Adil Rashid is in line to play his first home Test after his shock recall to a 13-man England squad which also features uncapped seamer Jamie Porter.
Rashid’s inclusion alongside fellow spinner Moeen Ali for England’s 1,000th Test against India at Edgbaston comes despite his decision to quit all first-class cricket while he prepares for next year’s home World Cup.
It is an unprecedented move by national selector Ed Smith and his colleagues to pick the 30-year-old Yorkshire leg-spinner – at a time when he has not played a red-ball match for 10 months, with none scheduled for his county either in the foreseeable future.
Porter’s call-up, in place of Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes – who England believe is still short of his best as he returns from injury and will therefore miss his home Test – is also a surprise.
But, it is Rashid’s return, after winning the last of his 10 Test caps in Chennai more than 18 months ago, which will dominate the headlines.
It comes on the back of his much-improved white-ball international form and follows a personal guarantee to England that he will re-commit long-term to Test cricket.
Smith said: “Before the selection meeting, Adil had confirmed his availability to play Test cricket for England for the whole of this summer and upcoming winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies.
“Following his earlier decision in February 2018, Adil has a white-ball only contract to play for Yorkshire this summer.
“That arrangement is unchanged by his selection for England.
“However, 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 was not expecting England to make the overture, and had to think seriously before accepting the offer.
“It was definitely a tough decision – and yes, obviously, I was kind of surprised,” he told Sky Sports News.
“To get back in the Test side, usually people have got to go back to their counties and perform to be considered.
“But me and Ed Smith, and a few others, had a chat – and they were thinking, if I can be available, we’ll be happy for me to be in the squad.