Web Sify
Follow us on
Mail
Print

Pak-origin leggie England's best prospect

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Sat, May 10, 2008 11:01 hrs
sports

Southampton: Adil Rashid is one of English cricket's hottest prospects but there is more pressure on him than most because he has a rare quality for his country - he bowls leg-spin.

Rashid, 20, is playing for the England Lions - a team made up of Test-match prospects - against the New Zealanders. The Yorkshire all-rounder echoed the guarded sentiments of those around him by downplaying an England call-up.

"It would be a dream come true but I have to perform for my county first," Rashid said in an interview. "If I look too far ahead things can go wrong.

"I'm a down-to-earth character and if somebody says I will be playing for England soon I won't think too much about it and will get on with my game."

There has been a dearth of quality leg-spinners globally though Australia had Shane Warne, India have Anil Kumble and Pakistan have Danish Kaneria. Not since 2000 have England been able to select a leg-spinner when they picked 21-year-old rookie Chris Schofield and Ian Salisbury.

Rashid, Bradford-born with Pakistani origin, could soon end the wait, though his mentors want to ensure he does not become 'the next Schofield'. The then Lancashire player was released by his county four years after his Test debut.

"Everybody's dream is to play for England and in the Ashes," Rashid said. "But Yorkshire want to protect me and don't want to expose me too early.

"You see cricketers aged 19 or 20 on their debut and sometimes they don't do so well and can go down very quickly. They are trying to prevent that happening to me."

Special: Indian Premier League | IPL 2008 Match Schedule

ROLE MODEL

Rashid, who considers himself a role model to young British Asians, is surprised at the pace of his career development since July 2006 when he claimed 6-67 against Warwickshire on his first-class debut. Two weeks later he scored 114 and took 8-157 for England Under-19s against India.

He has been coached by Warne's mentor Terry Jenner for the last five years and Rashid is grateful of his expertise.

"He's been a great help," said Rashid. "He helps me technically more than anything. It's exciting to be working with the man who coached the best leg-spinner ever."

Rashid approached Warne for advice last year after Yorkshire played his Hampshire team in the county championship. It was their first conversation and Rashid will never forget it.

"We spoke for 20 minutes after the game about leg-spin," Rashid said. "He told me how he tries to react when things are not going so well and how to work out a batsman. He was a really good guy."

Rashid knows he has a long way to go before he reaches Warne's level but many observers see the potential.

"Adil is a very talented young player but needs more county cricket before he will be ready for international cricket," Yorkshire coach Martyn Moxon said. "He needs to be left to play his cricket.

"The problem is that because we are so desperate in this country to get a leg-spinner playing, when a youngster like Adil comes along we can't wait for it to happen. But he needs to be able to develop at his own pace."


blog comments powered by Disqus
most popular on facebook
talking point on sify sports