Today we have a ‘player spotlight’ piece by guest writer Michael Hall. Below he defends a player that often splits opinion. Do you agree that Rashid can become an integral part of the England team in all formats?
In my view Adil Rashid is a fine international cricketer and deserves to have a full central contract covering all forms of cricket. I believe he should be a regular member of the Test team and be used predominantly as an attacking strike bowler.
I realise my view is not universally shared. If anything it’s contrary to the vast majority of England cricket supporters. I must also confess that I’ve always been a fan of Adil – ever since I first saw him bowling for Yorkshire at Scarborough against Middlesex early in his career.
Although Rashid bowls relatively slowly, this enables him to get lovely loop and dangerous dip. He can deliver the most wonderful deliveries that flummox even world class batsmen. Things happen when Adil is bowling. And that’s the bottom line.
As a long-term supporter of Yorkshire, I also think the criticism (and outright venom) directed at him is unfair – especially when it comes from fellow Yorkshire fans. I hope that now he’s signed a new one year contract, which commits him to playing red ball cricket too, that difference can be put to one side and people will judge him as a cricketer more objectively.
Adil is a proven international quality cricketer. His bowling average in one day internationals is a wicket every 31 runs. That’s very respectable. And his average in T20s is an admirable 29 with a strike rate of 22.5; therefore he has become a valued member of Eoin Morgan’s teams. It’s obvious that Morgan trusts him, and this helps him to perform consistently well.
Although his strike-rate is respectable rather than miserly, the fact he takes wickets slows the innings down in general. What’s more, he often gets the opposition’s best batsmen out. He has a wonderful orthodox leg break, a good straight ball, and a more than useful googly he lands far more often than not. I was delighted this season when he took Virat Kohli’s wicket in two of the three ODIs.
When I first heard speculation that Adil was being reconsidered for the Test team I thought there was no chance. England selectors are normally too conservative to pick leg-spinner and give them a fair go. I believe Ed Smith’s bravery, however, will be repaid. After all, he has made useful contributions in his 15 tests thus far. He even performed respectably in India – a country where even Shane Warne struggled somewhat.
Once Adil settles into the side I believe we will see the best of him. It’s hard to judge him on championship form alone as domestic first class matches have been largely pushed to the periphery of the season when conditions rarely suit him. The Championship can no longer be relied upon as the sole arbiter of who is the best spinner in the country.
Even so Adil’s “red ball” statistics are again very respectable for a spinner playing at Headingley. He has taken 500 wickets. He has won two county championships. Plus he’s excellent at “hoovering up” the tail – an art England’s other bowlers can’t seem to master. This quality is often overlooked because spinners are usually expected to keep things tight.
Adil, however, is a different kind of spinner – an attacking one – and there’s no finer sight in cricket than an attacking bowler, whether that’s Malcolm Marshall or Shane Warne. Things always seem to happen. I am not trying to suggest Adil Rashid is at this level, but I do believe he could be a good Test Cricketer who gives England another way of winning.
His performances this summer have been promising. On the last day at the Oval everyone was beginning to get excited/worried that India might win whilst Rahul and Pant were making hay. Adil got them both within a few overs of being brought on. The delivery that got Rahul used the footmarks brilliantly and I believed the fear of receiving a similar delivery induced Pant into a rash shot.
Adil can really spin the ball. He does not rely on drift so much, but his standard leg-break is dangerous, his googly provides good variation, and he bowls a quicker and flatter ball to vary his line and pace. What’s more, Adil is now at an age where we can expect him to mature. He is now 30, with experience behind him yet plenty left in the tank. He could become a real asset to the Test team, and his performances in ODIs and T20s proves he has the temperament to cope with pressure and big occasions. I just hope that Joe Root uses him the right way, shows faith, and builds his confidence.