Yorkshire v Somerset, Headingley, 1st day May 7, 2013

Rashid proves agreeable for Yorkshire


Yorkshire 332 for 5 (Rashid 120*, Ballance 107) v Somerset

According to Adil Rashid, he and Yorkshire have "come to an agreement". That was something Ajmal Shahzad could never claim. Shahzad was packed off for what was perceived as a headstrong insistence on his right to be a free spirit. There is reason to anticipate that Rashid can write a happier ending.

To keep faith with their talented production line of Asian cricketers, Yorkshire need that happy ending as much as Rashid does.

"We have come to an agreement." How many times have such words been uttered in Yorkshire cricket over the decades only for them to be worthless by the next morning? Perhaps they were more uncompromising times. There was something in Rashid's unbeaten 120 on a gloriously sunny Headingley day that promised much, the conviction of his crouching, thou-shall-not-pass defence; the rasp of his cuts; his wristy working of the leg side, a most un-Yorkshire skill that one.

Two England selectors were at Headingley, Geoff Miller and James Whitaker. Their interest will have primarily been in Gary Ballance, Rashid having long disappeared off their radar as his command of his legspin faltered, but they could not fail to be impressed by the sight of an allrounder seemingly more at peace with his game. A career that has involved three England tours and an experimental use as an attacking Twenty20 bowler might one day - although not imminently - have a second coming.

"Yorkshire Are Ruining Me" was the headline last month, as Rashid complained that his captain, Andrew Gale, did not understand legspin, that he needed more faith in his ability if he was to express himself and that if he had another year like 2012 he would be "dropping down, down, down and gone". The irony was that he had made the comments in January and by the time they became public knowledge, a better understanding was already in place.

"Everything's sorted," Rashid said. "We're all getting along nicely. This season my confidence has been quite high so I'm looking to carry that on and perform day in, day out. You have your good days and bad days but I'm in an okay place.

"I was looking for a bit of freedom to play my game. It was about the fact that you know your game and you have been playing long enough to know what to do. It was about all about communicating with the captain and the coach and coming to an agreement."

Part of the problem was that when it came to Yorkshire stereotypes, Rashid could compete with the best in his ability to be monosyllabic. Such introversion hardly seemed the natural accompaniment for a player yearning to attack, whether he had a ball or a bat in his hand.

At 25, he is looking - and sounding - more confident in himself. Batting conditions had not entirely eased when Rashid came in at 89 for 4 but he shared in a record Yorkshire fifth-wicket stand at Headingley of 207 in 62 overs with Ballance, whose own hundred, a pugnacious affair ended when he fell lbw to a full delivery from Steve Kirby, played a major part in reshaping the match by the close. This looks to be another belting batting surface and Yorkshire will be well aware that Derbyshire made 475 in their first innings here last week and lost.

Batting Rashid at No. 6 should be part of the New Deal. "I haven't batted at six for a long time. It was nice to have that responsibility," he said. This was his fifth first-class century and his first for four years, an indication of lost time.

Somerset had a fruitful morning. When Rashid came in, four wickets had fallen by the 26th over, Phil Jacques had just been pouched by Marcus Trescothick at first slip and, if Trescothick had held a low catch when Jaques was 22, the situation could have been direr. The first three wickets had fallen to wicketkeeping catches by Jos Buttler, the best of them a diving effort to dismiss Adam Lyth.

Rashid and Ballance proved that the stability which Joe Root had brought to Yorkshire's season with the two most domineering innings of his life - back-to-back hundreds to drive home victories against Durham and Derbyshire - had not necessarily departed with him. Somerset's day became wearier by the hour and long before the close the disposition of the Yorkshire members was once again almost as sunny as the weather.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sanjay on May 8, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    Rashid is a leg spinner first and foremost, Eng are not going to pick him for his batting ability which will be seen only as a bonus. I saw him bowl last year, truth be told he was awful, lots of long hops and full tosses.His confidence seemed to have been completely shot, part of his problem was bowling in limited overs cricket, he hadn't figured out how to bowl differently from FC cricket.

    I don't know enough about Gale but I read a very good article by Terry Jenner who argued that young captains are clueless about spin bowlers, esp leggies. If a spinner gets hit for a boundary, it's assumed that it was a bad ball, when a quickie gets spanked, he gets lots of encouragement. The captain almost inevitably removes the spinner from his attack after one expensive over.

  • Mark on May 8, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    @JG What I said pre-season was that if Somerset didn't hit the ground running in early season they could struggle. Right now it looks more like a battle for relegation than even a mid-table slot.

    As a kid I was able to enjoy success both from Gloucestershire and Somerset. These days it is neither... sigh!!!

  • John on May 8, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (May 7, 2013, 20:50 GMT) I think we've already said goodbye to our chances of winning the CC and I feel that it is our batting depth which is more of a worry than our bowling depth. The only game we actually lost this year was against Durham and we had no Compton or AP there. I know other teams (esp Warwicks and Yorks) have had same probs with players out of the side but Somerset don't seem to have the cover. Another reason why I think it's more our batsmen's depth is because our bowling survived injuries etc last season but if any batsman was out there was a massive gulf between that batsman and his replacement. Also still very angry about Tres minimising our chances of getting our 1st win vs Warwicks

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Re-Rashid...let's not go overboard about a single innings on what is obviously a flat track. I'd prefer to wait and see what his first class stats are at the end of the season. Then we'll have some measure as to whether or not he is living up to his perceived potential. We've been down this road before with other players...and it's mostly turned out to be a dead-end.

  • liaqat on May 8, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    If Rashid can put in the hard yards and with abit of luck he might see himself back tin the england squad sooner then alter, his 25 so has atleast 3-4 years in him minimum before the selectors totally forget him.

    Test's would be the best route for him as it give him time to settle as bowler and probably the best period to bowl in as world batsmen seem to be lost to spin bowling these days

  • John on May 8, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    @Siraj Durranion (May 7, 2013, 23:03 GMT) Rehman couldn't have played for Somerset with AP in the side so as much as it would have been great to have him in the side , I feel without AP's inns we'd have been even worse off

  • GeoffreysMother on May 8, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    It is really good to see Adil doing well. As Matty says he should really be developed as a batsman who bowls ( and particularly can get rid of tail enders who generally find leg spin harder to play). As a backfoot wristy player he complements batsmen who hit through the ball and in partnerships can make it hard for bowlers to settle on a length. To be fair I think this is how Gillespie sees him, playing alongside Rafiq and bowling in tandem should we ever get a dry summer (or indeed Championship cricket in summer as opposed to spring and autumn).

    Let's leave talk of England alone for a bit though - they have messed the lad up once, despite Martin Moxon's pleas.

  • Mark on May 8, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    @Siraj Durrani Yes, but Derbyshire have lost 4 out of 5 First Class games and suffered a similar collapse against Middlesex. I am afraid that they appear to be out of their depth. I would be most surprised if Somerset were to engineer a similar turnaround against a side that is performing well above expectations. It is not impossible, but the match position is not promising and if Yorkshire were to lose from here they would have to feel extremely disappointed.

    @Andy Plowright As a proud Bristolian and Gloucestershire supporter I have to disagree, He was an excellent signing, but has simply not fitted in. It's annoying that a bowler who was doing such a fine job for us chose to move across the Avon with Steve Kirby and galling that he should do it and fail to make an impact and disappear, but that only making him a bad signing with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight. I suspect that he will return to Bristol this season, possibly even on loan.

  • Michael on May 7, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    I think it is extremely depressing that Rashid has almost been lost to the game. Not everyone is the same and this guy had promise as an allrounder. I suspect it is less in the nature of the Yorkshire character to accept legspin as a viable modus operandi than anything else. However they have come a long way since the eighties and their insistence on Yorkshire purity. Almost any county I imagine would love the chance to help resurrect a leggie's career if required. It would be a massive gift to England if a real legspinner were of the necessary quality for the side .At the moment though Borthwick is ahead in that regard.

  • Dummy4 on May 7, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    @Cricketingstargazer look what happened to Derby on this pitch a few days ago, they made almost 500 then were rolled out, imo It is disappointing that Rehman will sit out a lot of the champions trophy when he could of played for us, our batting is so strong, even without an overseas player