Adil Rashid, who took the new ball for England in the first T20I and bowled a remarkable spell that read 1/7, claimed that bowling with a new ball is a completely different challenge but insisted it’s a skill he’ll keep in his armoury. Friday was the first time Rashid took the new ball in 10 years.
For 10 years Adil Rashid hadn’t opened the bowling in any competition, but when Eoin Morgan threw the new ball to the leg-spinner in the first over of the first game, the 33-year-old bowled like a powerplay expert whose primary skill was new-ball bowling. After conceding just two runs off the first over, the veteran leggie claimed the prize scalp of Virat Kohli on his eighth ball, and bowled with immaculate control to tie the Indian batsmen down. He eventually returned figures of 1/7 in his two-over spell up-front, ensuring that the hosts were playing catch-up from the get go.
Despite having 13 years of T20 experience, Rashid is pretty much still a novice when it comes to taking the new-ball, but the 33-year-old insisted that it is a skill that he’ll look to keep in his armoury in order to add a new dimension to the English bowling attack.
"It's completely different bowling with the new ball, [with only] two fielders out," Rashid said in a virtual press conference on Saturday.
"You've got to be clever in that sense. It's been 10 years and I've not actually opened the bowling for anybody [in that time]. It's a different experience now but it's something I'll definitely cherish and I'll keep in my armoury as well.
"You've got to be a bit more focused in that sense because you know you've only got two fielders out, and the batsmen will be coming a lot harder as well when they know there's a lot more scoring options. But in terms of my game plan, it's very similar whether it's first six or middle."
While Rashid bamboozled the Indian batsmen with the new-ball, his teammate, Jason Roy, thwarted Indian spinners Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal in the powerplay, often making room to cream the two bowlers through mid-wicket. Cominedbly, in many ways, the duo outwitted India in their own game and proved to be instrumental in England registering a comprehensive victory. Rashid revealed that, prior to the first T20I, he spent time in the nets bowling to Roy with the new ball, a drill that eventually ended up helping both players during the game.
"It was good practice for both of us: him [Roy] batting up top, me bowling with the new ball," Rashid said.
"[We were] communicating and helping one another - what pace I'm bowling, and what areas he's looking to hit. For myself, it was more of me bowling with the new ball, and giving him confidence facing a spinner with the new ball.”
Rashid has been an integral part of England’s post-2015 white-ball revolution, and a major reason behind the same has been Eoin Morgan. The England skipper has unending faith in the veteran leggie, and that Rashid was thrown the new-ball in the first over of the series served as a testament to the same. The 33-year-old was full of praise for Morgan, who he said is a level-headed leader that never tends to get frustrated.
“[Morgan's] biggest strength is his emotion, [in that] he doesn't really show emotion. If things are not going well for the team or a bowler or a batsman, you will never see him down, waving his hands around, or if they're going really well, you won't see him really excited. Being level-headed is a big factor, and stands out with him as a leader."