England should consider recalling Adil Rashid after their 340-run hammering to South Africa in the second Test, says Sir Ian Botham.
Rashid took 30 wickets in seven Tests over the winter, against Bangladesh and India, but was overlooked for the first two matches against the Proteas – England picking Moeen Ali and Liam Dawson as their spin options.
Botham says he would retain Keaton Jennings as Alastair Cook’s opening partner despite the Durham star scoring just 44 runs in four Test innings this summer.
But the expert feels England may be best off dropping Gary Ballance, who was recalled ahead of the series to bat above skipper Joe Root at No 3.
“England need to look at a few departments and Rashid springs to mind,” said Botham after South Africa’s series-leveling victory at Trent Bridge.
“You have invested three years in him, he gets 30 wickets in the winter and doesn’t start in England. Maybe you need to bring him back into the side – you would hope he will be hungry to produce.
“It was only a few days ago everyone was saying how brilliant England were – it was a debacle here, a hammering, but there is plenty of time to work things out. There’s not major panic but a little bit of tinkering won’t hurt.
“It would be hard to leave Jennings out as he has played four Tests and has a one hundred and a fifty – that’s not that bad.
“I think Ballance might be under the microscope as in the last 11 Test innings he has had he has averaged 14 – he is a lovely lad but that isn’t good enough and it may be time to move on.
“It shows the gap is getting bigger between county cricket and international cricket – you might score 1,000 runs playing for Yorkshire but it’s different when it’s against Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.
“Selections have been a bit iffy from England and from the outside looking in it seems as though Root said he wanted Ballance to play, while Dawson was Trevor Bayliss’ pick.
“It sounds a bit muddled up to me – it should be cleaner and more straightforward.
“The Ashes is creeping up – Australia will be fired up and ready to hit England with everything and we need to be ready, prepared and settled.
“Some of the senior players also need to lead from the front.”
Watch the third Test between England and South Africa from 10am on Thursday, July 27 on Sky Sports Cricket.