Northern Superchargers v Welsh Fire: It’s Adil Rashid against Jonny Bairstow in The Hundred

Nobody has seen more of Adil Rashid’s trademark googly than Jonny Bairstow, but the spinner is still eager to pit his wits against his Yorkshire and England team-mate when the pair go head-to-head in The Hundred this weekend.

Friendly rival: England's Adil Rashid, congratulated by Moeen Ali on taking a return catch to dismiss Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan, takes on Jonny Bairstow.
Friendly rival: England's Adil Rashid, congratulated by Moeen Ali on taking a return catch to dismiss Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan, takes on Jonny Bairstow.

The pair have played together at Headingley countless times over the years, wearing the White Rose or the Three Lions, but when they face off today they will be on opposite sides for the first time.

As a Northern Superchargers player, Rashid will be in the familiar surroundings of the home dressing room but, despite being a Leeds local as man and boy, Bairstow will be classed as a visitor, having signed for the Welsh Fire franchise.

Rashid admits there are few people who know his variations better than Bairstow, who has kept wicket to his leg-spin for more than a decade, but is happy to take his chances.

BIG THREAT: Jonny Bairstow, seen in action for Yorkshire Vikings, will be in the visitors' dressing room at HEadingley today. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Rashid commented: “It’s all about having fun and putting on a show for the crowd. I’ve never played against Jonny and I’m looking forward to it.

“He should know by now what I’m going to bowl at him... he’s seen plenty of me so he should know by now.

“If anyone is going to pick the googly, Jonny has the best chance, definitely. It all depends on his mood! He is a destructive player and one of the world’s best. But it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”

Rashid was speaking at the unveiling of a new mural in his home city of Bradford, designed by local artist Adam Duffield in honour of his work in the community and to promote his role in The Hundred.

The 33-year-old is a hero to many in the area and received a touching homecoming after his role in England’s World Cup win in 2019.

When the pandemic struck, he showed his own appreciation, working with the Voluntary Interfaith Programme to help feed disadvantaged children and vulnerable elderly people.

Reviewing his likeness at Bradford Park Avenue, Rashid said: “It’s very nice, it means a lot. As a youngster growing up you never think something like this would be here. It’s nice to get that feeling of recognition, but it’s not just about playing on the field or picking up wickets, it’s about what you do off the field as well.

“I’m trying my best to be a good role model for the youngsters and for the people out there. Not just cricketers but as a whole.

“I feel a responsibility to be someone people can look up to, for them to see that it is possible to make it to the top.

“I also want to push the next generation of cricketers here to come through. That’s what The Hundred is about and it’s what this mural is about, too.”

Shane Warne has tipped Rashid’s new England leg-spinner one-day partner Matt Parkinson to make his Test debut this summer and backed him to play a major role in the Ashes, saying he is “perfectly suited to Australian conditions”.

The Lancashire bowler has enjoyed a turnaround in fortunes after failing to play once while touring Sri Lanka and India at the beginning of 2021, with the 24-year-old impressing in the recent one-day series against Pakistan.

London Spirit head coach Warne believes Parkinson could even make an impact at the Gabba where the former Australia leg-spinning great recorded career-best figures of 8-71 against England in 1994.

Warne said: “I really like the look of the way he bowls. He is a great addition to white-ball cricket, but also I see him playing a huge part in Test cricket, especially in Australia.”