County news May 30, 2012

Rashid the one to blame - Boycott

Myles Hodgson

Geoffrey Boycott, Yorkshire's new president, has risked alienating another British-born Asian player from the club by urging Adil Rashid to take responsibility for his own actions after being dropped for the first time in his county career.

Boycott has revealed the growing frustration at Rashid's performances, which have earned just nine wickets from six championship appearances this summer. His comments come just weeks after Ajmal Shahzad became so disillusioned at Yorkshire that he was released from his contract and joined Lancashire on loan until the end of the season.

Rashid's poor form prompted Yorkshire to omit him from their County Championship match against Northamptonshire at Headingley. It is the first time since he established himself in the side over five years ago that Rashid has been dropped and gave an opportunity for Azeem Rafiq, Yorkshire's emerging young offspinner, to make his first championship appearance for Yorkshire since 2010.

"He's never progressed, that's the sad part," Boycott said, speaking at the opening of Yorkshire's new club shop. "I think there are a lot of people in English cricket who wanted to have a legspinner playing for England but it's not about the type of bowling, it's the quality of bowling.

"You can't just pick people because they're legspinners. You have to pick the quality, that's what the England selectors are doing now. The kid may be able to bowl legspin, but you've got to drop it on a length to cause problems for a batsman and you can't be too expensive. Otherwise, the scoreboard rockets around and you can't control the game in the field."

Instead of meeting up with Yorkshire's first team, Rashid was sent to in a second team Twenty20 match in Bradford yesterday, which represents a stunning fall from grace for a player once regarded as a future England Test bowler and was included in their squad to tour India in 2008.

After an overhaul of their coaching structure, Yorkshire had high hopes for Rashid this summer and Jason Gillespie had encouraged him to be more attacking in his bowling following his appointment as head coach.

Rashid, though, has made little improvement from last season, where he had again fostered optimism by his part in South Australia's triumph in the Big Bash League. He began impressively with 11 wickets at Worcester but finished the summer with 39 wickets from 16 matches. It has prompted obvious questions about why his career and development has stalled.

"I don't think he has been mis-managed," Boycott explained. "It's easy to blame other people isn't it? You can always say, you didn't pick me enough or it's the coaches fault or you picked me too soon for England. You can throw out all the things you want, but in the end, it's up to you.

"You have to remember that cricket is an individual game within the framework of a team. When you're out batting, there's nobody on the end of a phone telling you how to play, you know. You've got to do some thinking yourself.

"You can help people but I'm not a great believer in the culture of blaming others. I don't believe in that culture. We have too much of that in England. Why not take responsibility yourself. Put your hand up and say 'hey, it's up to me, nobody else'."

Boycott had more encouragement for Jonny Bairstow, whose innings at Trent Bridge during a hostile spell from West Indies' fast bowler Kemar Roach has prompted many commentators to claim he has a weakness against the short ball.

"I don't think he's got a weakness - he's had one innings, so it's unwarranted," Boycott insisted. "I think he's very talented, but he's just a young kid and he's got a lot to learn. He knows that as well, he's not ahead of himself and he's quite clear about what he has to do. We've all had hiccups and problems but he's a young kid and to label him as having problems after one knock is grossly unfair."