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Rashid named in England team for first Test against India

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England v India, first Test
Venue: Edgbaston Date: 1-5 August Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. In-play clips and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full tour details

Adil Rashid has been named as England’s only spin bowler for the first Test match against India at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old, who will play his first Test in almost two years, has been recalled despite signing a white-ball-only contract for Yorkshire in February.

“Adil has been a very good attacking option throughout all the white-ball cricket that he’s played,” said captain Joe Root.

“He’s obviously come a long way in terms of where he was last time he played Test cricket and gives us a really balanced attack.”

Left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran will win his second Test cap in Birmingham, with Moeen Ali and Jamie Porter missing out.

Root also confirmed batsman Jos Buttler will act as vice-captain for the five-Test series.

Ben Stokes was replaced as vice-captain by James Anderson for the Ashes during the winter.

Stokes’ trial for affray begins on Monday, the day after the first Test is due to end, with the all-rounder then missing the second Test at Lord’s, which begins 9 August.

The game at Edgbaston is England’s 1,000th Test match.

England XI for first Test
Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes.

Rashid recalled in ‘strange circumstances’

Adil Rashid

Rashid, who made the most recent of his 10 Test appearances on the tour of India in 2016, has taken 38 Test wickets at an average of 42.78.

Though he had chosen to focus on limited-overs cricket, the prospect of a recall to the Test side was raised thanks to impressive performances in T20 and one-day matches against Australia and India.

However, Rashid opted to remain unavailable for Yorkshire in the County Championship, with the Tykes having to loan spinner Josh Poysden from Warwickshire for their match against Roses rivals Lancashire.

In being named in the Test squad, Rashid was selected ahead of Somerset pair Jack Leach and Dom Bess, who had been England’s spinners in their previous three matches.

National selector Ed Smith said Rashid’s selection was a one-off, and that in future all players wishing to play Tests for England must be available for the County Championship.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Root said Rashid’s recall was a “very specific scenario” and had come about in “very strange circumstances”.

Still, Rashid’s inclusion in the squad was criticised by Yorkshire and their former players Geoffrey Boycott and Michael Vaughan.

Vaughan said the decision was “ridiculous”, but Rashid described the former England captain’s comments as “stupid”.

Root, also of Yorkshire, said he did not feel “compromised” by the situation at his county and that Rashid’s selection does not devalue the county game.

“I see county cricket as a really strong product which produces some fantastic Test cricketers,” said the 27-year-old.

“Adil learned his trade in county cricket. He’s got 450 first-class wickets so it is definitely a massive factor in producing Test cricketers.”

Buttler promotion

Buttler is promoted to vice-captain only two Tests after a recall of his own.

The 27-year-old made two half-centuries against Pakistan and now fulfils the role he does for England’s one-day side, who are ranked number one in the world.

“With him being vice-captain of the one-day side he obviously thinks about the game extremely well,” said Root. “Looking further down the line, taking this team forward, I see him as a crucial part of that.

“Credit to him for taking his opportunity. He’s had a fine summer to now and I’m sure he’s desperate to kick on from what was a brilliant start against Pakistan.

“He’s a very good thinker and he gains a huge amount of respect from the dressing room.”

England take on world’s best

England have lost only one home series since 2012, but still find themselves down at fifth in the world rankings.

Over the same time period their away form has been poor – they have won only one away series since winning in India in the same year – and they have often suffered big defeats in individual home Tests.

The 1-1 draw against Pakistan earlier this summer included a heavy loss at Lord’s. They were beaten by West Indies at Headingley and South Africa at Trent Bridge in 2017, but recovered to win both series.

India, meanwhile, arrive as the leading team in the Test rankings.

“It’s a great opportunity for this team,” said Root. “We had an indifferent few months, coming off the back of last summer where we had some success, then a difficult winter and start to this summer. It’s a great chance for us to put that right.

“Hopefully we can start strong and take that forward. India are a fine Test team, they’re deserving of their number one ranking. It’s been a long time since they played in these conditions. Hopefully we can exploit that.”

It had been thought that the hot, dry summer would produce conditions that would suit the tourists.

However, Edgbaston has been well watered and has received regular rainfall since the weekend.

There were puddles just off the edge of the outfield on Wednesday, yet the pitch is still dry enough for India to be likely to include two spinners.

‘Comfortable’ Kohli relishing challenge

The five-Test series is crammed into a six-week period, with the final match at The Oval scheduled to conclude on 11 September.

Since 2002, India have played only two five-Test series, both against England. They were beaten 3-1 here four years ago, then won 4-0 on home soil in 2016.

“The fact that it’s a long series is something that we’re really looking forward to,” said India captain Virat Kohli.

“You can either think ‘oh it’s too long a series to play in this place’, or you can think there’s so many opportunities that will come up every day, every session, every Test match. We are definitely in that kind of frame of mind.

“We are very confident in our ability and that we have the skillset, character and the mental toughness which is required to compete and win in overseas conditions.”

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