Mor­gan cre­ates stage for Rashid to shine

Leg-spin­ner vin­di­cates cap­tain’s call to aban­don tra­di­tion, writes Tim Wig­more at Edg­bas­ton

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Cricket World Cup 2019 -

From the bed­lam at the start of the match, a sense of nor­mal­ity had taken hold. Aus­tralia’s fourth-wicket pair had added more than 100. Adil Rashid’s first four overs had gone for 29 runs, and Alex Carey was even reading his goo­gly.

Con­ven­tional English cricket think­ing would have had it that now was an op­por­tune mo­ment to whisk the leg-spin­ner out of the at­tack. The won­der of a bowl­ing line-up in which Ben Stokes is the sixth bowler is that there is al­ways room for ma­noeu­vre. Now seemed like an op­por­tune time to use it.

The idea of a leg-spin­ner be­ing in­te­gral is an­ti­thet­i­cal to the tra­di­tions of English cricket. Only one English leg-spin­ner, Doug Wright, has ever taken 100 Test wick­ets, and his last Test was in 1951. In one-day in­ter­na­tion­als, Eng­land and leg-spin­ners went to­gether like fish and red wine. As of the end of the 2015 World Cup, the most wick­ets taken aken by an Eng­land leg-spin­ner er in their en­tire ODI ca­reer was Ian Sal­is­bury, with five in 1993-94.

It was in keep­ing g with these in­glo­ri­ous tra­di­tions ns that, after play­ing five ODIS in n 2009, Rashid was dis­carded for the he next six years. Chang­ing the e way that Eng­land con­ceived of leg-spin­ners was at the core of Eoin oin Mor­gan’s idea for an Eng­land lim­ite­dovers reboot, rea­son­ing ning that Eng­land needed to have more venom in the mid­dle overs.

Rashid re­turned to a dif­fer­ent set-up. In the first ODI against New ew Zealand at Edg­bas­ton on four years ago, Rashid hid

im­me­di­ately marked him­self out as in­dis­pens­able to the new ide­ol­ogy: he crunched his first ball for six, en route to hit­ting 69 that tur­bocharged Eng­land to their first to­tal of 400. Then, four wick­ets show­cased the value of leg-spin in ODI cricket, height­ened by the age of bat­ting glut­tony. Bowl­ing sides could no longer con­trol bats­men in the mid­dle overs; now, they had to dis­miss them.

The pro­found dif­fi­culty of leg-spin bowl­ing – the need to master flight, line, length and turn and con­trol a myr­iad of dif­fer­ent de­liv­er­ies – means that va­garies of per­for­mance are in­her­ent in the art. Mor­gan em­braced the fact.

In the fourth game of that New Zealand se­ries, Rashid con­ceded 30 in the 48th over of the in­nings. Yet he was still given the fi­nal over, which yielded just five runs, and Eng­land waltzed to their tar­get of 350. This set the tem­plate for how Rashid has been used ever since.

No bowler in the world has taken more ODI wick­ets since the 2015 World Cup. Although he has not quite been at his best after a se­ries of in­jec­tions to his shoul­der, Rashid has been re­tained through­out the World Cup.

Per­se­ver­ing with Rashid after four un­der­whelm un­der­whelm­ing overs was simply a mi­croco mi­cro­cosm of Mor­gan’s han­dling of him over the pre­vi­ous four years. The sec­ond de­liv­ery of Rashid’s fifth ov over seemed an in­nocu­ous enou enough leg-break, but Carey’s flick pic picked out deep mid­wic mid­wicket. Four balls later, Rashid’s goo­gly befu be­fud­dled Mar­cus Stoin Stoi­nis. In one over of leg-spin leg-spin, Rashid had bro­ken o open the game de­ci­sivel de­ci­sively, just as Mor­gan had en­vis en­vis­aged four years ago. Wher Where Eng­land teams of World C Cups past have re­treated in high-oc­tane mo­ments, Rash Rashid dou­bled down on the best of hi his method: all told, he bowled 11 googlies. goo

That he had the th elan to do so in his coun­try’s most mo sig­nif­i­cant ODI game for 27 year years dis­tilled the best of Mor­gan’s Engl Eng­land.

De­ci­sive: Adil Rashid turned the game with h two wick­ets in an over er

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