Yorkshire have announced the signing of Warwickshire legspinner Josh Poysden on a three-year deal but have stressed that they are still trying to thrash out a new deal for Adil Rashid to stay at the club.
Suspicions that Poysden has been brought in as a ready-made replacement for Rashid, whose call-up by England for the India series when he was on a white-ball only contract caused so much vexation in the Broad Acres, would be wide of the mark because negotiations were well advanced before that thunderbolt left Yorkshire’s plans in chaos.
Yorkshire had initially envisaged that Poysden would be their go-to Championship spinner when Rashid was, by his own choice, unavailable and then could potentially bowl in tandem with Rashid in Twenty20. (The future of Azeem Rafiq, the offspinner who Yorkshire gave a second chance to make the grade two years ago, is yet to be announced).
Now that situation is complicated. England’s national selector, Ed Smith, has indicated that next season all Test players must be available for red-ball cricket, leaving Rashid’s future availability for Yorkshire (or, indeed, any other county) in all competitions no longer as clear as it once appeared.
Yorkshire want to keep Rashid, recognising that he is an important role model, especially in the South Asian communities.
But with finances tighter than ever after Yorkshire committed to the building of a new dual purpose stand for cricket and the rugby operation on the other side of the ground, negotiations will be far from straightforward.
Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon said: “”We are still in negotiations with Adil Rashid regarding 2019 and our complete spin bowling squad will be announced in due course.”
What does seem certain is that Rashid will not play any Championship cricket for Yorkshire this season, enough also to persuade Yorkshire to bring in Poysden, an England Lions legspinner, on loan for Championship fixtures only until the end of the season.
He has already spent one match on loan when he played for Yorkshire in the Roses fixture at Old Trafford after Rashid – rumours about his potential England summons already beginning to swirl – turned down the opportunity.
Poysden will remain available for Birmingham Bears in the Vitality Blast for as long as they remain in the competion – and marked his new deal by producing one of the best deliveries of his career at Edgbaston on Wednesday night, bowling Lancashire’s Steven Croft with one that turned sharply to strike off stump.
Birmingham’s win mean they will carry hopes of reaching the last eight into their final North Group match against Worcestershire at Worcester on Friday night. Poysden will join Yorkshire after the match.
Moxon said: “We are delighted that Josh has signed a three-year contract at Yorkshire and will join us on loan until the end of the season. Following on from Josh’s previous loan move, we believe that his skillset will complement and strengthen our bowling attack in our remaining six championship fixtures.”
Poysden’s chances at Warwickshire – or their T20 alias Birmingham – have been limited despite that Lions recognition. At 27, he has played only 12 Championship matches, taking 27 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls. With the white ball, Poysden has played 47 matches across both formats, but although he has impressive economy rates of 5.96 in List A cricket and 7.53 in T20s his limited opportunity is seen in a total of only 38 wickets.
That has had much to do with the fact that Jeetan Patel, one of the most inspirational figures in the county game, has led the attack at Edgbaston. Poysden now has the chyance to grow away from Patel’s shadow.
Ashley Giles, Sport Director at Warwickshire, said: “Josh is a great lad and every member of the cricket management team wishes him every success in his career. He’s very ambitious and, with opportunities being very limited for him in Championship cricket, this is a fantastic opportunity for him to take with Yorkshire.
“Having been a Bear for five seasons, he leaves Edgbaston with winners’ medals of two major trophies and many friendships in the dressing room.”
Poysden said: “It is massively exciting to be joining Yorkshire, a club with a massive history and lots of top class players. I really enjoyed the one game loan. Most importantly, getting a win in the Roses game was a great way to start my Yorkshire career.”
Poysden will be eligible to play from Sunday when Yorkshire host Worcestershire at Scarborough in the Specsavers County Championship. A ground, incidentally, and against Warwickshire, where Rashid’s career began amid such excitement 12 years ago.
David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.