Jo Harman spoke to Adil Rashid recently in South Africa for www.pongocricket.com. He discussed his Test prospects, dealing with expectations and his loyalty to Yorkshire
Jo Harman spoke to Adil Rashid recently in South Africa for www.pongocricket.com. He discussed his Test prospects, dealing with expectations and his loyalty to Yorkshire.
I spoke exclusively to England and Yorkshire allrounder Adil Rashid during England’s tour of South Africa, on the morning after the third Test great escape at Newlands.
You’ve spent quite a bit of time in and around the Test squad. Where do you feel you are in your development as an international cricketer?
I think I’m still developing and obviously quite young in the international arena but I’ve played a handful of one-day internationals for England now and it’s all about just trying to play as many games as possible and gaining more experience as an international cricketer.
You’ve been tipped for big things from an early age. Have you found it difficult to cope with the expectations?
I think there was that extra expectation and when I went into my third season at Yorkshire I took a little bit of extra responsibility on my shoulders and I knew I had to perform. In a way that was a good thing for me because I like being put in that pressure situation. It brings the best out of me and my game grew as a result. So no, the expectation doesn’t bother me. My main aim is to concentrate on my cricket, day in day out, and not worry about the expectations.
How do you find the experience of touring with the England squad?
I’ve been away for the past three or four years with either the England senior squad or the Lions so I’m getting used to it now. At times obviously it’s hard, missing your family and stuff, but I think as a cricketer you’ve just got to cope with that.
With talk of players being rested and the possibility of fielding two spinners in Bangladesh do you expect to make your Test debut on the upcoming tour? [obviously since this interview Adil has been named in the Lions squad and missed out on selection for the full England tour of Bangladesh – Editor]
I don’t expect anything because Graeme Swann is bowling terrifically well. I’ll have a good shout of being in the squad to tour Bangladesh and if they do play two spinners then hopefully I can get a game. I was in Bangladesh three or four years ago with England Lions and played a few four-day and one-day games. I was quite young at the time but it was a great experience for me.
Adil gets advice from Mushtaq Ahmed
Who do you look to as a role model?
As a fellow leg-spinner, of course there’s always Shane Warne. He was my role model for a long time and I’ve spoken to him on a few occasions. He was a great role model for me and I spoke to him for the first time about two years ago after a Yorkshire versus Hampshire game. He was very helpful and gave me some good advice which I’ve taken in and can hopefully reproduce in a game situation.
Other than Warne, obviously my dad started me off at a young age and since then Terry Jenner and Mushtaq Ahmed have both been great to work with. There have been quite a few strong influences in my life growing up.
During the tour of South Africa I joined up with the Lions for a week in Pretoria and Saqlain Mushtaq, who was one of the coaches there, was extremely helpful. Obviously he was a great bowler but I think he’s also a very good coach. He has a very good cricket brain and I gained some good tips off him.
Shane Warne often talks about how important strength of character is for a spin-bowler. Is that a natural quality or something you can only gain with experience?
I think you get that with experience. Obviously when you first come on to bowl, get hit for a few boundaries and take a bit of a stick you’ve got to keep your head up. It’s how you come back in the next game that matters. Not letting your head drop and coming back stronger. That comes with experience, playing more and more games, and believing that you’re good enough.
Graeme Swann’s achievements must give you hope as an English spinner?
He’s done very well in the past 12 months and I’ve had a lot of useful conversations with him. He’s given me advice to always be confident and play with a smile on your face. England haven’t really had a world, world class spinner for a long time but based on his performances he has to be rated as one of the best, if not the best, spinners in the world right now. That’s just come from hard work and experience and he’s obviously got a lot of belief in him as well.
What role do you eventually see yourself filling in Test cricket?
When I play for Yorkshire I’m a genuine allrounder. I have scored runs at seven or eight and hopefully I can play a similar role for England as well. I’ll bat anywhere. I’m not fussed. I just want to play Test cricket.
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said that Andrew Strauss only giving you one over in the Twenty20 international at Centurion was “criminal” (Rashid bowled one over for 25 runs and was taken out of the attack). What was your reaction?
You’re always going to have good days and bad days and it’s how you cope. That’s how you develop as a cricketer. But I think bowling one over and getting hit is just part and parcel of cricket. I haven’t really dwelt on that too much. I’ve moved on.
Hitting out in the ICC World Twenty20
More and more players are coming through England’s Performance Programme and Lions setup into the national team. Did you find it a valuable experience?
England Lions is the next step towards playing international cricket and helps you gain that necessary experience. That experience of playing within an England environment is crucial. It’s different to tour with England Lions because you don’t know many of the players you’re playing with. Playing for Yorkshire is more familiar, playing with guys you’ve grown up with and played with for a few years. There is a difference and it’s a good warm-up for playing international cricket.
Are you looking forward to working under newly appointed Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale?
I’m really excited. He’s been playing first-class cricket for three or four years now and he’s got a really good cricketing brain. I think he’ll do really well in all competitions. He could be an England player in the making. He’s a class batsman and proven over the past few years that he can get runs in championship cricket and the one-day format so hopefully if he can carry that on over the next season he can get a look-in for England.
When Monty Panesar recently left Northants for Sussex he cited an unresponsive track as one of his reasons for leaving. Would you ever be tempted to leave Headingley for the same reason?
At the moment I have no reason to move from Yorkshire. I grew up here and it’s my home ground. I would find it pretty difficult to move elsewhere and it would be nice to play for Yorkshire for the rest of my career. It’s true, at Headingley it doesn’t really spin much but that means you’ve got to really work batsmen out and work hard for your wickets. It’s not like when you go to the subcontinent when you can spin the ball more. You’ve got to adapt to the conditions.