England’s Adil Rashid – once unhappy at Yorkshire – now credits the club for helping him get his career back on track. Chris Waters reports.
TWO years ago, Adil Rashid publicly criticised Yorkshire and captain Andrew Gale for the way they handled him.
Rashid felt he was not bowling enough and not receiving enough support from the captain and coaches.
Two years on, Rashid could not be happier at Yorkshire nor more glowing in his praise of Gale and the coaches.
The leg-spinner is in the England Test squad and enjoying his cricket once more, something he attributes to the way Yorkshire have helped him since that unfortunate episode.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of what went on (and only those intimately involved can know the truth of it), the upshot of Rashid’s remarks was that the player and club plotted a new way forward.
The results were instant: Rashid hit three successive centuries at the start of the 2013 season, including a career-best 180 against Somerset, and started to get his mojo back.
Last year, aided and abetted by a settled family life and first-time fatherhood, Rashid played an important role in the club’s first County Championship title since 2001. He scored 577 runs at 38 and took 46 wickets at 26, form he then took into his winter endeavours with England Lions, which, in turn, saw him called up for England’s Test tour to the West Indies.
“All the other stuff has gone, it’s in the past,” said Rashid, who apologised to Yorkshire after his remarks appeared in the national press.
“Me, Dizzy (first-team coach Jason Gillespie), Frog (director of cricket Martyn Moxon) and Galey have communicated on what is my role in the team.
“They weren’t telling me, they were asking me what do I feel, what do I want to do?
“I said I want to take wickets and I want to be attacking, and they obviously agreed as they just want me to take wickets and create chances.
“It’s all about communication with the captain, and Galey has been really good with me.
“He understands my game and with experience and as we’ve got older, we’ve got to know each other a lot more.
“He’s helped me massively, along with Dizzy and Frog.
“They’ve given me a very clear role and I’m loving my cricket.”
It is primarily for his leg-spin that Rashid will be picked if England select him during the West Indies trip.
The Bradford-born man is closing in on 400 first-class wickets after launching his career with six on debut in the second innings against Warwickshire at Scarborough in 2006.
However, it was as a batsman that Rashid was actually chosen for that game at North Marine Road, and the debate continues as to whether he is a batsman who bowls as opposed to the other way round.
The man himself – who has scored more than 5,000 first-class runs at 35 – said his own feelings on the matter fluctuate.
“It depends on the day, it depends on the game,” he said. “Sometimes, I feel like a batter who bowls; sometimes, I feel like a bowler who bats.
“Sometimes, I can feel both of those things in the same game.
“The advantage of being an all-rounder is that you always get another chance.”
Rashid continued: “My batting has gone well in the past couple of years.
“There was a period where I was probably concentrating a lot more on my bowling so that kept the batting down a bit, but now it’s very much back to evens.
“Since a young age, I’ve been able to do both, and it’s nice to have two strings to the bow.”
At 27, Rashid is approaching what should be his peak years as a spin bowler – years in which he finally hopes to justify at international level the excitement that attended his arrival on the scene nearly a decade ago.
He believes he has yet to reach his full potential as he seeks to add to a tally of five one-day internationals and five T20 internationals – all of them in 2009.
“I think I’ve developed as I’ve got older and more experienced,” he said. “But there’s still things to develop and things to learn because you never stop learning.
“I’ve still got a couple of years to hit my peak. I’m still learning my game and finding my way.”
Rashid worked on spinning the ball as much as possible during the winter and trying to make the batsmen drive.
He hopes to put that to good use at county and international level this summer and believes Yorkshire can be successful in all three competitions.
“We want to have a go at all of them,” he said. “We’ve got a set game-plan in the County Championship and, hopefully, we can win that again.
“We want to go a lot further in the T20 and 50-over, and with Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch in the side for T20, that’s a massive bonus for us.
“When people play against us and see their names in the team, it gives us an advantage straight away.”