'Rashid had the character to bounce back' - Moxon
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's director of cricket, was in New York when he read headlines about Adil Rashid's record-breaking first-innings drought in Abu Dhabi. By the time he had flown back over the Atlantic, Rashid had made history of a far more positive kind and Moxon always believed he would have the character to bounce back.
When Rashid claimed 5 for 64 in Pakistan's second innings - leaving England a target of 99 in 19 overs which they were only unable to reach due to fading light - it was the first five-wicket haul by an English legpsinner in more than half a century since Tommy Greenhough against India in 1959. In a remarkable tale, it followed the most expensive figures for a Test debutant of 0 for 163 over the first two days as Pakistan made 523 for 8.
"When I woke up in New York and saw the headlines 'worst-ever debut figures' you felt for the lad," Moxon, who returned home to news of the five-wicket haul, told ESPNcricinfo. "But it showed what he's about to get a five-for in his second innings. I'm delighted for him."
Pakistan winning the toss on what, for four and a half days was an exceedingly docile pitch, combined to give Rashid the toughest of starts. However, Yorkshire, led by the backroom set-up of Moxon and head coach Jason Gillespie, have invested a lot of time in building Rashid's confidence and even before he broke his duck with the wicket of Younis Khan there were signs of him finding his feet as he came within millimetres from finding Mohammad Hafeez's edge.
"In the last couple of years he's matured massively as a person and as a cricketer, he's got to know his own game and what works for him," Moxon said. "A big part of the last two years with myself and Jason, what we've been trying to drum into him is trust what he knows works for him and encouraging him to spin the ball. As long as he's doing that he'll be in the game.
"It's as simple as we've tried to keep it with him. It's got to that point where he does trust that now and hopefully that showed yesterday."
Rashid first played for England in 2009, earning five ODI caps and five T20 outings, before falling by the wayside, which was followed by three seasons from 2011-2013 where his first-class bowling average was in the low-to-mid-40s. However, Moxon always trusted that, in the long run, Rashid's natural talent would shine through and his revival came to the fore in 2014 when he claimed 49 first-class wickets at 24.81.
That propelled him into the squad for the tour of West Indies earlier this year although he did not play any of the three Tests following a difficult warm-up match. His one-day comeback was against Ireland, at a damp Dublin in May where he did not bowl before the rain came, but he played all 10 matches against New Zealand and Australia. He went wicketless in the first two-day warm-up match on this tour, but chipped in with three in the second to ensure there were no last-minute wobbles from the selectors this time.
"We'd seen enough, and he's seen enough in himself even during the years when the consistency wasn't there, that there was the ability to take wickets and produce a matchwinning performance," Moxon said. "It's never been a case that 'it's a waste of time' because the ability has always been there."
One by-product of Rashid's success is that Yorkshire are having to plan for the likelihood that they won't see much of him next year. He was part of England's Ashes squads throughout the summer without playing, which restricted him to seven Championship matches, and Yorkshire signed offpsinner James Middlebrook to help fill the void. However, Moxon hopes a longer-term solution will come from a youngster within the county's impressive youth system.
"We've seen this coming since he was picked against West Indies even though he didn't play there," he said. "We are planning not to see much of him going forward. We hope to fill that from within so it's an important winter for our young spinners and hopefully they can step up."
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo