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Rashid to focus on white ball cricket

— 15 February 2018

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club can confirm that leg-spinning all-rounder Adil Rashid will not play red-ball cricket for the White Rose in 2018.

Rashid, now a firm fixture in England’s one-day and T20 teams, recently approached Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon to outline his plans for the forthcoming campaign. These new terms were accepted and the Club will now work with Rashid to facilitate his request, with a review of the situation anticipated to take place in the Autumn.

The Club remain firmly in favour of Rashid continuing to play red-ball cricket for the county, but respect his desire and we are in the process of renegotiating a contract which reflects his decision to solely play white ball cricket.

“It’s obviously Adil’s decision,” Moxon told yorkshireccc.com. “He contacted me recently and explained that he wanted to focus solely on white-ball cricket and concentrate on becoming the best white-ball cricketer he could possibly be.

“From my point of view it’s disappointing because I think Adil has got the ability to play in all three formats of the game, not only at county level, but also at international level. It is Adil’s decision and we have to respect that.

“I’ve said many times that the skills required for the three formats of the game are so different, so it is a challenge for players to play in all three – in international cricket you don’t have many players that do. This is the challenge that players and coaches face in domestic cricket. We need our players to be able to play in all three formats predominantly. You get the odd specialist, but county setups can’t accommodate specialists at this moment in time. Whether that will happen in the future, we’ll wait and see. We really need to get our players skilled up in all three formats. Adil obviously feels he can’t achieve that at the moment.

“He’s been an important member of our white-ball team over the last number of years and is a potential matchwinner. We’re pleased to have him playing white-ball cricket for us and, with his sole focus being on that, you’d expect his skills to improve.”

Rashid, who took six wickets on his First-Class debut against Warwickshire in 2006 and has amassed 38 dismissals in 10 Test matches for England, hopes this newly-fashioned approach will provide added impetus to his white-ball game.

“It’s for this season coming and to see how it goes,” said Rashid, who was speaking from the England team hotel in Hamilton. “At this moment in time in my career, I just feel that white-ball cricket is where I am best, enjoying it most and where I feel I can develop and offer a lot more.

“That was my main thought process. It’s not me saying I’m finished from red ball, it’s just me saying that this summer I’m going to concentrate on white ball and see where that takes me.

“England and Trevor Bayliss were happy with the decision I made and are backing me fully. I’ll use as much of the time I have to work on my white-ball cricket and I’ll just see where that takes me and what lies ahead.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make but it’s something I felt I had to do. If I was to go back to playing red ball early in the season, a bit inside me would have said ‘I’m just playing because I have to’ but I had to make that decision and say ‘no, I can’t just go through the motions’. If I do just go through the motions, firstly I’d be letting the team down and I’d also be letting myself down because I wouldn’t be giving 100%. I’ve made the decision, this summer, to just concentrate on white ball, something which makes me very happy and gives me the best chance of improving my cricket.

“I’m looking to develop my skills and add something to my game that I’ve perhaps never had, because I’ve never had the opportunity to try it. Red ball sometimes might have got in the way of trying certain things in the past, especially switching between the two, but this gives me the opportunity to explore and to see what I can do and hopefully become a better player.”

Having made T20 finals day in 2016 and broken several records in 2017, including Adam Lyth’s domestic record knock of 161 and falling just four runs short of setting a new World Record score, Rashid is optimistic when it comes to the Vikings’ chances in this year’s Vitality Blast.

“We’ve got a massive chance this year,” he added. “We’ve been in with a chance every year but this year with all our players available, the overseas players including Kane Williamson, we’ve got a side with a good mix of experience and youth and one which can go a long way.

“I’m really excited for this summer with Yorkshire and what we can potentially go on to achieve. I’m also excited about this new approach to my game, whether it goes well or doesn’t, that’s beside the point because it’s what makes me happy.”

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