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Matt Parkinson 'gutted' to be left out of England's white-ball squads at start of summer

Legspinner hopes performances against Pakistan prove he can play alongside Adil Rashid at T20 World Cup

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Matt Parkinson has admitted he was "gutted" to be left out of England's white-ball squads at the start of the summer and that he hopes his performances throughout Pakistan's tour can prove he can play in the same team as Adil Rashid at the T20 World Cup in October.
Parkinson was overlooked for the T20I and ODI series against Sri Lanka last month, with Liam Dawson preferred as England's third spin option. Eoin Morgan, their limited-overs captain, explained at the time that Dawson's versatility and his ability to bowl in the powerplay had been key factors in him earning selection, but Parkinson admitted that he was so disappointed about his omission that he had not asked for any feedback.
"Obviously I was gutted," he said on Monday. "I didn't ask for any feedback - I was sort of hoping it was about letting me play a bit in the Blast, and not come and carry drinks. That was how I tried to look at it. Sometimes if you look at things too closely, you can get down very easily, and I think I probably used it as momentum to performance for Lancashire.
"It's funny how cricket works. A month ago, I probably would never have thought I'd have played for England this summer, so to have played for the past two weeks have been great - if you'd told me two weeks ago I'd have played five internationals for England this summer and taken some wickets I'd have probably laughed at you. I think the reason I've done well is because I tried to use it as a bonus. I didn't really have this on my radar."
Parkinson's success in Sunday's 45-run win - he took 1 for 25 in four overs and conceded a single boundary while defending a score of 200 - formed part of an unprecedented, spin-heavy England strategy, which saw him, Rashid and Moeen Ali bowl 11 overs between them to strangle Pakistan's run chase. It was the first time that Parkinson had played in the same England team as another frontline legspinner, and he said he hoped that his success in tandem with Rashid demonstrated their complementary skillsets.
"I'm used to playing with spinners at Lancs - it's a philosophy we use there," he said. "We bowl spin through the middle and to do that with England yesterday was awesome. A lot gets highlighted about how slowly I bowl - [Rashid] bowls faster than me, he uses his googly more than me. I think we are different and I think that's why yesterday worked so well: from each end it was different and they couldn't just line up one of us.
"Moving forward, I would love to play with Rash. I don't think it's always feasible, but I'd like to think the performances I've put in this week will only aid us going forward. The best thing about yesterday was the pressure we had on them: all three spinners didn't really bowl a bad ball, and I think it was 11 overs, 5 for 80-odd [87] and that only got ruined at the end by some slogging.
"To have that bowling at the other end is great, and probably pushes me on as well. I think, 'Rash has bowled a great over, and I need to bowl well here as well'. Hopefully I've performed well enough for England to consider playing two legspinners again. I know Rash is number one and an absolute gun bowler - probably the best spinner in the world - but I'd like to think this week has helped me push my case forward."
After a bright start in Friday's first T20I at Trent Bridge, Parkinson conceded 36 runs in his final two overs to end with 0 for 47 as Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan targeted the short midwicket boundary. He stuck to his strengths at Headingley, tossing the ball up and focusing on flight and drift rather than the speed gun, which has been a concern for him in the past (he is among the slowest bowlers recorded in international cricket).
"Trent Bridge is a tough place to bowl - you need wickets early really to stem the flow," he said. "I wouldn't say I relaxed a bit but I thought I could search for a wicket, got full and that's when I got banged into the stands. That was a good learner and I used it at Headingley.
"In the past I've probably thought about [speed] too much. In South Africa [in early 2020] there was a lot written about it and I probably let that affect me - looking up at the board a lot, trying to see if I could push 47mph/76kph.
"I've just embraced it really - we had a chat [earlier in the] summer about it and I said I'd like to be the only bowler that does it this way. It'd be pretty cool not to have to conform to what other spinners do - to be niche. It might be difficult and on some grounds you're going to struggle but I'd like to think when there's a little bit there that I can stick to that."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98