England spinner Adil Rashid says he negotiated a white-ball only contract with Yorkshire because his heart is not in the red ball game at present.
Rashid caused a stir when he and Yorkshire jointly announced last week that he will play no first-class cricket for them this summer, and instead concentrate solely on white-ball fixtures for club and country.
Rashid has played in 10 Test matches – to go with his 87 limited-overs caps – but never on home soil, and was overlooked for England’s Ashes campaign this winter in favour of the younger Mason Crane.
New Zealand vs England
February 25, 2018, 12:30am
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass
The 30-year-old has explained his decision ahead of Sunday’s opening one-day international against New Zealand in Hamilton.
He said: “Last year playing red-ball cricket for Yorkshire, my thought was that if I wasn’t giving 100 per cent then I would be letting the team down and also myself down.
“My mind’s not there – my heart’s not there. I’m letting the team down but also myself down.
“I had to get it off my chest and let Yorkshire know.”
Rashid has not ruled out a return to the red ball game at some point.
“It’s not a permanent thing,” he said. “It’s for this season, to see how it goes, how it unfolds and what happens, to see what my mind says and what my heart feels.
“If it changes, I could be going back to red-ball cricket next season. That’s a long way away, and a lot can change. At this moment in time, I’m very content with what I’m doing.”
Rashid feels he is now free to concentrate on his performances in the shorter formats, starting this weekend.
“This was a choice that I had to make, so by doing that I can be fully committed to white-ball cricket,” he added.
“I’m not thinking of what-ifs. I’m happy with the decision I have made – whether it’s a good one or a not so good one, I’m fully committed to it.
“The enjoyment, the spark, the buzz, all that came into it.
“I couldn’t go through another season doing this. It could affect my performance, my bowling and that could easily rub off into other competitions and white-ball stuff.
“This decision is a very good one.”