England legend Ian Botham backs Adil Rashid; calls criticism of his inclusion in Test squad unwarranted

Ian Botham feels Adil Rashid will enjoy the purchase that he'd derive from the red ball and would have a point to prove to his naysayers

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Adil Rashid © Getty Images (File Photo)
Adil Rashid © Getty Images (File Photo)

Legendary England all-rounder Ian Botham says the criticism around the inclusion of spinner Adil Rashid in the home team’s squad for the first Test against India is “unnecessary”. Leg-spinner Rashid was selected for the first of the five Tests against India despite quitting red-ball cricket ahead of the 2018 county season and having not played a first-class game since September.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan dubbed it “ridiculous” and “a stab in the back for county cricket” before Rashid hit back. Another former skipper Nasser Hussain felt Rashid’s Test recall sets a dangerous precedent for county cricket.

But Botham had a different view. “I don’t understand what Michael was on about, it was pretty unnecessary,” Botham said on Sky Sports. “Adil is fed up with it and has reacted. There has been a lot of stuff out there written and I just don’t get it. I wonder if some people just do it for effect. I like the kid and I think he’s come to terms with the way of bowling and sorted out his game plan.”

Rashid’s stunning delivery to dismiss India captain Virat Kohli in the ODI series raised hopes of a comeback into the Test side. Botham said, “He does put it out there and is prepared to throw (the ball) up. The Indians will go after him but I hope he does very well. It should be an interesting contest. I think he’ll enjoy the red ball – he will enjoy the purchase he can get on it and will have a point to prove.”

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