Matthew Hoggard tips Adil Rashid to impress for England against South Africa
Former England bowler Matthew Hoggard has backed leg-spinner Adil Rashid to have an impact in the upcoming Test series against South Africa.
Although a regular in England's limited-overs sides, Rashid has struggled to translate his form with the white ball into the longest format of the game and faces a fight to retain his place in the side after a mixed showing against India in the winter, where he picked up 23 wickets.
England have traditionally opted to play just one spinner in home Tests, with Moeen Ali currently the regular choice, but head coach Trevor Bayliss has suggested in the past that he is keen to include a leg-spinner in the side and would be open to fielding Rashid alongside Moeen.
The Yorkshireman has often struggled with control of the ball during long spells and his consistency has counted against him, but following an impressive showing in the ICC Champions Trophy Hoggard thinks he could have a big part to play in the upcoming Test series against the Proteas.
"I think if the weather stays like this, the spinners will have a part to play going forward," he told Press Association Sport.
"He has a chance. He bowled very well in the one-dayers and gives England a variety and something different.
"The thing that helps him is the number of all-rounders we have in the side. They can play with the bowling and balance of the side without really weakening the side so they're in a strong position to pick and choose."
Hoggard, who took 248 wickets in an eight-year Test career, expects a tough battle between the two sides, with South Africa looking for revenge after losing 2-1 at home last year.
"They are two great teams," he said. "South Africa are ranked number two so they have some very strong talent.
"AB de Villiers will be strongly missed in the Test arena and their batting line-up has some questions over it, but the bowling is good."
The former Yorkshire and Leicestershire swing bowler was speaking from Lord's, where he is promoting the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup – set to take place between Surrey and Nottinghamshire on July 1.
Hoggard has backed former team-mate Gareth Batty's Surrey side to shrug off their bridesmaids tag and lift the trophy after successive defeats at the Lord's showpiece.
Surrey have lost to Gloucestershire and Warwickshire in the previous two years, but find themselves with the chance to put that right when they take on an in-form Nottinghamshire side.
"Surrey have been runners-up twice in a row," he said. "They know what it's like to lose and they won't want to feel like that again. They have a great chance of winning.
"He's (Batty) coming to the latter stages of his career, he has been a fantastic captain for them and to cap it off with a win in the Royal London One-Day Cup; he'd be ecstatic with that."
Hoggard played down any suggestion that the young Surrey squad will again be cowed by the occasion, saying: "The final at Lord's is a special occasion, any game at Lord's is a special occasion so it adds to the nerves and adds to the tension.
"Both sides have got enough experience in the changing rooms to go out and make sure they can go and show off their talents.
"I don't think (Jason) Roy or (Alex) Hales will go into their shells!"
He added: "Two fantastic teams have got through. The way Notts got through, chasing a record run chase (371 against Essex in the semi-final) was amazing.
"There's not a bad splattering of international players, some explosive players. Roy, he's class, as is Hales, as is (Kumar) Sangakkara.
"But you look at the bowlers, there are some fantastic bowlers but everyone is talking about the batters because everyone wants to see runs, runs and more runs."
::Matthew Hoggard was speaking ahead of the 2017 Royal London One-Day Cup Final between Nottinghamshire and Surrey at Lord's on Saturday, July 1. Tickets are priced from £30 for adults and £5 for under-16s and are available to buy online now - www.lords.org/final