In a career spanning 14 years, Adil Rashid has been England’s tireless workhorse who has played a vital role on countless triumphs and even been there on occasions where a harrowing loss struck his nation. We dedicate this piece on a decade and half career of the veteran spinner!

Nine months ago, the night skies over Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) were shining brightly over English Cricket. A nation which has lost all the 3 finals of the Cricket World Cup tournaments it participated in first four decades (1971-2009) has been able to win three of them (2010, 2019 and 2022) in last 12 years. It clearly reflects the tide have turned in last decade or so. 

The success of the England’s limited overs cricket team has been talk of the town; the experts have applauded the brand of the cricket that has been displayed by them. Jos Buttler has been hailed as the most destructive limited over batsman, Jason Roy and Alex Hales have also been applauded for their performances. Ben Stokes, Johnny Bairstow and Moeen Ali’s popularity have continued to soar.  

But amid these shining stars, there is one player who has silently been contributing to the cause of the team and has been a major cog in side’s successful run – Adil Usman Rashid.

Success hasn’t come any easy for Adil Rashid, a point we either miss or don’t take full note of.

After making his international debut at the age of 21 in 2009, Rashid was sent into oblivion for six years.

Not playing for over half a decade despite having not been in the wrong can be devastating especially for a youngster. But Rashid didn’t wither away.

Yet, another setback was on the cards.

In 2012, he was dropped by his county team Yorkshire as well. He was even criticized by then-President of Yorkshire, Geoffrey Boycott who said that Rashid never progressed as a cricketer.

After a period of struggle in 2012 and 2013, he started to return to form in 2014 and soon the international call followed up in 2015. This was the opportunity which Rashid have been waiting for all these years. With Graeme Swann retired and no one able to nail his position, Rashid was given this opportunity. 

It is in this changing dynamic of the English side that the legend of Adil Rashid truly take shape.

This was Rashid 2.0: one that was more experienced, calm and mature. Without any fear of losing his spot, he started to perform in what was a bold and brave “New England”, an English side that changed the way how Cricket was played post 2015 World Cup.

From May 2015-July 2016, Rashid didn’t had any exceptional return; from 3 Tests he had only 8 Wickets at 69.25 while he picked from 25 One day Internationals around 30 wickets.

However, that was at an expensive average of 41.20. In 13 T20 Internationals, he had only 11 wickets to show. 

But England had not only changed their game but also the attitude towards their players. They gave much longer rope to Rashid, trusting his abilities. The rewards started to bore fruit as Rashid ultimately started to give consistent performances. Against India in 2016-17 (away) and 2018 (at home in England) he played 10 Tests, taking 33 wickets at 35.45.

While the numbers were not excellent, but he provided much need assistance to the quicks and whenever the situation demanded he led the attack from front. In 2018, he helped England to clean sweep Sri Lanka in their den. Rashid scored 12 wickets in 3-0 series win, in what turned to be his last Test series; he only played 1 Test after the series.

By early 2019, it was quite evident that Adil Rashid who had 60 wickets in 19 Tests was not much interested in Test Cricket; this has proved beneficial for the team, England for the time emerged as the winners of the 50 overs World Cup in 2019.

While Rashid couldn’t prove to be much successful in the World Cup (11 wickets in 11 matches at 47.81) but yet in a high scoring tournament, he proved pivotal for England’s ambition to be World Cup Champions. 

Since then he had been England’s no.1 spinner who have been crucial to their plans.

It is coincidental that Rashid’s career has gone through a remarkable change. While while England planned him to become a Test ball specialist, he ultimately became their limited overs connoisseur. 

He had become instrumental in their ODI and T20 dominance over the past 7-8 years.

At 35, Adil Rashid is in twilight of his career and would surely love to play vital role in helping England defend their World Cup title in India later this year. He might also like to be part of the team that will defend its title next year in Caribbean for T20 World Cup.

How much successful will he be only time will tell. But what one can be sure of is that his name will go down as one of the finest ODI cricketers that England have ever produced.

Note- image taken from ICC Twitter handle


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