Wanted: Adil Rashid key to coach Andrew Gale's 2017 plans for Yorkshire CCC
ANDREW GALE insists that Yorkshire have drawn a line under Adil Rashid's controversial request to miss last season's County Championship title decider.
Yorkshire were disappointed when Rashid sat out the match against Middlesex at Lord’s, citing fatigue and family illness.
Gale tweeted that he would take “11 lads on the field who will give everything to win”, highlighting the frustration felt at the time.
Yorkshire went on to lose by 61 runs to deny then captain Gale and his men a hat-trick of titles.
But Gale, who earlier this month quit playing to take over from Jason Gillespie as first-team coach, is looking forwards rather than backwards.
Asked whether a line had been drawn under the matter, the Yorkshire boss replied: “Yeah, for sure.
“Obviously, we were all a bit disappointed, but Rash did what he had to do for himself.
“I’m sure we’ll catch up when he gets back and have a chat and put it to bed.”
It smacks of further astute leadership from Gale, one of Yorkshire’s best and most successful captains.
First and foremost, he is pleased that Rashid is prospering for England on their tour of India, where he is presently enjoying a starring role. Going into Saturday’s third Test in Mohali, the 28-year-old is leading wicket-taker on either side with 13 at 28.46.
“It’s good to see him doing so well,” added Gale.
“He’s done well for Yorkshire for a number of years with bat and ball, and he’s proved to us all how good he is.
“Now he is standing up and showing the country and the world what he can do too.
“Hopefully, when he comes back to Yorkshire, he’ll still be in the form he’s in now.”
Such has been that form that Rashid is making a compelling case to be England’s No 1 spinner ahead of Moeen Ali.
Gale believes that goal is well within his grasp.
“He’s really pressing a case to be the main spinner in the side,” he said.
“I guess what’s helping him as well is that Moeen Ali is getting a few runs and Moeen could potentially just play as a batter, so you could play both of them. You can never have enough bowling options, and there’s no reason why Rash can’t play in that particular role.
“You can also see a change of mindset with (England captain) Alastair Cook in the way that he’s using him; at the minute, Rash is his go-to man.”
Should Rashid displace Moeen as No 1 choice, it would give Gale another gap to fill in a side already heavily encumbered by international calls.
However, he is confident that Yorkshire could cover for his absence.
“Selfishly, looking at it from Yorkshire’s point of view, it would be disappointing to lose him, but at the same time we want to provide as many players for England as possible,” he said.
“If Rash does start to be the lead spinner in the team, then we wish him well and we’ll just have to make a plan around that.
“Azeem Rafiq did really well for us last year and Karl Carver is improving.
“We still feel that if Rash isn’t there, we’ve got adequate resources to fill his place.”
Gale believes this is shaping up to be a breakthrough series for Rashid, who looks increasingly at home at the highest level.
He was under pressure going into the tour but has responded so far.
“A few Tests ago, people were questioning his place, but he’s bounced back well,” said Gale.
“He looks confident in where he’s putting the ball, and he’s getting plenty of revs on it.
“He’s changing the opinions of people, and, if he can continue the way that he has been doing, it can be a real breakthrough series for him and he can cement a permanent place in all conditions.
“There’s still plenty left in the tank with his batting in that England team as well.”
Gale knows better than anyone how to handle Rashid.
“The key is not to over-complicate things,” he said.
“You talk about the process with him and not the end result, and encourage him to spin the ball as hard as he can.
“You know at times that he’ll go for a few runs, but you want to keep him in a mindset of trying to take a wicket every single ball that he bowls.”
Gale also had encouraging words for another Yorkshire player, Gary Ballance, who has not featured in the first two Tests.
Ballance was dropped after scoring 24 runs in the preceding two Tests in Bangladesh.
“Gary has had a tough time and hasn’t scored the runs he would have liked,” said Gale.
“But I’d like to see him given another chance before the end of the series to prove what he can do.
“He’s still got a very good record behind him.
“He just needs one score to kick-start his Test career again.”