ADIL RASHID has started playing cricket again — on the driveway at home against his brothers.
The family contests are fun and competitive for England’s World Cup-winning spin bowler and transport him back to childhood.
Turning over his arm is also helping Rashid’s return to full fitness after a year struggling with a shoulder injury.
Now he has his eyes on being around long enough to help England defend the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023.
Rashid, 32, said: “I go on my driveway, play with my brothers, it’s a fun thing. It’s about getting my shoulder fit.
“When I’m at home, I also like to have a cricket ball, spinning it and flicking it from hand to hand.
“We have a good laugh and a good time. It’s the first time we’ve done it for a while.
“I don’t know how long it’s been since my brothers and I actually got together and played in the driveway with a ‘windball’. You couldn’t really play with a cricket ball because of broken windows!
“It helps having brothers of a similar age, we played together as youngsters, it’s how we used to pass the time. It definitely helped my cricket massively growing up.”
Rashid revealed his injured arm is feeling stronger each day.
He said: “Being at home is not as good for strengthening the joint as going to the gym, but I’m using a lot of resistance bands and weights. There’s a way for everything.
“The shoulder is getting better. The white-ball matches in South Africa earlier this year were a big turning point for me.
“I’d had a month-and-a-half off before that trip and worked really hard on my shoulder.
“It paid off because I saw a big difference in my bowling in South Africa compared to New Zealand at the end of last year. The shoulder was a lot stronger and I was bowling as quickly as I’ve bowled in my career.
“I had a couple of injections before last summer’s World Cup and the shoulder wasn’t 100 per cent then. But I wanted to play and Eoin Morgan was top-drawer. He knew the shoulder wasn’t great but he kept backing me.
“I went in with a strong mindset and did a decent job.”
Rashid will only play white-ball cricket this summer and plans to reassess things in September — but a Test return is unlikely.
It means the next two T20 World Cups — scheduled for Australia later this year and India in 2021 — are on his radar as well as the 50-over event in 2023.
He said: “I want to play in the next World Cup. My aim is to play for England for as long as possible — months, years or whatever is possible.
“I have a vision of achieving that and the 2023 World Cup would be lovely.
“A lot can happen in three years in terms of performance, injuries, other players coming in. But it’s something I’d love to do.
“If my shoulder gets stronger, then I can hopefully play for a long time.
“If my mind is set on doing something, I’ll be 100 per cent focused on that.
“I made the decision to play white-ball cricket for the past year or so.
“Once September comes, if I have the motivation and my shoulder is 100 per cent and I feel I can get back into red-ball, that’s something I’d consider.
“But, at this moment, it’s about playing white-ball cricket and looking to perform.”
While Rashid is reluctant to play Test cricket again, his great mate Moeen Ali is poised to make himself available again after a winter away from the longest format.
Rashid added: “He’s a world-class player, a match-winner for England.
“He thought it was best for himself to relax and have some time off.
“Sometimes you need that break. I’m sure he’ll come back into Test cricket.”