Root backs Rashid to counter India’s right-handers

England skipper Joe Root put the decision to include Adil Rashid in England’s first Test XI for the India series down to the tourists right-hand dominance.

With Shikhar Dhawan not certain to play against England and no other top-order left-handers in the squad barring Rishabh Pant, at Edgbaston Root felt that Moeen Ali’s off-spin would be of less use than the leggies of Rashid.

The decision to recall white-ball specialist Rashid to the team has angered some while others see it as a pragmatic tactical solution.

Former England Test skipper Geoffrey Boycott was among those who questioned the commitment of Rashid.

“He should never have been handed a Test recall,” insisted Boycott.

“In two years England have gone around in a circle. By picking Rashid, they are selecting the unselectable: a player who will not play four-day Championship cricket for Yorkshire because his heart is not in it, but he will play for England in Test matches. Absurd? Yes.”

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The skipper though has no issue with Rashid’s commitment and backed his county teammate to have an impact against an Indian batting lineup made up almost entirely of right-handed batsmen.

Speaking at the team announcement in Birmingham Root said: “With the amount of right handers in India’s team, Rashid gives us a really attacking spinning option and he’s in confident form.

“He’s gone about his business just as he does in the one-day side, he doesn’t seem affected at all.

“I’ve known Adil for a long time. I think he’s grown as a player massively in the last couple of years, he has a better understanding of what he wants to do.”

Root hinted that Jos Buttler’s elevation to vice-captain has to do with the long-term vision for the leadership of the limited overs sides after Eoin Morgan hangs up his boots.

He said: “Jos is vice-captain of the white-ball side, thinks hugely about the game and is respected in the dressing room.

“We are thinking about the long-term and Jos is a big part of that.”