Australia’s Shane Warne has implored England captain Joe Root to show more faith in leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
Rashid was arguably underutilised in the recent Test series against India, bowling just 87 overs in five matches. Fellow spinner Moeen Ali bowled a hefty 76 in two.
Former leg-spinner Warne, who snared 708 wickets in 145 Test appearances between 1992 and 2007, is hopeful Rashid will be bowl significantly more overs during the tour of Sri Lanka later this year.
‘It’s very important that the captain backs you,’ Warne told ESPNcricinfo.
‘Early on in the series, Joe needs to throw the ball to Rashid. Bowl him first change, or even open the bowling with him if the conditions suit in the second innings. Let him know he’s the country’s number one spinner and that he’s got all the support of the captain. That is crucial.
‘All I know is that, as a young leg-spinner, it was so important to have a captain who would back me no matter what, even when it doesn’t go well. You just know when you’ve got the support of your captain, and when you are an afterthought.’
The 49-year-old Warne backed Rashid to be retained in an England Test squad laden with all-rounders, including Ali, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and Stuart Broad
‘England have got so many all-rounders in their side. People say England don’t need six bowlers, but I like having Ali in the top six. He’s a batsman who plays as a second spinner, so you’ve really got five bowlers plus Moeen. And that gives you the flexibility to keep Rashid, because I still think he’s the best option,’ he concluded.
‘I like having a leg-spinner in your side, because you don’t pick a side just for the first innings. He might not have to bowl much in the first innings, but in the second innings he might pick up a couple of crucial wickets.’