Adil Rashid called into England World Cup squad

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid was today called into the England World Cup squad as a replacement for Michael Yardy.

Yardy left the sub-continent this morning after admitting he was struggling to cope with depression.

The selectors have wasted little time in turning to Rashid with the move having also been given the green light by the ICC event technical committee.

Rashid, who is currently in the West Indies with England Lions, is due to arrive in Colombo on Saturday although it remains to be seen whether he will be in contention to play in the quarter-final clash with Sri Lanka.

National selector Geoff Miller said: "We have been closely monitoring Adil's progress over the winter and he will have benefited from being part of the Lions tour in the Caribbean and his recent experience in Australia where he played a key role in helping the Redbacks win the Big Bash T20 competition.

"His inclusion will provide us with a different option in our bowling attack and I am sure Adil will be delighted to be joining the squad at such a crucial juncture in this Cricket World Cup."

England team-mate Ravi Bopara today hailed Yardy for having the courage to speak openly about his depression.

Bopara explained that team manager Phil Neale sent a text message to the whole squad this morning to tell them Yardy was returning home and why. The 30-year-old slow left-armer has become the fourth England player to begin but not finish this tournament - after Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen and Ajmal Shahzad all earlier succumbed to injury.

"I only just found out this morning. There was a group message sent round for everyone to find out," said Bopara, who had become aware all was not well with Yardy.

"I noticed over the last day or couple of days that he wasn't 100% Michael Yardy.

"Normally he's quite bubbly and quite a busy character. But he hasn't been so busy the last couple of days - so I did notice something.

"But I didn't realise that it was to the extent that he needed to go home.

"I think players should be open about it anyway, because it can be a big problem. It's not a minor issue, something that you can look upon lightly.

"It can affect someone quite badly; it can affect their life.

"So you should be open about it, and I'm glad he has been."

Yardy's state of mind has become apparent in the same part of the world where Marcus Trescothick encountered similar difficulties, and had to return home from a tour of India five years ago.

England have had to get by without the prolific opening batsman ever since.

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board revealed Yardy's departure, and the reasons for it, today.

It read: "The decision was taken in close consultation with the England medical team after it was agreed Yardy should return home immediately to receive the best possible advice and support as he seeks to overcome an illness he has been managing for a prolonged period of time."

The Sussex captain said: "Leaving at this stage of a World Cup campaign was a very difficult decision to make, but I felt that it was the only sensible option for me and I wanted to be honest about the reason behind that decision."

Yardy, who is married with two young children, added: "I would like to wish the squad all the very best for the game on Saturday.

"I would appreciate some privacy over the coming weeks while I spend time with family and close friends before what I hope will be a successful season for Sussex."

Hugh Morris, the ECB's managing director, said: "I would like to offer my full support to Michael on behalf of everyone involved with the England team and the ECB.

"Michael has been an integral part of the England set-up in recent years - and while he will be missed in the knockout stages of the World Cup, our priority now is to ensure that he returns home to his family and is able to spend time recovering with a strong support network around him."

Yardy has played his entire career with Sussex, and their professional cricket manager Mark Robinson has pledged to do everything he can to help him.

In a statement, he said: "Sussex are very proud of Michael Yardy and very supportive of his decision, not only to come home but also to be prepared to go public with the reasons.

"He's always been a person admired for his utmost honesty and integrity, and his courage in dealing with this issue emphasises that.

"As captain and one of our leading players, we'll give him all the time and all the support necessary so that he can continue to lead this club forward.

"As a club we request that everybody, including both supporters and the media, respects his privacy as he looks to spend some time with his family - having been away for five months.

"In due course, Michael will make a statement - and in the meantime the club, its members and supporters wish him a speedy recovery."