County news May 29, 2012

Rashid dropped by Yorkshire

Adil Rashid, the Yorkshire legspinner, has been left out of the squad to play Northamptonshire at Headingley this week. He has played every County Championship match so far this season but his poor form sees Azeem Rafiq, the offspinner, take his place.

Rashid, 24, has struggled in early season conditions, taking nine wickets at 49.00 and scoring 92 runs in his six matches, including a half-century in the opening match against Kent. By contrast, last season he began in excellent form, taking 11 wickets in the opening match at New Road. In 2008 he took 10 wickets in the first seven matches before claiming 55 in the final 11 games.

Rafiq, 21, last played a Championship match for Yorkshire in 2010 and during that season he was sacked as England Under-19 captain then banned for a month after a Twitter outburst against the coaching staff. He spent last year on loan at Derbyshire, taking eight wickets in three matches. Derbyshire are also the club where Yorkshire's other specialist spinner from last season, David Wainwright, left for. Wainwright has enjoyed an excellent start to 2012 having left Yorkshire due to a lack of first-team opportunities; Rashid being the favoured selection.

But Rashid's stock has fallen after a much-vaunted first five years of his career. A rare English legspinner, a product of Terry Jenner's spin programme, he took 6 for 67 on debut in 2006 at Scarborough to help his side to an innings victory over Warwickshire. A year later he was named the Cricket Writers' Club young cricketer of the year after 43 wickets and 887 runs at 44.05, the year where he returned career-best figures - 7 for 107 at West End - and made his highest score - 157 not out at Headingley.

It appeared 2008 had been a breakthrough season for him, 62 wickets earned him selection for England's tour of India, although he failed to play a match. His international debut came the following summer when he was part of England's World Twenty20 side. He also played in the ODI series following the Ashes and during England's tour to South Africa that winter while Graeme Swann was injured.

But that has proved to be his most recent appearance for England. He has fallen behind Monty Panesar, James Tredwell, Samit Patel, Danny Briggs and Scott Borthwick in the pecking order and now finds himself out of Yorkshire's side too.

Rashid is the second senior player to fall out of favour with the club this season. Ajmal Shazad, the first player from the Asian community to play for Yorkshire, had a disagreement with the management and was allowed to leave to join Lancashire.

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo