IPL New Arrivals: The IPL-wait is finally over for Adil Rashid

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16 Sep 2021 | 11:44 AM
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IPL New Arrivals: The IPL-wait is finally over for Adil Rashid

The fourth-ranked T20I bowler is yet to stamp his authority in franchise-based T20 leagues

He had to wait long, but Adil Rashid has finally arrived to the Indian Premier League. The fourth-ranked T20I bowler has been acquired by the Punjab Kings for the second leg of the tournament, to be held in the UAE from September 19. The 33-year-old is one of the best legspinners in world cricket but is yet to make his IPL debut. The reason is straightforward and Rashid knows that. "Obviously there are a lot of spinners out there, India also got their own local spinners, so I wasn't really expecting myself to be picked."

Like Rashid mentioned, India have a plethora of spinners and the franchises don't generally like wasting an overseas spot on a spinner. Of late, Rashid Khan (Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Imran Tahir (Chennai Super Kings) have been the only two foreign wristspinners who have constantly featured in the IPL. Despite being a key ingredient of England's white-ball success under Eoin Morgan, Rashid has often gone unsold in the auction. The Yorkshire bowler, who had a base price of INR 1.5 crore, wasn't picked in the 2021 auction either but has been brought in as a replacement for Jhye Richardson, who made himself unavailable for the second half of the competition.

A notable absentee in franchise-based T20 leagues

Rashid has represented England in 112 ODIs and 62 T20Is and has claimed 224 wickets. The legspinner has also regularly featured in the Vitality Blast but hasn't played a lot of franchise cricket. Rashid played nine encounters for the Big Bash League franchise Adelaide Strikers (2015 and 2016) and also featured in one game for Dhaka Dynamites (now Dhaka Platoon) in the Bangladesh Premier League 2017, but that's it. Recently, Rashid was the joint-top wicket-taker with 12 scalps at an average of 14.41 in the inaugural edition of The Hundred.

Rashid Khan and Tabraiz Shamsi are the only two spinners who have taken more wickets than Rashid in T20Is since 2018. Rashid surely enjoys more bowling against right-handers but he also has a pretty solid record against left-handed batters. Amongst spinners (top-10 T20I teams) who have bowled at least 25 overs against left-handers since 2018, Rashid (6.8) has the third-best economy after Mahedi Hasan (5.8) and Shamsi (6). The reason why Rashid is good against left-handers is because of his googly. The legspinner has taken 21 of his 62 T20I wickets via googlies and troubled the likes of Virat Kohli and Babar Azam in the past.

Rashid has been around for 15 years but has transformed himself into a different beast altogether in the last four-five years. He has featured in 201 T20s and has picked up 232 scalps at an economy of 7.43 and a strike rate of 17.80. The England spinner has also played seven T20s in the UAE and has scalped 12 wickets at an economy of 5.8 and a strike rate of 12. This tournament will also serve as a perfect opportunity for him to prepare himself for the 2021 T20 World Cup, which will be played in the UAE and Oman just after the IPL.

"I'm really looking forward to it. This is probably one of the best competitions going around in the world. You got the world's best players here. So, for me to be out here just to experience that and hopefully play alongside them, I'm really looking forward to it. The T20 WC is just after this, so to be here now, to gain the experience of these conditions, the atmosphere, the weather, you know hopefully will put me in a good position for the World Cup as well," Rashid told TOI.

How do Punjab use him?

The Kings already have two legspinners - M Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi - and four fingerspinners - Fabian Allen, Jalaj Saxena, Harpreet Brar and Saurabh Kumar - in their squad and it would be interesting to see how Punjab utilise Rashid. The Kings had the worst bowling average and strike rate in the first half of the tournament and that's where Rashid could make an impact. The legspinner can control the middle-overs (7-15) and also bowl in the powerplay if needed. Ashwin and Bishnoi bowled 27 overs between them but only managed five wickets.

Punjab could also play Rashid in place of an overseas quick because of the big grounds in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, the legspinner will have to compete with ferocious allrounder Allen if Punjab would want to play an extra spinner. No matter what, Rashid's presence in the dressing room will surely help someone like Bishnoi, but Rashid too will be excited to work under Punjab's Director Of Cricket Operations Anil Kumble. "Kumble was one of the best leg-spinners in the world. So, I will be picking his brains for his experience and whatever he says about leg-spin will be valuable."

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Indian Premier League, 2021Punjab KingsAdil Rashid

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