Adil Usman Rashid
February 17, 1988, Bradford, Yorkshire
Right hand bat
Adil Rashid overcame English cricket's troubled relationship with legspin by establishing himself as the country's leading white-ball spinner in 2015 and four years later was a key part of their World Cup-winning side. At the time of Rashid's recall to the limited-overs set-up (he had played five ODIs and five T20Is in 2009) no legspinner had taken more than five white-ball wickets for England; over the next six years, Rashid took more than 200.
His success in the limited-overs game owed much to his variation - and his wicked googly in particular - and it was no great surprise when Trevor Bayliss gave him a Test debut in 2015 against Pakistan. His recall in 2018, a year after signing a white-ball-only contract with Yorkshire, was much more controversial. Rashid performed creditably in whites, taking 60 wickets in 19 Tests, but often struggled for control and a long-standing shoulder complaint meant his focus returned to the shorter formats after the 2019 tour of the Caribbean.
Born in Bradford, Rashid became the third Yorkshire-born player of Asian extraction to represent the county in 2006 and his performance on debut against Warwickshire at Scarborough - he took 6 for 67 to seal victory by an innings - felt like a breakthrough moment. The following summer brought a maiden first-class hundred against Worcestershire and the young player of the year award from the Cricket Writers' Club and in 2008, he earned call-ups as a back-up player on Test tours to India and the Caribbean after taking 62 Championship wickets.
He made his England debut in 2009 during the World T20, playing in all four of England's games, but had a chastening time on the tour to South Africa the following winter: his only over in the T20I series cost 25 runs and his three overs in an ODI in Centurion were taken for 27. Andy Flower, England's coach, justifiably suggested that Rashid would benefit from the chance to work on his game at county level.
His progress was mixed over the next few years, and he was critical of Andrew Gale's captaincy as his returns fluctuated in Championship cricket. As he reached his mid-20s, he became a more prolific run-scorer and he thrived with Jason Gillespie as his head coach, who later took him to the Big Bash with Adelaide Strikers. He won titles in 2014 and 2015 and his England recall arrived in 2015, with Bayliss keen to back his evident talent.
Rashid starred in England's first home ODI since their ignominious exit at the 2015 World Cup, making 69 off 50 in a partnership of 177 in 17.3 overs with Jos Buttler as England passed 400 for the first time, before taking 4 for 55 in the chase. He was expensive later in the series but England had decided that picking a wristspinner was a no-brainer in the modern white-ball game and gave him their full backing.
He was part of the side that reached the final of the 2016 World T20 and the semi-final of the 2017 Champions Trophy, before taking 11 wickets in the 2019 World Cup. England hailed the diversity of their squad, which also featured Moeen Ali and Jofra Archer, as a key reason in their success. "I spoke to Adil," Eoin Morgan said after the final. "He said Allah was definitely with us."
His introduction to Test cricket was brutal as he returned 0 for 163 against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, but his 5 for 64 in the second innings demonstrated why England had been so keen to turn him into a red-ball bowler. He was England's leading wicket-taker in India in 2016-17 with 23 - 13 more than anyone else - but averaged the wrong side of 35 and leaked 3.70 runs an over. It was a reminder that Rashid is at his most threatening when batters are forced to attack.
Controversy reared its head in 2018 when, months after signing a white-ball-only contract with Yorkshire, Rashid was handed a Test recall for the home series against India by Ed Smith, a selector keen to think outside the box. He took 10 wickets in the series before forming part of a spin trio with Moeen and Jack Leach during England's 3-0 win in Sri Lanka, but after an expensive Test in the Caribbean in early 2019, he was left out once more.
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