Adil Rashid's selection in the 13-man England squad for the first Test against India caused quite a debate in the English cricket circuit. Rashid, who last played red-ball cricket for England back in 2016, was picked in the Test team following his good performance in the limited over series. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) drew flak for his selection. But ahead of the first Test, starting from Wednesday in Birmingham, former England captain Alastair Cook has backed the leg-spinner and feels that current Test skipper Joe Root should be able to utilize him better than he did when Rashid used to play under his captaincy.
"Joe is in a great position in one sense because he probably knows him better than anyone else, certainly better than I did when I captained Adil. They've got a good relationship. They seem to get on really well and they'd have played a lot of cricket together growing up, that can only be a bonus. Certainly, the way Joe would have seen him operate over the last two or three years and seen him get better and better - I think that's helpful," Cook was quoted as saying by icc-cricket.com.
Cook captained Rashid when he started his Test career. Rashid, later on, decided to stay away from the longer format of the game and focus on limited-overs cricket. He has not even played a first-class match since September 2017.
Speaking on Rashid's return to red-ball cricket, Cook admitted that the leg-spinner will be nervous but also asserted that Rashid has matured tremendously and will be able to cope up with demands the Test format on his return.
"Clearly he's going to be nervous because it's a bit of time away from the England team and with the circumstances. But I genuinely think he will cope - he's bowling really well. Over the last 18 months, I think he's matured as a cricketer and improved since we last saw him in an England Test shirt," Cook added.
Rashid was England's leading wicket-taker in the recent one-day series victory against India, taking six wickets at an average of 24.