Will England regret leaving Rashid and Hales out in the red ball cold?
Both Alex Hales and Adil Rashid have shown their talent and ability for England in one day cricket. However their Test opportunities have been few and far between, with quick entries and quick exists for both of them. This has led to many questions about just why the selectors have been so quick to place their faith in some players, whose records are average at best, and to ignore others who have not, in some people’s opinions, been given enough of a chance.
James Vince is the player who stands out the most as someone who has been given chance after chance. Which, to be fair, is good for journalists who can copy and paste the same piece of writing after every Vince innings. ‘Vince started well, playing some lovely shots but got out for 26 as he picked a shot that was too aggressive and was easily caught.’ The Ashes proved that he had been given a shot that he did not deserve and he has somehow clung onto his spot in the squad for England’s tour of New Zealand.
The selectors seem scared to take a gamble on some players. They seem oddly conservative for a side who were have been so exciting and adventurous in the one day formats. This has frustrated a number of cricket fans, who, inspired by slots games like Cricket Star slot, which encourages taking risks in order to get superb financial rewards, want England to try something different. As that fantastic slots game shows, if you play to win and enjoy yourself as you play, the rewards will come flooding in. England fans are worried that conservatism could cost the side and lead to another Test defeat when the side take on New Zealand.
Rashid and Hales have clearly seen enough, as both them, despite their relatively young ages, have decided to take a pause on their red ball careers to focus purely on white ball cricket. It is a bold move and a quite unusual one that is perhaps symptomatic of modern cricket. They both know that the rewards in one day cricket are growing every single year and getting more and more lucrative.
Hales, as an explosive and powerful opener, also would have given England something in a position that has bothered coaches in the set up for a while. So many players have been tried as partners with Alastair Cook but none have been able to hold down a position. Hales’s chance was short and he seemed to be in good enough form to suggest he might be tried again. However it seems like we will never know if he could have taken a second chance.
Both players then could well be misses, both are skilled, both are great players and both will continue to impress in white ball cricket. It is just a shame to see two quality players lost to the game at such young ages.
Without the carrot of a return to the test team being dangled in front of them, neither player will be playing four day cricket for their counties. This could well be the start of a trend and one that will anger and bemuse many cricket fans. It is something we only ever really see in football, players retiring when they are still in the national team picture but for these players it seems like the door is closed on their test careers.
The question becomes then, will England live to regret this, can they cope without these two players or will it be a source of great frustration than neither will be in the right shape to play test cricket if the side did need them. What might well mean that England, do in indeed become affected by the loss of these two players is the fact that they both play in what are, arguably, problem positions for England.
Moeen Ali had long seemed like he would be England’s leading spinner for a good amount of time, however his bowling performance in the Ashes was pedestrian at best. He is hanging on to his place in the team but it is clear England need a real out and out spinner. Rashid could have provided this, his game needed sharpening, that much was clear, however he clearly has talent with the ball in hand and not having him as an option could well be a long term issue for coach Trevor Bayliss when England struggle for spinners.