Rashid ready to ignite Ashes

Andy Lloyd
THE NOTABLE omission from this year&rsquo;s Ashes squad of Michael Vaughan and Steve Harmison, two of the stars of the 2005 triumph, may have grabbed the headlines, but I&rsquo;m more interested in the role ear-marked for Adil Rashid.<br /><br />The Yorkshire 21-year-old is one of three spin-bowlers in the 16-man training squad and stands a decent chance of being picked for the opening Test in Cardiff, which begins in less than a fortnight.<br /><br />Monty Panesar looks to be the preferred choice if, as has been rumoured, England do go with two spinners, having been selected along with Graeme Swann in the team to face Warwickshire in next week&rsquo;s warm-up match.<br /><br /><strong>DIFFERENT LEAGUE</strong><br />But Rashid is a player I have championed in this column for some time &ndash; and I would favour him over Panesar.<br /><br />The Australians will not have seen the young leg-spinner much before so he provides an element of surprise. Furthermore, he is as an all-rounder and his batting and fielding are in a different league to Panesar.<br /><br />You could argue that, having not yet made his Test debut, Rashid is not ready for such a momentous series. But I believe you never know until a player gets there, and he certainly did not freeze at the World Twenty20, which much also count as frontline stuff.<br /><br />As for Vaughan and Harmison, I think their omission was fair. Their form has just not been good enough to win a recall and you cannot be selected on reputation alone.<br /><br />It looks like game over for Vaughan&rsquo;s Test career, with his rival for the No3 slot, Ian Bell, getting the call. But the former captain will always have the memories from 2005 and retains the respect of everyone in the game.<br /><br />Paceman Harmison has fared slightly better at county level and, though only named in the England Lions party, could yet sneak in if injuries hit Graham Onions or Jimmy Anderson.