Spin­ner con­fi­dent he can help Three Li­ons

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The suc­cess of the na­tional team against South Africa has eased some of the pain of the semi-fi­nal Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy exit for a player who still har­bours am­bi­tions in the Test arena to go with con­tin­u­ing white-ball con­tri­bu­tions How dis­ap­point­ing was it to not go on and win the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy af­ter such a good start to the tour­na­ment?

Adil Rashid: Yes, it was dis­ap­point­ing as we played ex­cep­tion­ally well and we had a very good and strong squad with match­win­ners in ev­ery depart­ment. Un­for­tu­nately, it just wasn’t our day in the semi-fi­nal but credit to Pak­istan who out­played us and were bet­ter than us in ev­ery depart­ment. There was a lot to learn from that de­feat and, hope­fully, in a sim­i­lar sce­nario next time around, we can put up a bet­ter per­for­mance. At the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, you once again showed that you are not a one-trick pony and bowled very well in the bats­man-dom­i­nated ODI for­mat.

AR: Yes, that’s some­thing I have been work­ing hard on in white-ball cricket, know­ing the game plans, know­ing how to bowl in var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions and work­ing on set­ting bats­men up. I’ve been work­ing on my field-set­tings in the shorter for­mats also and it’s been go­ing quite well. For a while, many crit­ics saw you just as a bowler who was suited to the longer for­mats. Is that a tag you wanted to re­move?

AR: I have never re­ally wanted to be a crick­eter who was seen as a one-trick pony. I have al­ways seen my­self as a bowler who can per­form and do well in any for­mat and in any sit­u­a­tion and some­one who can take wick­ets in any type of cricket. I’m not in the Eng­land Test squad at the mo­ment so my fo­cus is on white-ball cricket and per­form­ing in that for­mat and let’s see what hap­pens in fu­ture. How im­pressed were you with Moeen Ali dur­ing the re­cently con­cluded Test se­ries against South Africa?

AR: I’ve been re­ally im­pressed and I al­ways knew that he had that level of per­for­mance in him. He’s a match­win­ner with ei­ther the bat or the ball and he’s proven that in the past and he’s shown that since he came into the Eng­land team. He’s de­vel­oped his game a lot since he came into in­ter­na­tional cricket, he’s im­proved his bat­ting and his bowl­ing and, hope­fully, he can con­tinue do­ing that. His resur­gence as a bowler is po­ten­tially bad news for you though?

AR: Not re­ally. I’m happy for him as Moeen and my­self are very close friends. I’m de­lighted for him and I hope that he can carry that on and put in the per­for­mances with both the bat and the ball. Do you think there is room for you and Moeen to play in the same Eng­land team?

AR: Yes, I think the po­ten­tial is there. We have done it in the past and there is no doubt in my mind that it can work. There were a few win­ter se­ries in In­dia, Bangladesh and in UAE against Pak­istan and we both played in those se­ries and I hope there will be chances for this to hap­pen in fu­ture. Ob­vi­ously it de­pends on the con­di­tions and the state of the pitch and who the op­po­si­tion is and the lo­ca­tion. I’m still con­fi­dent that I can play Test cricket for Eng­land and do a good job. What’s it been like work­ing with Saqlain Mush­taq and what’s his advice been for you?

AR: He is very knowl­edge­able and he knows a lot about the game. He’s helped both Moeen and my­self tremen­dously. He’s fo­cused with more on the men­tal side of the game, ball tra­jec­tory, the pace I should bowl at in dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, ball rep­e­ti­tion, work­ing out the op­po­si­tion bats­men and how im­por­tant prac­tice is ahead of a match.

You are 29 now and at a point where you surely want to be a reg­u­lar pick in in­ter­na­tional cricket?

AR: Yes, that’s true, but over the past two years I’ve been play­ing quite a bit of white-ball in­ter­na­tional cricket and I hope to carry that on. I’m fairly con­fi­dent that I can keep that go­ing but, yes, my aim is also to play Test cricket and I’ve got to make sure that I put in the per­for­mances for York­shire and hope­fully get my chance again in the five-day for­mat. Do you think you are at a key stage of your ca­reer?

AR: I think ev­ery stage of your ca­reer is key and you are al­ways learn­ing.You go through var­i­ous phases in your ca­reer, highs and lows and have to take the rough with the smooth. I don’t think any stage in your ca­reer can be ear­marked as a key stage and you just have to live in the mo­ment, play in the present and not look too far into the fu­ture or too deeply into the past. What’s it been like to have Sar­fraz Ahmed at York­shire. Did he re­mind

I’ve never wanted to be seen as a one-trick pony. I have al­ways seen my­self as some­one who can per­form and do well in any type of cricket

you about the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy semi-fi­nal?

AR: Yes, we’ve had a few friendly chats and he’s re­minded me about the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy re­sult a cou­ple of times. He’s been very good for us and he’s got a lot of knowl­edge about the game and he’s been pass­ing that onto all of his team-mates.

Does any­thing faze Joe Root, he just seems to take ev­ery­thing in his stride?

AR: He’s al­ready shown that he was the right choice as cap­tain against one of the best teams in the world, South Africa. Cap­taincy didn’t af­fect his bat­ting at all, he was as good in the Tests as he has ever been. He’s a clever crick­eter and very switched on re­gard­ing who to bowl and when to bowl them. He’s the right choice as Eng­land cap­tain and, hope­fully, he can carry that on as cap­tain and with the bat.

We are see­ing a resur­gence in young leg-spin­ners around the world, that must be heart­en­ing?

AR: Yes, there are some fine young leg-spin­ners show­ing their cre­den­tials. Shadab Khan from Pak­istan, Mason Crane for Hamp­shire and Matthew Parkin­son at Lan­cashire all look very promis­ing. There are many oth­ers who are do­ing well es­pe­cially in the shorter for­mats. Hav­ing a leg-spin­ner in your team is a big weapon. Some­times things do not go well for leg-spin­ners but that’s just part of cricket but they are match­win­ners and some­times they can turn a match on its head. A good leg-spin­ner will be tough for the bats­men es­pe­cially if they have all the vari­a­tions.

PIC­TURES: Getty Im­ages

Test­ing times: Adil Rashid sees no rea­son why he and Moeen Ali can­not play in the same Eng­land test team in fu­ture

Shin­ing with bat and ball: Moeen Ali has been a match­win­ner

Un­fazed: Joe Root’s form has not been af­fected by Eng­land cap­taincy

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