DUBAI: Joe Root says leg-spinner Adil Rashid could make a ‘huge impact’ if he makes his England Test debut against Pakistan next week.
Rashid, 27, followed up an unbeaten 51 in the first warm-up match against Pakistan A with figures of 3-53 in the second and Root told foreign sports channel that his Yorkshire team-mate is in the form of his life.
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace has hinted that Rashid could play alongside fellow all-rounder Moeen Ali in the first Test, which begins in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, and Root believes the spinner deserves a chance.
“He’s proven in county cricket for a long time how good a bowler he is,” said Root.
“The way he’s bowled over these past four days is as well as I’ve seen him bowl and I’ve seen him bowl huge amounts for Yorkshire over the years”
“It’s really pleasing to see him in the position he is. I think it’s important that we don’t put too much pressure on him and think that the series edges on his shoulders because it’s going to be a real team, collective effort to take on a really strong side in these conditions.
“I’m sure that if he plays he’ll be thrilled to get his opportunity and make a huge impact as well.”
England lost 11 wickets for 198 runs in reply to their hosts’ 12 for 192 in the second practice match, which came to a close with Jos Buttler in dire need of some runs unbeaten on 39.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was rested for the Royal London One-Day Series against Pakistan after averaging just 15 in the Ashes and Root believes Buttler’s time in the middle will do him the world of good.
“That will give him a huge amount of confidence,” he said. “It’s always nice to get some time under your belt going into a big series in these conditions against a very good attack.
“I’m sure he’ll be very pleased with the way that he played and he can take all that forward into the Test match.
“I’d like to think [he’s not concerned about his own form]; Jos has been a fantastic player for English cricket over the last couple of years.
“He’s making this position his own, if you like, and hopefully that can continue for a long time going forward.
“It’s like anything you’re only ever one score away and I really believe that he’s one of the players who can help drive this England team forward to some really great things.”
England suffered a 3-0 reverse to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in 2012 and while only four of the current squad played on that tour, Root is under no illusion about the size of the challenge that awaits Alastair Cook’s Ashes-winners.
“We’ve proved over the last six months that we can do things that people don’t think we can so we’re definitely confident within the dressing room,” he said.
“We’ve done all the work now in preparation for this series and I feel we’re in a good place. We’re very realistic. We know it is going to be tough and it’s going to be a good workout for us.
“We’re going to have to play extremely well to beat them and we’re definitely capable of doing that if we play at our best.”