Alex Hales and Adil Rashid’s white-ball only deals are a concern for first-class cricket, says Nasser Hussain

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has urged the sport's governing bodies to protect first-class and Test cricket as players begin to choose to exclusively play with the white ball

Nasser Hussain says the decision of Alex Hales and Adil Rashid to quit the red-ball game is a worrying sign for first-class cricket.

Nottinghamshire batsman Hales and Yorkshire’s Rashid became the first England players to sign white-ball cricket only deals to take a break from the red-ball game and former England Test captain Hussain is not surprised by their moves.

He told Sky Sports News: “It reflects the changing face of international cricket at the moment. All of these franchises and domestic teams we have, they’re just making business decisions.

“They’re doing the maths – what can I get in a year and they’ve said by giving up red-ball cricket in England they can probably make more money travelling the world playing white-ball cricket.

“It’s a worry for the game, definitely, especially now it seems to be getting younger and younger.

“A few years ago, the likes of (Brendon) McCullum and (Kevin) Pietersen were retiring into an IPL sunset and taking the cash and you couldn’t blame them – it was like a little gold pot at the end of their career.

“Then it got a little bit younger and there were worries about AB de Villiers and some superstars of the game, just drifting away. But now it’s getting even younger – Rashid is 30, Hales is 29.

“The other option would have been to stay, try to fight and get your Test match place back. First-class cricket – in particular in England – should be worried and concerned. It’s been marginalised over the last five to 10 years.

“They play a little bit in April and May and then in September, the weather’s freezing cold and there’s probably one man and a dog watching, and the players have thought: ‘I don’t want to be doing with that, I want some white ball cricket’.”

Asked whether he could see more players following in Hales and Rashid’s footsteps, Hussain said: “I do, simply because given the option of do you want to work half the time, get paid double the money, go round the world playing cricket, see your family quite a bit more and it seems to be more fun.

“Everyone’s talking about T20 cricket – we were here [Eden Park] the other night where 490 odd runs were scored between New Zealand and Australia and it was absolutely kicking off.

“This is what youngsters and the future looks like I’m afraid and I urge the ICC and ECB to keep an eye on first-class cricket, to keep an eye more importantly on Test match cricket.”