Record books will state in days to come how Adil Rashid’s first-ever hit-wicket victim turned out to be India captain Virat Kohli. Records will talk about his wickets, his ability to turn the ball and India’s first innings score on Day Four of an interesting Test match.
Records will not reveal that in a game that involved six spinners – two from India who have been wreaking havoc for a while now, one from England who has tortured India whenever the two teams have played – it was Rashid who impressed the most.
Most impressive were the googlies he dished out – the one to Gautam Gambhir on Day Three, when the left-hander had no clue as the ball zipped past his off-stump, and the ones to Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, to R Ashwin. Almost a dozen of them.
He came close to bagging a five-for, if not a few Indian batsmen riding on serious luck. As the five-Test series prepares to move from Rajkot, the Indian team management will know well that if they dish out a turning track, they’ll have to bear with this 28-year-old as much as they want England to bear with the Indian trio.
Rashid is the kind of a bowler who likes to go by gut feel more than the stock ball in option. He goes ball by ball. “Sometimes I might just want to bowl a couple of googlies in a row, sometimes I might want to hold it back a bit. It’s about how I feel and feel if it’s the right time to bowl and get a wicket. It’s just about bowling my variations whenever I feel the batsman might not pick it,” he says.
It’s the kind of thing Ashwin might say on a given day. The offie doesn’t depend on stock deliveries either. Rashid has never played a Test in India but got first-hand information from teammate Moeen Ali. “If it’s a quick pitch, you want to bowl slower and if it’s slow, you want to bowl quicker,” he said.