It might not be entirely fair to judge Adil Rashid on his ability to unfailingly produce magic on demand

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KL Rahul loses a bail (via BBC)

England got to have a go at partnership-breaking when the ball wasn’t doing a right lot today. Everyone had a go and everyone failed and then Joe Root finally gave Adil Rashid a bowl and he got both lads out.

That’s a very simplistic way to describe how things went, but it’s also good to keep in mind. Partnership-breaking when the ball isn’t doing a right lot is a very important aspect of cricket outside England. From time to time it’s actually more important than the ability to concede only 2.1 runs an over.

It’s also worth bearing in mind when you look at Adil Rashid’s Test record. For most of this series, he’s been given just five, six or seven overs an innings. Today he didn’t really get a proper spell until KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant had put on 200. Imagine being a seam bowler treated like that. Imagine what you’d average. The answer is ‘even more than Adil Rashid’.

Rashid generally gets to bowl when things are going badly for England; on flat pitches when batsmen are scoring fairly easily.

There are two ways this can pan out.

  1. He has zero impact and the two set batsmen continue to score runs
  2. He takes a magical wicket and totally reverses the momentum of the game

Even if Rashid were the best bowler in history, the first of those would be way more likely – yet when it understandably happens he is regarded as a failure because there are almost no other circumstances on which to judge him. Perceptions of his bowling seem… unfairly weighted.

Today, KL Rahul batted brilliantly, but he fell to a delivery that appeared to bounce off an invisible side wall. Rishabh Pant batted brilliantly, but he didn’t seem to pick the wrong ‘un and played the ball more up than along.

Adil Rashid turned his arm over and dismissed two centurions. A few overs later England took the new ball and he drifted off back into the outfield.


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  1. Yes, that Rahul dismissal was worth the price of admission alone.

    Not that I paid for admission, nor indeed was I admitted.

    Hypothetically worth the price of admission.

    I also timed my retirement well today. Not Cook levels of fairytale/timely retirement , obvs, but I did retire from all forms of productive labour just a few minutes before that wonderful Rashid delivery that started the victory procession.

    Perhaps I should also point out that my retirement was temporary – I’ll un-retire at sparrow-fart tomorrow morning to catch up with my work.

  2. Nobody wants to watch a predictable leggie, unless the predictable aspect is merely that they are predictably unpredictable.

    Also magic balls are one of the greatest single justifications for the invention of moving-picture capture and the “replay” button.

    Having said that it’s the non-magic balls we tend to judge leggies on, and the magic (or at least, pretty crazy) ones we tend to remember them by.

  3. 1-4! Pah! I’m not picking Dhawan, Pujara and Rahane in any of my selections for the foreseeable. We’ve seen all they can do, and it’s time to see more of Gill, Nair, Agarwal, and many more from where Vihari came from.

  4. Pant’s Taken Down by Rashid

    To be honest, that’s not as good as my Breathless Stuff from Pant earlier, but you all ignored that one.

    1. I didn’t Bert, I just didn’t feel worthy on commenting on such comedy majesty (if that’s even a thing)

      There was quite a lot of dust ’round here today again, I think my eyes must be too close to my bladder

    2. If meant truly, ‘Breathless Stuff from Pant’ without any ‘Pant’ s’ was high praise. The ‘Pant’ s taken down… ‘ was low though, no underwear meant. Just frustrated, 1-4 is a mean scoreline for all the good cricket we played. Just not good enough, is hard to take.

      1. Important innings as it’s pulled up Pant’s average. Without it, and with no other suitable Pants available it was conceivable that this Indian team might have chosen to play their winter tests without any Pants at all.

      2. Think it’s safe to say that most English-speakers are against India ever going Pantless for reasons that may not entirely be down to his ability.

    3. Many of us got your breathless stuff pun, Bert. While I (for one) admired it, I omitted to remark upon the pun because…

      …I didn’t want to come across as syco-Pant-ic.

      (Did you see what I did there?)

      1. Wow, everyone’s coming out of the woodwork now. You all ignored it at the time – why front up now?

      2. A veritable pantheon (did you see what I did there?) of praise for Bert’s pun, as he expressed disappointment at the absence of comment at the time.

        We should probably do the same for Thesmudge’s Hardik pun, otherwise we might subsequently get pandyamonium.

  5. Anderson went past Mcgrath! What time and what planet are we living on? Now, that’s an annoying guy. And cries. What a cricketer!

  6. Yeah so, my captain lost 5/5 tosses. He may have lost his head. What about doing away with the toss? I think that’s a worthwhile idea, regardless of the result and of this series.

    1. The ICC cricket committee has recently considered and rejected the idea of letting the away team decide whether to bat or bowl. They believe the toss to be an integral part of the game’s history and narrative. They have a point.

      But this still leaves test cricket heavily weighted towards whichever team is playing at home.

      When I was a youngster – a long, long time ago – the visiting team got to choose the species of ball to be used for the test series. I’m not sure how big an effect that had…and these days would have…on evening things up, but it surprises me that this simple idea has been allowed to rest for so long without being resurrected.

      1. Is the toss really that favourable to the home side? I would argue that who the home side was made no difference in any of the matches in this series. Lord’s was a bit of a weird one, I think whoever won the toss there would have won the game reasonably comfortably the way that it panned out.

        In the others, the favour was for the team batting first rather than where they came from. And despite that, India (x3) and England (x1) cocked up their batting in the 2nd innings of the match – in all 4 matches, the team batting second had an opportunity to gain a significant 1st innings lead and blew it.

        More competetive away teams is obviously important, but just letting them have an unfair advantage with the toss doesn’t feel right to me. What if it still doesn’t work, let them have an extra player? Plus, I think it will result in home teams either preparing roads that don’t disintigrate at all or lottery wickets that break up from Day 1 (which we all love but might get bored of after a while).

        Ensuring away teams get proper preparation time and standard feels like a better starting point to redress the balance. 4-1 does also flatter England, India were way more competetive than that – their preparation was far from perfect, but the ODI series before the series and a few of their players having a county stint was a start.

      2. Over all test matches, the results are:

        41% won by the home team
        26% won by the away team

        36% won by the toss winners
        33% won by the toss losers

        So by this measure, it would seem that playing at home is a major advantage, while the toss has barely any effect.

        Interestingly, only one team (*) has lost more matches at home than they’ve won.

        (*) Not including Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Ireland, the last of whom has a 100% home losing record.

      3. Being right with stats is usually the best way.

        It should be harder to win away than at home though surely? That’s the point. I think what I was trying to say is that I don’t that in the 4 “normal” Tests the result hinged on the toss. Plus, if you want the closest series possible of course the ideal would be the toss being won by the away side 5 times. But if you give it to them without the need then firstly that seems an unfair advantage, and secondly I’m sure that the 4 pitches would have been very different.

      4. The historic stats perhaps mask a recent trend where teams are more likely to win at home and lose away. Shorter tours, lack of warm-up, yadda yadda.

      5. Historical Context

        346 test matches played in the 1990s: home wins 142 (41%), home defeats 80 (23%), draws 124 (36%)

        459 test matches played in the 2000s: home wins 213 (46%), home defeats 132 (29%), draws 114 (25%)

        346 test matches played in the 2010s: home wins 180 (52%), home defeats 95 (27%), draws 71 (21%)

        131 test matches played in last 3 years: home wins 78 (60%), home defeats 34 (26%), draws 19 (15%)

        ALL TIME: 2281 tests; home wins 935 (41%), home defeats 593 (26%), draws 753 (33%) (including 2 ties)

        So quite a shift in the % won by the home team, which has gradually been drifting up but far more pronounced in the last 3 years, mostly at the expense of draws.

        All of which means, clearly, that I need to do more work.

      6. I don’t get it, Mike. How will you doing more work shift the balance? Wait a second, are you the formless curator that permeates all pitches that one hears a lot about? I am pretty sure I saw a Japanese movie with that theme.

  7. KC adopts the long format in the latest edition of the Nightwatchman, which is dedicated to the Roses match. In his in-depth article KC looks at the future of the Roses match in relation to T20 and the incoming Hundred.

  8. Watch the exact same thing happen to Ollie Stone or Joverton this winter. 3 Tests, 7 wickets @ 37 with the old ball when nobody else wants to bowl and then jettisoned because they average more than Chris Woakes (who I adore obviously, but that isn’t the point).

    Apart from Anderson at the moment, I see good value in picking a completely different attack away from home. But then not being judgemental when the away attack collectively average a bit more more than the home one.

    Rashid is an interesting one in home tests. He seems a absolute luxury when England are consistently picking 6 bowlers plus Root, are usually 100/4 and often the Tests struggle into a 4th day let alone a 5th. But England could quite easily have lost that game without him and Anderson.

    1. Any thoughts on the open-with-Woakes debate? We now need two new openers (sorry KKJ, but that’ll do for now). Is he (Woakes) technically good enough to open in tests as many say? Would that enable us to pick a) more supposedly ‘specialist’ batsmen or b) even more ‘luxury’ players/all-rounders like Rashid? Or would it just lead to the same argument that surfaces whenever a guy batting at 7 gets some runs – namely that he’s ‘wasted’ batting with the tail and should be moved up to 3, 4 or whatever… notwithstanding that some players are actually specialists in marshalling the tail, farming the strike, late lusty hitting (Buttler for example).

      1. After that Ed Smith interview on Sky I wouldn’t discount it. Part of his criteria at the moment seems to be based on chaos theory – do something the opposition isnt expecting and see if it spooks them. Personally, I would rather see the people that bat at 6-9 competing for a place at 6-9, and the players at 1-3 competing for a place at 1-3.

      2. Every time any England player rises above number five, they immediately cease making runs. Chris Woakes’ Test average is 30. We’d suggest that he’d not prove an effective opener – particularly in England.

      1. Crying In The Chapel might be a suitable refrain for Leicestershire and Lancashire fans alike today, albeit for different reasons.

      2. I was going to comment on the sheer improbability of how Lancs had built a 100 run opening partnership in their first innings on Monday. I didn’t as I was worried about jinxing them. I needn’t have bothered. Lancashire’s batting has been appalling this season. Boo.

      1. With Raine effing off to Durham too, it’s just another pointless season. Take a step forward, all the players responsible for that step just move on. Club continues as a retirement home. Bring on the Hundred franchises and shoot Leics in the head. There’s no reason for them to exist.

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