Adil Rashid hopes to be handed further opportunities as a new-ball bowler in Twenty20 cricket after silencing 67,000 Indian supporters.
England’s eight-wicket win on Friday was the first time Rashid has opened the bowling in international cricket and the tactic paid off handsomely. His removal of Virat Kohli for a fifth-ball duck was one of three strikes in the power play as his wiles – and the pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood – set the match on its course.
Rashid was given just a couple of days’ notice about the possible deployment of this plan by Eoin Morgan but after working with Jason Roy in the nets – something which also benefited the opener before his quickfire 49 in the resulting run chase – the Yorkshireman is very much open to a repeat.
Speaking before the second Twenty20 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, where another bumper audience is expected, Rashid said: “The Indian crowd are very passionate and it’s nice to get the big players out early doors to keep them quiet. You can actually hear yourselves talk to each other and that’s not something you can generally do in India when you have 70 or 80,000 [people] screaming.
“Bowling with the new ball is new for me and hopefully I can do it again. [Whether it is] the first six overs, middle overs or at the death, I’m always looking to develop. Whatever the captain needs from myself and for the team.”
This attitude should come as no surprise, with few captain-bowler relationships in world cricket as simpatico as the one enjoyed by Morgan and Rashid. The pair were briefly teammates during the 2009 World T20, but it was when they were reunited at the start of England’s white-ball revolution in 2015 – the selectors having been instructed to find an attacking wrist-spinner – that the chemistry truly began.
“It’s his presence,” said Rashid. “And the biggest strength from him is his emotion – he doesn’t really show any. If things are not going well, you will never see him down or waving his hands around. Or if they’re going really well, you won’t see him really excited. Being level-headed is a big factor – it stands out with him as a leader.
“When I came back into the side in 2015, he kept it very simple for me – ‘What we expect from you is try to create chances’ – and as time went on that relationship grew and grew. We don’t have any arguments or disagreements, because I fully trust him in what he says. He’s definitely got a presence and he’s got my backing as well.”
Rashid continues to thrive in white-ball cricket to the point where he admits a Test return ahead of next winter’s Ashes tour “hasn’t even crossed my mind”. The 33-year-old remains unsure if his shoulder could handle the workload of longer spells, but ultimately his focus is on adding this year’s T20 World Cup to the 50-over crown won in 2019.
Friday saw Rashid operate as England’s sole spinner but with all five matches against India being played on the same square, it feels a matter of time before Moeen Ali – initially overlooked for Sam Curran – joins him in the lineup. It may be that Morgan holds fire for now, however, as England look to take a 2-0 lead.
India (possible) KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal
England (possible) Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid