Planning to launch an all-out attack for promotion

ADIL RASHID has revealed he is not going to lose any sleep about conceding runs this season – provided he takes the wickets that help fire Yorkshire back into the County Championship First Division.

The leg-spinner said his chief focus would be trying to dismiss batsmen rather than worrying too much about restricting the scoring.

The 24-year-old has been encouraged to be aggressive by Jason Gillespie, the club’s new first-team coach, who represented Australia for many years alongside leg-spinner Shane Warne, arguably the greatest bowler in the game’s history.

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Warne combined penetration and parsimony as never before but was fundamentally a hostile competitor, whose default setting was always to attack.

“Dizzy wants me to be aggressive, to spin the ball as much as possible and to try to take wickets,” said Bradford-born Rashid.

“My aim this season will be wickets, wickets, wickets.

“Forget about the number of runs I go for.

“Some days it will go my way, some days it won’t, but that’s part and parcel of cricket.”

Rashid will surely benefit from greater clarity of purpose after a disappointing season last year.

He was Yorkshire’s second-highest wicket-taker in the County Championship with 39 at 43.38.

But he played all 16 games and his average represented his worst seasonal return since he debuted for the county in 2006, bursting on the scene in unforgettable style with a match-winning, six-wicket haul against Warwickshire at Scarborough.

However, Rashid feels that both he and the Yorkshire side in general were caught between two stools last year in terms of overall bowling strategy.

“I think, for the whole team last year, there was a bit of a two-minds thing going on as to whether to attack or bowl defensive,” he said.

“I don’t think we had a clear mindset, a clear plan, and things didn’t go well for us collectively.

“We’ve got to put that right this season, and it certainly helps from my point of view to know exactly what is expected of me.

“My job is to take as many wickets as possible, and that’s what I’ll be trying to do.”

Although Rashid struggled last term, he remains an outstanding prospect whose best years are assuredly ahead of him and a potential linchpin for the county not only with the ball, but also with the bat.

In 75 first-class games for Yorkshire, Rashid has scored 3,096 runs at 34.78 and taken 249 wickets at 33.68, statistics that put him in the category of genuine all-rounder.

What he needs now – and what Yorkshire need generally – is greater consistency in all departments.

To that effect, he has been working hard during the winter with Jack Birkenshaw, the former England off-spinner, in an effort to bring added stability to his game.

“I’ve been working hard with Jack Birkenshaw on my bowling action,” said Rashid.

“It’s basically been fine-tuning things and trying to keep everything as smooth and simple as possible.

“I feel as though it’s really helped my game, and, hopefully, I can take that on now into the new season and beyond.

“Personally, I’m looking for an exceptional season with the bat and the ball, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Rashid concedes Yorkshire’s players will have a point to prove when the campaign starts tomorrow. Kent, with former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams as their head coach, are the visitors to Headingley as Yorkshire begin life in Division Two of the Championship following the blow of relegation.

“There’s a real desire to put things right as a team this year,” said Rashid, who has played five one-day internationals and five Twenty20 internationals, all of them in 2009.

“As a team, we feel we have something to prove because we want to bounce back from a below-par season to have a really good one this time around.

“We were very disappointed to go down in the Championship and also with the fact that we didn’t make an impression in the one-day competitions.

“This year, we want to make amends and that’s the big aim and challenge for us now.”

Rashid accepts he must raise his game and is confident he can recapture the form of previous summers. He showed what he is capable of in 2008, when he took 65 first-class wickets for Yorkshire at 31.83, and again in 2010, when he captured 57 at 31.29, figures which propelled him into the England set-up.

“I’ve been playing for about six years now and nearly every year I’ve had a good year,” he reflected.

“Things didn’t quite go to plan last year, but that’s gone now and I want to look forward.

“I don’t really have any international focus at the moment because my only focus is Yorkshire.

“If I perform well for Yorkshire, then we’ll have to see what happens after that, but Yorkshire is my No 1 priority.”

Tomorrow: Jason Gillespie and Gary Ballance interviews.