22 December 2008

The great debate: Is Adil Rashid ready for international cricket?

At the time of writing, England’s premier spinner Monty Panesar is struggling for form a little bit. There is a possibility that by the time a lot of you have read this he has taken several wickets in India’s second innings in Mohali. However, considering how confidence drained he has looked in recent weeks – I doubt it.

This poor form from Panesar has got people talking about the possibility of him being dropped from the side. It has got people talking about a certain young spinner from England’s domestic game that could well get the nod sooner rather than later. I am of course referring to Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid.

The 20-year-old – who has travelled to India this winter as part of the England test party – has consistently impressed for his county in the last couple of years. His impressive displays were rewarded back in September 2007 when he was named as the Cricket Writers’ Club 2007 Young Cricketer of the Year.

The reason he has stood out from the rest is that he is a leg-spinner. This in itself is a rarity in English first-class cricket. Not only is he a leg-spinner, he is one that is taking wickets. This goes beyond a rarity in English first-class cricket. Therefore, there was great hype about Rashid from an early stage.

The youngster hasn’t just shown potential with the ball though as he has confirmed his status as a genuine all-rounder with some fine batting displays for Yorkshire. He scored a century for England under 19’s against India in 2006 and followed this with his maiden County Championship century in 2007. Overall, it was fairly obvious why people were getting excited about this young man and the cricket odds certainly expecting him to alert the England selectors before long.

In terms of this international recognition, there has been call ups to the ‘England Performance Programme squad’ and earlier this month he travelled with the full test squad to India, without being an official member of the travelling party.

All things considered, it seems that England are aware that he is talented. However, they are very cautious about throwing him at the deep end too early. Some might say that are being too cautious. Surely if he is going to have a successful international career, he will be capable of performing now?

As much as the Australian model is becoming increasingly unfashionable to follow, I am pretty sure they would have thrown him into the test team by now. Get him involved early and make sure he knows that he is part of the team’s plans.

By consistently involving Rashid in the test set-up without actually playing him, the selectors are saying to the player – ‘we like you, but you are not ready yet.’ Is this going to affect Rashid in a negative manner? If he suffers a dip in form, he is going to feel further away from international cricket than ever before. Then, his confidence will dip and his future performances may decrease.

In fairness to the England selectors, they were right not to select him as an 18-year-old a couple of years ago. This could have unsettled his development a great deal. Now though, Rashid is ready to be called upon. As soon as England decide that Panesar needs a rest or that Rashid is capable of filling the ‘all-rounder’ slot in the team – the spinner is ready in my opinion.

I am excited about what he could bring to the England team and just hope that the selectors don’t delay showing faith in him too much longer.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting


Soulberry said...

Rashid was here with the Lions. Overall he did better than Monty with a couple of useful innings and two good spells.

Hope to see him soon. Panesar has been dull this tour. Maybe he isn't match fit.

Soulberry said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.