Adil Rashid dismisses fitness fears despite shoulder problem

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Adil Rashid insists he is fit to shoulder the responsibility of leading England’s spin attack at the World Cup even if it is without the support of his close friend Moeen Ali.

Rashid was preferred to Moeen against Bangladesh at Cardiff when England decided they needed only one slow bowler even though the off-spinner had been the pick of their attack in defeat by Pakistan and is the better batsman of the pair.

Moeen was given permission to leave Wales ahead of the game on Saturday to be with his wife, who is expecting a baby imminently, but England were adamant Rashid was always going to play even though Liam Plunkett returned to the attack.

Adil Rashid (L) insists he is fit to shoulder the responsibility of leading England's spin attack

Adil Rashid (L) insists he is fit to shoulder the responsibility of leading England's spin attack

Adil Rashid (L) insists he is fit to shoulder the responsibility of leading England’s spin attack

There may have been an element of England protecting the sometimes fragile confidence of such an important bowler by telling him Moeen had been left out rather than given leave for family reasons but of more concern is Rashid’s fragile right shoulder.

Rashid has had two cortisone injections into the joint and has not always appeared to have his usual snap in this tournament even though he bowled reasonably well in taking one for 64 against Bangladesh despite Cardiff’s short straight spin-unfriendly boundaries.

England insiders fear Rashid may need an operation eventually but are hoping he can get through a World Cup and Ashes summer with the need of just one more injection if it becomes necessary. For now he is happy to bowl on.

The leg spinner has had to have two cortisone injections into his troublesome right shoulder

The leg spinner has had to have two cortisone injections into his troublesome right shoulder

The leg spinner has had to have two cortisone injections into his troublesome right shoulder

‘I’ve always been fit to play,’ insisted Rashid before England headed to their homes for two days ahead of preparations for Friday’s match against West Indies in Southampton. 

‘I’ve had a bit of a problem but it’s getting stronger, I’m getting there, and hopefully it will remain strong throughout this tournament.’

The Yorkshireman admitted it was ‘odd’ to play for England without Moeen, who is such a big influence on him both on and off the field. 

‘It does feel a bit different because we’ve been playing together for a couple of years now but I just had to adjust and do my own thing. Whatever reason he wasn’t playing, it was done in the best interests of the team.’

Rashid was preferred to Moeen Ali for the victory against Bangladesh at Cardiff on Saturday

Rashid was preferred to Moeen Ali for the victory against Bangladesh at Cardiff on Saturday

Rashid was preferred to Moeen Ali for the victory against Bangladesh at Cardiff on Saturday

Rashid, who has been such a key figure in England’s white-ball attack, believes both he and Moeen on his probable return on Friday can benefit from England suddenly having such a fast attack, with Jofra Archer and Mark Wood both hitting 95 miles per hour in Cardiff, Ben Stokes reaching 90 and Chris Woakes not far behind.

‘It’s the first time in a long time we’ve had an attack like this so maybe batsmen will feel they have to target the spinners,’ added Rashid. 

‘If they are being roughed up they might come hard at me and help me pick up wickets. It’s a very good situation.’

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