he thinks people might listen. A lot of people have got no interest in what he says. His opinions do not matter to anybody. When I mentioned at the start of the year I will not be playing red-ball cricket, he tweeted something then. He was being controversial and saying his stupid things then too,” Rashid was quoted as saying by ‘BBC Sport’.
“I don’t think he has an agenda against me. I played under and with him but sometimes ex-players come out and start talking nonsense about current players. If he wants to carry on talking just because he is bored with nothing better to say, then that is his choice. There will be people out there who are not happy. There will be haters, like the pundits who are saying it is a disgrace. That is not my fault.”
Rashid has taken 38 wickets at an average of 42.78 in 10 Tests for England, the most recent of which came in India in December 2016. In February, he signed a contract with Yorkshire to play only limited-overs cricket in 2018. He has not played a first-class match since September 2017.
“I don’t see what the big deal is. It was not an easy decision, but when your country wants you and asks if you are available, you cannot just say no,” said Rashid.
Asked if there was a lack of support from Yorkshire on his Test selection, Rashid said: “At times there can be. They might be disappointed for various reasons, but it would have been nice if the chief executive or head coach could have said, ‘well done, congratulations on being selected, good on you’ – as opposed to being angry and upset for not playing red-ball cricket for them, even though I told them I would not be doing so.
“I did not do anything wrong in that sense. There is no reason for Yorkshire to react like this. It was not something I expected or wanted. It would have been nice to have got the support from your county or the people close to you, but if they do not want to give their support, that is their problem.”
Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur had been critical of Rashid’s recall to the Test team, saying the county side were “surprised that England have called Adil up after not playing red-ball cricket this season”
Asked about this, Rashid said, “I don’t need anybody’s support in that situation. I know what I want to do and achieve. If I give 100% and it goes well, it goes well. If it doesn’t then I will still be happy. If they treat me like they have done, don’t see any value in me and are disrespectful to me, I have to think about the future in terms of which county I play for.”
Rashid, however, got the backing of England seamer Stuart Broad who said the leg-spinner was a “proven international performer” and “natural wicket-taker” and that those traits could prove key in a “big series”.
“I think the selectors were very keen to have someone spinning the ball away from the right-handers. He’s been in form in the white-ball stuff and bowled some beautiful deliveries against Australia and India so will be coming in with lots of confidence,” Broad was quoted as saying by ‘Sky Sports’.
“You want natural wicket-takers in your side and Adil is a proven international performer, which I think is important when you go into really big series. You want people who have withstood pressure throughout their career – Adil is someone who’s done that.”