Rashid produces display of both subtlety and strength

IT will be 10 years in July since Adil Rashid made his first-class debut at Scarborough against this week's opponents.
Yorkshire and England's Adil Rashid (Picture: Kamran Jebreili).Yorkshire and England's Adil Rashid (Picture: Kamran Jebreili).
Yorkshire and England's Adil Rashid (Picture: Kamran Jebreili).

The then 18-year-old leg-spinner burst on the scene with figures of 6-67 to help Yorkshire to an innings victory.

In the intervening decade, Rashid has developed into a high-class all-rounder, one whose first-class batting average (35.32) exceeds his bowling average (34.96), the time-honoured benchmark of quality.

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It is easy to forget that Yorkshire actually picked him primarily as a batsman for that game at North Marine Road, and there have always been those who believe that Rashid is a batsman who bowls as opposed to the other way round.

In truth, the Bradford-born man is adept in both areas, a fact acknowledged by England, who have selected him 46 times across all formats. That only three of those appearances have been in Tests, however, is an anomaly that some of us find hard to understand, but Rashid is not only an all-round cricketer but an adaptable one, a player who can tailor his game to whatever is needed.

On another rain-hit day at Edgbaston, where 87.3 overs have been lost at the halfway stage, Rashid once again demonstrated his value to Yorkshire, scoring 63 as they lifted their first innings total from 177-4 to 368-9.

In keeping with the visitors’ positive approach (Yorkshire scored at more than four runs an over yesterday to try to make up for lost time), Rashid’s runs came from 104 balls and included nine fours, the majority executed with a wristy flourish that made one wonder whether he was brandishing a wand instead of a bat.

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No innings by Rashid is unattractive if it extends for any length of time, and there was entertainment aplenty for the sparse and shivering crowd.

So flexible are Rashid’s wrists that he hardly seems to require much forearm strength, although he is by no means totally reliant on touch.

There was a power to his strokes yesterday that betokened plenty of muscle on a diminutive frame, strokes that blunted a Warwickshire attack that was not as dangerous as it was on day one.

For that, though, Yorkshire deserved credit, knocking the bowlers off their line and rotating the strike at every opportunity.

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No play had been possible before lunch beneath slate-grey skies, from which fell frequent showers blown by blustery wind.

When the action began at 1.30 in contrastingly glorious if fleeting sunshine, Yorkshire lost an early wicket when Jack Leaning was caught behind off Chris Woakes having added one to his overnight 50.

Leaning had raised 102 for the fifth-wicket with Gary Ballance, who also resumed on 50 and increased his score to 68 before prodding at a ball from Keith Barker that ended up in the gloves of wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.

Next ball, Ambrose dropped Liam Plunkett off Barker, a miss that the Yorkshireman rammed down the home side’s throat by duly bludgeoning Barker for three successive boundaries. Plunkett, who scored his maiden Championship century last week, had contributed a breezy 26 when Ambrose finally caught him off Rikki Clarke, a dismissal that left Yorkshire 252-7 and Plunkett one shy of 4,000 runs at first-class level.

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Rashid, who added 43 with Plunkett inside 10 overs, found another strong ally in Steve Patterson, who made an unbeaten 62, his highest first-class score.

Patterson is hardly the worst No 9 that ever drew breath, as Fred Trueman might have said, and he proved it by attacking with even greater gusto than Rashid, with whom he added 91 in 20 overs.

The pace bowler rode his luck at times on his way to fifty from 62 balls, but he also played some splendid strokes, twice cover-driving Barker to the boundary and latching on to anything short from Boyd Rankin.

After Rashid was bowled by Woakes, an offside boundary off the same bowler carried Patterson past his previous best of 53 against Sussex at Hove in 2011.

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Jack Brooks gave Ambrose his fourth catch when Barker found the edge with one that lifted, and the Yorkshire innings should have ended at 355 only for Varun Chopra to spill last man Ryan Sidebottom at first slip off Woakes.

It was the sort of chance that a fielder does not want coming to him in the dying stages of a bitterly cold April day, and Chopra spent the next few minutes wringing his fingers.

As it was, Yorkshire’s innings was still afoot by the time umpires Nigel Cowley and Jeremy Lloyds finally decided that the light was too bad to continue.

They inspected their light meters from all angles with the gravity of a pair of antique dealers trying to verify the validity of diamonds, before finally taking the players off.