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

Rashid proves agreeable for Yorkshire

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

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

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