Joe Root, England’s Test captain, has said he blames the system, not the individuals, for the growing trend towards specialisation that has tempted the likes of Alex Hales and Adil Rashid to accept white-ball-only county contracts.
But, Root added, there could still be a future for such players to help reinvigorate the fortunes of England’s Test team, so long as the game’s authorities can find a way to restructure the international schedule to enable all three formats to co-exist more easily.
Hales and Rashid both confirmed earlier this month that they would not be turning out for Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire respectively in this year’s County Championship, effectively putting their Test careers on indefinite hold. Rashid, who was overlooked for the Ashes squad despite being England’s leading wicket-taker in India and Bangladesh last winter, admitted this week that he had lost the “buzz” for playing red-ball cricket.
However, Root – who has himself had to sit out of England’s T20 side in recent months in a bid to balance his own priorities in Test and 50-over cricket – believes that the current trends in international cricket suggest that players who stand out in the shorter formats should not be discounted from making an impact in the five-day game.
“Players like Alex and Rash, who get pigeon-holed as white-ball specialists, I think there’s a future for them in Test cricket,” Root told Sky Sports. “You look at how the game has changed in the last five years – with scoring rates and the things you now need to do with the ball – the skills you have to have, a lot of them have come from white-ball cricket.