Adil Rashid: “I’m still feeling good, I’m still feeling fresh, I’m still motivated to compete” | England cricket team

TThe announcement of England’s squad for Autumn’s ODI World Cup this week brought some shocks and surprises, but it can hardly have raised an eyebrow for Adil Rashid. Eoin Morgan, England’s former white-ball captain, calls him “irreplaceable in the team”; For Jos Buttler he is “the guy who makes things possible”. He is probably England’s greatest white ball bowler and for the past decade he has been England’s top bowler leading wicket taker in ODIs (with a margin of 35), ranking third party in the world (just two away from first place). The only doubt that existed about the 35-year-old being included in England’s World Cup squad was not about this tournament but the next one in 2027 – and even that is given his intention to ‘continue for many, many years’ probably minimal .

He is currently honing his skills and recovering from a minor back injury with the Northern Superchargers in the Hundred, where his team-mates include Ben Stokes, who was added to the England squad after reversing his decision to withdraw from the format , and Harry Brook , who was thereby ousted.

Thanks in part to a spate of rain-related abandonments earlier in the month, the table is particularly crowded and with two rounds of games to go, anyone can still win, which may have helped boost interest: the two games so far played at Headingley have both been watched by almost 15,000 spectators, significantly more than in previous years. “We’re definitely seeing a lot more crowds, more children, more families,” says Rashid. “Many people identify with the Superchargers and therefore have a great love for their local team. To see that value grow every year is a massive thing and to see people who don’t care about cricket fall in love with the game is a big thing.”

Since the T20 World Cup ended last November, Rashid has made 34 appearances in six countries for five teams in four formats, a staggering record, despite being out for four months through injury and not picking up a red ball in anger since 2019. For many white ball specialists, life is a sea of ​​hotel rooms and identical franchises, and in that context, The Hundred, while only a few years old, has become something of a life raft.

“I’ve been there from the beginning, I’ve been here for three years, so you definitely have a certain connection and friendship,” says Rashid. “It can be different with some franchises where you might just play for a year or two and love playing for them, but maybe you don’t have that connection. I think it will always be that way in franchise cricket. You definitely have a much stronger connection with some franchise teams than others because you’ve witnessed a journey, while with other franchises it’s just fast in, fast out, and on to the next. It’s that kind of game, that kind of sport that it’s becoming.”

“A lot of people identify with the superchargers,” says Adil Rashid. Photo: Ashley Allen/ECB/Getty Images

At 35, Rashid could be forgiven for growing weary of that treadmill and the cruel reality of life as a white-ball spinner — “Sometimes you might not bowl well and get a wicket, but sometimes you bowl well and get battered like.” he puts it – but he remains enthusiastic.

“I still feel good, I still feel fresh, I’m still motivated to compete and play at the highest level,” he says. “I’m not looking too far ahead – I like to go game at a time, year at a time, to let things unfold and see where it takes me. If I’m still fit and doing well, hopefully I can keep going for a long time. I still have that love and drive for the game. I think once that has dried up, maybe you have to think about breaking up with it. But for now I love the game. I’m enjoying it, I feel good, I feel strong, healthy and hopefully I’ll continue for many, many years to come.”

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Meanwhile, a search is underway for someone to take over when the day comes when Rashid finally stops acting weird. Given he’s one of 11 people aged 32 or older in England’s 15-man World Cup squad, there’s still plenty of succession planning to do. “I do believe that if we decide to call it quits, the next group of thirty-somethings will pull through,” says Rashid. “There’s definitely talent there and I’m confident that these lads will improve and the level of cricket, the way England played, that wild cricket and the winning and defending trophies will continue. I believe that.”

Rashid names Leicestershire’s Rehan Ahmed – who has played in all three formats by the age of 19 – and Yorkshire’s Jafer Chohan, 21, as promising young spinners whose inclusion in international squads could soon no longer be taken for granted. “Rehan has everything, he has the talent, now it’s about letting him play, explore and enjoy his cricket,” says Rashid. “But there are others coming – offies, leggies, a good group. I think there is good competition among them, they have the will to say: right, let’s succeed in international cricket. It’s good competition, healthy competition.”

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