"Growing up, I was hit for plenty of sixes as a youngster. Even today, in T20 cricket the best of the best get hit for sixes all the time,” starts off Adil Rashid in an exclusive interview with Punjab Kings.
Despite that candid revelation, the seasoned English spinner boasts an economy rate of marginally above seven in T20 cricket even after playing over 250 games in his career. Somewhere, the math of getting hit for sixes all the time and maintaining that economy rate therefore dosen't add up then, leaving cricket statisticians around in a limbo.
The equation to Rashid’s puzzling relationship between being hit for sixes and his economy rate can be understood once one analyses the leg spinner’s outlook to the game.
“You can’t be afraid, you have to almost be prepared to be hit for sixes because that is going to happen when you’re bowling leg spin. It is all about being courageous and aggressive in the mind,” explains Rashid in the same interview.
“As a youngster, I was definitely encouraged firstly by my dad, and then by my coaches to have a big heart and not be afraid. Teddy Jenner was one of the coaches I worked extensively with, and he was a firm believer in spinning the ball big, getting the batsman to come at you nice and hard, almost challenging them to hit you for six,” added Rashid.
The 33-year-old also outlined the importance of staying true to the craft, and not being swayed by circumstances while highlighting a few personal anecdotes.
“As a young kid, it is very easy to lose hope and get frustrated when you get hit, but in situations like that it is always important to have the people around you to keep encouraging you.
“You will have bad days but don’t beat yourself about it because you will also have very good days. When it comes out good, it comes out very good,” explained the new Punjab Kings player.
Variety and variations
The past couple of years has seen a complete resurgence of wrist spin in T20 cricket, more particularly a renaissance of leg spin. Asked about the possible reasons for the same, Rashid believes it is because of the variety that leg spinners can offer going into a game.
“Maybe that’s just a period in the game where wrist spinners are doing well, maybe it's because we (leg spinners) have that extra variation where you can bowl a leg spinner, a googly, a slider, a top spinner. There’s also a lot more natural variation as well that keeps the batsmen guessing,” explained Rashid.
“The wrist work also of a leg spinner can be deceiving for a batsman, people are expecting a certain ball to come out with the positioning of the wrist but we dish out something totally different, so it becomes a guessing game,” explained the leg spinner.
With plenty of variations up his sleeve and the heart of a lion, Adil Rashid seems to have carved a niche for himself amongst the spin bowling bastions. Unafraid to be challenged by opposition batsmen and prepared to be hit for sixes in the wake of lucrative rewards, Rashid now continues to dazzle the T20 cricket world, paving the way for generations to come.