Having made his Test debut against Pakistan in 2015, six years after his first ODI, Rashid has played in 19 Tests for England and has picked 60 wickets at 39.83. His last Test appearance came over a year ago, against West Indies in January 2019, which was also his last first-class match. Rashid is at a crossroads when it comes to his red-ball future.
The 32-year-old has 150 wickets in 102 ODIs, and with two T20 World Cups and the ODI World Cup coming up in the next three years, Vaughan believes Rashid has the opportunity to become the greatest England spinner in white-ball cricket.
“I think the way that Adil Rashid bowls, he needs a Graeme Swann by his side,” Vaughan said. “He is not a spin bowler that will be in the Test team as a sole spinner, he is a second spinner. So when you go to Sri Lanka, when you go to India, you need a second spinner and it’s just whether Adil Rashid desperately wants to do it. If he desperately wants to do it, he certainly got enough talent that he could make his way. He has played 19 Test matches, he averages just under 40 and has got 60 wickets.
“So he’s had quite a few Tests to try and find out in yourself whether you really want to be a Test match cricketer. He has said in the last few years, he has certainly said recently, that he quite fancies coming back in. But there was a period where he didn’t want to play. He pulled out of playing four-day cricket for Yorkshire, which again sends the message to me that he is not 100% committed to the longer format.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 17, 2020
“Nearly 32-33, I just wonder whether at this stage of his career, is he just better of being the best white-ball spin bowler that England can possibly have? He has won a World Cup, could he win England a T20 World Cup in a year and half time, another World Cup in India in three and a half years time. Would it be better for English cricket that Adil just sticks purely to the white-ball game, commits to that and he would do a great service and probably end with 300 ODI wickets, be our greatest-ever by the time he finishes in one-day cricket?”
Rashid, while in conversation with Wisden last year, had conceded that “sorting out” his shoulder was his “top priority”, which Vaughan thinks should be a big enough reason for him to focus solely on white-ball cricket as Tests “might take something away from his white-ball game”.
“By playing Test match cricket,” the former England captain said, “and he has said that his shoulder can’t be great, he has had problems with it and if he plays the longer format, it might take something away from his white-ball game. So I personally think he’s better off just playing in colour clothes, with the white ball, being the best that he possibly can be and English cricket have to look elsewhere for the spin department in Test cricket.”