Adil Rashid conveys the crumble

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Adil Rashid bowls one at the moon

As you’re all no doubt aware, pretty much all DIY tasks can be embarked upon using only a dessert spoon and a hammer. They’re adaptable devices and allow you to make a start, but after a bit you may well yearn for more specialist tools which would enable you complete the job in question more quickly and effectively.

Yesterday King Cricket favourite, Adil Rashid had the worst figures on Test debut and his performance had supposedly highlighted the paucity of spin bowling in county cricket. Today he’s a miracle-worker; the guy who took a five-for on what had up until then been the flattest of pitches, allowing England a highly unlikely tilt at victory.

Why would anyone expect a debutant leg-spinner to take a sackful of wickets in the first innings on what was, after all, a completely flat pitch at that point? Despite what some people seem to believe, pitches that don’t favour seamers don’t automatically favour spinners. Some favour neither. For a nation that’s produced decidedly few wrist spinners, you’d think expectations might be a notch or two lower than ‘relentless perfection from the outset on debut’.

Then came the second innings; a period of the game that had been pre-emptively disregarded as irrelevant by a host of pundits. It baffles us how many people who purport to know about cricket – people who are almost exclusively ex-England players, it should be noted – repeatedly pass definitive judgement on Asian pitches early on in a match. Tests in the UAE frequently accelerate on the fourth or fifth day. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s foolish – perhaps even stupid – to ever conclude that it won’t happen. You can only know one way or the other with hindsight.

Adil Rashid is not a steady, reliable spinner who will keep things tight in the first innings. Everyone knew this in advance but yet many still spent half the match saying: “What’s he doing wrong? He must be doing something wrong.”

Maybe Rashid’s not doing anything wrong. Maybe, like a spoon prising plaster off the wall, he was simply being employed in a task for which he isn’t especially well-suited.

Don’t look for what he does wrong. Look for what he does right. Judge him at an appropriate time. Judge him when you’re eating apple crumble.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Love the link, KC. So old we actually get to see the old hovel. No, not the most recent previous hovel, everyone, I mean the really old hovel.

    You know the one. The place you lived for just a short while when you first left University. When paltry trainees income combined with a lack of access to actual “student dig hovels” so you needed to descend yet further towards a near-destitution hovel before matters improved for you. Or in my case, before the neighbourhood improved for you and then eventually you were able to improve your hovel.

    Actually I’m really just sore that you spotted and mentioned Adil Rashid even before I did. I thought I heard about him and spotted him early, but you actually wrote about it. Well done (said through gritted teeth, followed by a snide remark, “but at least I didn’t make a fool of myself by tipping Tom Smith and Dheeraj Jadhav too.”)

    1. The Tom Smith one was a real whim. Disappointed in Jadhav though. Going to the ICL drew a line under things for him.

      1. Actually, your Tom Smith pick back then was not so daft in my view.

        I saw him bowl in this match; in his salad days during one of Middlesex’s dog years, and remember thinking how promising he looked, although he bowled mostly without luck compared with his colleagues.

        Even with the benefit of hindsight, a 30/30 all-rounder is a seriously useful county pro – he just never kicked on to become exceptional in one of the disciplines. He might have done so in either. His stats are better than those of Chris Jordan, for example, but without the promise of international-level flare in the bowling. And perhaps not so flash in the fielding.

        Or were you talking about the spinner Tom Smith? That would have been a real whim.

        But Rashid has looked like the real deal in the making for years. I thought that leaving him out of the test side in that ill-fated Caribbean tour last winter was the worst of several really poor decisions by the defunct regime. I really hope this tour proves to be the breakthrough for Rashid in the test side. I think his batting could go a lot further with experience at test level too.

  2. I had a good rant on the last thread. I am going to repeat it, which by definition has reduced it to a mediocre rant.

    This is frankly the worst Test match I can remember.

    For a brief moment it exploded into promise, then rapidly imploded into farce.

    What a waste of five days for 22 players, the coaches, the umpires, the ground staff, the commentators, the camera men, the TV producers, the media technical support, the crowd, the viewers and listeners, everyone.

    And pretty much everything that was awful about this test (the soul-destroying pitch, the stupid light rules, the poor over rates) is the fault of the administrators.

    What makes it worse is that you can’t look at this match and think “hey, this proves that Test match cricket is no longer fit for the 21st century and is ultimately a failure as an entertainment medium” – I mean, even this was almost an AMAZING, thrilling, gripping match. The only kind of person who could watch this and honestly believe “yep, this definitively proves that Test match cricket is unfit for the 21st century and is should be laid to rest as a historic but failed entertainment medium” would be cricket administrators. Unfortunately.

    1. False, probably, cricket administrators if they’re against Tests aren’t likely to take it as given that they’re a problem because there are too many runs. It does seem weird though that you can’t have decent bowling in a test without it generally lasting 3/4 days, are the batsmen actually fairly awful, or…?

      In any case, though, that’s at least probably the reason why Adil Rashid is considered a leg spinner.

    2. Lunacy, Bailout. They had floodlights on as well. Shades of Karachi 2000, as Bert has pointed out, although with the new Bad Light rules introduced then the shades weren’t nearly as dark as they were on that occasion. Riaz bowling a bouncer near the end of the previous day (or was it day three? Days 1-4 all merge into one in my memory) probably set the precedent for going off with the light at that particular intensity. Why they ever stopped the rule of going off when the batsmen accepted the offer of the light is beyond me.

      Anyhoo, we move on with this moral victory in the bag and it arrests a poor run for Eng in the UAE (LLL prior to this game) and away vs Pakistan in general (LDLLLL) and was in the wider context a rare stalemate for The Team That Forgot How To Draw Test Matches (WLWLWLWWL).

  3. 5 wickets for an English leg-spinner? Even Ged can’t remember that happening.

    I’d never heard of Tommy Greenhough before today, but I am impressed with a batting average of less than 2. Whoever he was, he should have played more.

    I slept through this entire test, anyway. As I will the others. Stupid time-zones.

    1. Ah, Tommy Greenhough, the greatest wrist spinner the town of Rochdale, nay perhaps even the entire Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, has ever produced. Escamillo Escapillo (of that Parish) will no doubt be thrilled to see that name brought back into the public eye.

      But indeed, Greenhough was before my time. I especially like this quote from his Wikipedia entry: Asked by a honey-toned interviewer how he ought to pronounce his name — “Greenho”, “Greenhow” or “Greenhough” — he indifferently replied, “I’m not rightly bothered.” Classic.

  4. So close. Who was secretly hoping we’d get a repeat of Karachi 2000?

    The best bit of this clip is at about 2 minutes, firstly Moin Khan whinging when his over-rate tactic was ignored by the umpires, then none of the fielders moving from the shot. It was said later that it was so dark that only the batsmen could see the ball, because only they had sight screens.

    1. I missed all the excitement this weekend, but it sounds like another example of cricket shooting itself in the balls.

      Imagine this scenario: it’s the Rugby World Cup final. Australia v New Zealand. 35-35 at 78 minutes. The referee decides it’s getting bit dark so they all wander off and call it a draw.

      The Campaign for No Draws (CND) starts here. Hope it takes off.

      1. We’ve had a pretty good record at not drawing in the last two years or so… we were ‘due’ a good number of draws and using them up on Pakistan in the UAE seems a good place to start.

      2. Enormous balls, Sam.

        Sorry, I should clarify. I don’t mean that your comment is enormous balls, far from it. I mean the use of rugby ball sized balls in cricket. Easy to see in all light conditions, even complete darkness (if they have some lights fitted).

        This could revolutionise cricket. Careful consideration would need to be given to the question of shape, but that aside, I can’t see a single thing wrong with this idea.

      3. There would have to be some inflation (of the balls, arf!) but also the ‘seeing it like a beachball/football’ commentary cliche. If the ball were the size of one of said enormous, inflated balls, what would a player with his eye in and on a hot run of form be Seeing It Like? A Swiss gym ball? A Zorb? A Biodome? The planet Mercury?

      4. “He’s seeing it like the planet Mercury” feels to me like a very Ravi Shastri commentary thing to say.

        Mercury is, after all, the smallest and most difficult to see (from Earth) of the terrestrial planets, so I suspect that even our in-house physicist, Bert, should approve.

        Good phrase, Mike.

        I think we should coin that phrase, even while cricketers continue to play with their minuscule balls.

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