The Lowdown - Adil Rashid August 9, 2006

Spinning into the spotlight

The Lowdown on Adil Rashid, the 18-year-old Yorkshire legspinner, who has burst onto the scene with runs and wickets

With so much cricket played these days it is often difficult to keep track of who is who and what they are doing. In this weekly feature Cricinfo will take a look at one player who is making the news, whether at the highest level or as an aspiring talent, and tell you what they are all about. This week, it's the turn of Adil Rashid, the 18-year-old Yorkshire legspinner who has burst into the scene in the last month.



Six wickets on Championship debut have made people sit up and take notice of Adil Rashid © Getty Images
This season is turning into England's summer of spin. While Monty Panesar has been elevated to the level of national hero, and is now favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, a young legspinner from Yorkshire has been filling almost as many column inches. Adil Rashid burst onto the scene with six wickets on his Championship debut and suddenly everyone wants to know his story.

It is a heartening tale for anyone involved with the development of English spinners. Rashid is a product of the Yorkshire academy system and the ECB's spin-bowling programme, having been involved with the England youth set-up from Under-15 level, after was first spotted as a 14-year-old by Terry Jenner. David Parsons, the ECB's spin bowling coach, believes he is the most talented young legspinner in the country and, so far, the figures are backing it up.

He was plucked out of the second team after scoring a mountain of runs, making his first-class debut against Warwickshire at Scarborough. After only bowling eight balls in the first innings - but still managing to open his wicket account - the fairytale began to unfold on the third afternoon. One after another Rashid bamboozled the top order, and this was the most eye-catching part of his performance. His wickets were not the lower order having a slog, but high quality and seasoned batsmen. Nick Knight was undone by a googly and he removed Ian Westwood and Jonathan Trott when they were well set.

Rashid then packed his bags for England-Under 19 duty and produced a stunning all round display. Scores of 114 and 48 went alongside 10 wickets in the match, including a first-innings haul of 8 for 157 against what John Abrahams, who as Rashid's coach at U-17 level and is part of the U-19 management team, said was an "extremely a talented Indian batting line-up."

The problem now is tempering expectation. Abrahams stresses Rashid shouldn't be placed under too much pressure. "It's very early days and it would be unfair on him to expect too much, too quickly." But that is easier said than done, especially with him beating the likes of Justin Langer to the PCA's player of the month award for July. It has been a incredible month for Rashid, but now the best thing for English cricket is that he is allowed the develop at his own pace to ensure he is remember after 15 years, not just 15 minutes.



He can bat too, as 114 for England Under-19 showed in style © Getty Images
Timeline

July 2005
Plays for the Yorkshire second XI, but often as an opening batsman

July 2006
Championship debut against Warwickshire at Scarborough and spins Yorkshire to victory with 6 for 67 in the second innings

August 2006
Strikes 114 and takes eight wickets for England-Under 19s against India Under-19s at Taunton

Vital Stat
Rashid earned his chance in the Yorkshire first XI on the back of four consecutive hundreds in the second team and David Byas has said that he will bat at No. 6 when he returns to the Championship team.

What he says - following his 6 for 67 against Warwickshire
"I was a bit nervous at the start, being the new boy, but I soon got used to it and had plenty of confidence. I was feeling a bit tired in the last couple of overs - but I never felt I wanted to stop bowling. Captain Craig White asked at tea-time how I was feeling, and I said I felt fresh because I wanted a 'five-for' and didn't want to be taken off."

What they say - John Abrahams, manager of the England U-19 side
He's a quiet lad but works extremely hard at his game and takes on board all types of advice. As a bowler, he has all the variations - sometimes using them a little too much as a young bowler is prone too - but he is a hugely determined character.

What you may not know
It is thanks to Darren Lehmann, and his pulled calf muscle, that Rashid was handed his Championship debut. If Lehmann had recovered from his injury it is unlikely that a spot would have been open for Rashid. He took his chance with both hands.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo