Adil Rashid faced further pressure ahead of his controversial recall to the England Test side for their series opener against India at Edgbaston when it was announced Tuesday he would be the lone specialist spinner in their XI.
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that off-spinner Moeen Ali had been left out from a 13-man squad.
That leaves Yorkshire leg-spinner Rashid as England’s sole designated slow bowler, although his county colleague Joe Root, the England captain, can supplement his top-order batting with occasional off-spin.
England have also omitted uncapped Essex seamer Jamie Porter.
Top-order batsman Dawid Malan remains in the XI, with all-rounder Ben Stokes and Surrey left-arm quick Sam Curran providing seam bowling support to the veteran new-ball pairing of James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the first of a five-Test series starting Wednesday.
Rashid’s recall for his 11th Test but first in England provoked a furious response given he signed a limited-overs only contract with Yorkshire for this season.
Yorkshire and England greats Geoffrey Boycott and Michael Vaughan are among those who’ve slammed the decision to call-up Rashid without him having first played any red-ball County Championship cricket this term.
Former opening batsman Boycott was scathing in his column for Britain’s Daily Telegraph published Tuesday, accusing Rashid of being a “spoilt brat”.
“He should never have been handed a Test recall,” insisted Boycott.
“In two years England have gone around in a circle. By picking Rashid, they are selecting the unselectable: a player who will not play four-day Championship cricket for Yorkshire because his heart is not in it, but he will play for England in Test matches. Absurd? Yes.”
Vaughan had previously labelled Rashid’s selection “ridiculous”, with Rashid responding angrily by saying his former team-mate’s remarks were “stupid”, while suggesting Yorkshire’s less than enthusiastic reaction had been “disrespectful”.
Boycott said Rashid had responded to Vaughan’s comments like a “spoilt brat”.
“Trashing a great England captain and superb batsman does not go down well with the cricketing public,” insisted Boycott, who went into a self-imposed exile from international cricket for three years at the height of his career in the mid 1970s.
“Let me tell Adil that Vaughan will be remembered as one of the greatest England captains and an elegant, superb batsman. In 10 years nobody will remember Adil’s Test match performances.”
Meanwhile England confirmed Jos Buttler as Root’s vice-captain for the Test series.
Buttler was only recalled to the Test set-up by new national selector Ed Smith for the two-match series against Pakistan earlier this season.
But having deputised for England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan in limited-overs internationals, he has now been given a formal leadership position in the Test set-up as well.
Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, had been assisting Root since the start of the last Ashes after Stokes was stood down from the vice-captaincy position following an alleged late-night incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.