Times look good for the England bowling attack at the moment. Stuart Broad has just been named the Number 1 Test batsman in the world on the back of his exploits in South Africa, there has been a magnificent return to form for Steven Finn, and now we have the added bonus of seeing Adil Rashid performing really well in the Big Bash League, in Australia.
Rashid has enjoyed a highly successful time with his franchise team, the Adelaide Strikers. The Yorkshire born spinner finished the group stages in the Big Bash as the top wicket taker with 15 wickets, at an average of 13.20 a wicket, and with an economy rate of 6.38, perfectly reasonable stuff by T20 standards.
Rashid has basically been unplayable at times during the 8 group matches (to date), and all this couldn’t have come at a better time for Rashid and England. The World T20 starts in March, and there is also the prospect of Rashid now taking part in the Indian Premier League when that gets under way in April.
At the moment India are favourites to win the World T20, this is partly down to home advantage with the spinning pitches, all of which will surely make Rashid – and maybe even England – a major threat in the tournament.
India are currently a best price of 7/2 with Paddy Power to win their 2nd T20, while England are outsiders at a large looking 8/1 with 888 Sport (who are offering treble odds to new customers here, meaning you can get 24/1 on England).
In an England shirt Rashid has previously flattered to deceive. Surely his Big Bash experience will have given the confidence to believe he can reproduce this form on the international stage, and England will be hoping he can take that into the World T20 in India, on potentially spinning pitches, in March.
There is also the prospect that Rashid could get a recall to the Test team, with a 5 match Test series coming up in India towards the end of 2016.
Although he bowled a brilliant spell during the 1st Test in the UAE against Pakistan at the back end of 2015, Rashid didn’t follow that up in the 2nd and 3rd Test, finishing the series in disappointing fashion, and then getting left out of the next England tour to South Africa.
Rashid’s stint in the Big Bash seems to have revitalised him though. Under the guidance of his Yorkshire mentor, Jason Gillespie, Rashid has taken Australia’s franchise tournament by storm.
Could this be the turning point for him? Let’s hope so. On the downside, I do hope that the last few months don’t see Rashid pigeon holed as just a one day specialist. I still believe he could be a great player in the Test arena.
If you look at the example of Graeme Swann, he didn’t break back into the England team until the latter stages of his career, and he had a decent few years at the top. Rashid will only be 28 in February, so he is still relatively young in spin bowling terms.