Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, who is representing Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2022, has taken up his batting to the next level and won many matches for his team but he has been far from his best in the bowling department, which is his forte.
The 23-year-old has played match-winning knocks for Gujarat against CSK (40 off 21) and SRH (31 not out off 11) under tremendous pressure situations. However, the Hardik Pandya-led side would want more from Rashid in bowling. The premier leg-spinner has picked only 8 wickets in 8 matches with an economy of 7.09 in the ongoing IPL season so far.
Rashid Khan had an evening to forget against his former franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday as he leaked 45 runs off his 4 overs – his third-worst figures in the history of the IPL. Taking advantage of playing him in the nets over the years, his former teammate Abhishek was able to pick up Rashid’s googlies and the left-hander smashed the spinner for three monstrous sixes during his brilliant innings.
The Afghan cricketer also admitted that he hasn’t bowled well during this IPL season.
“I have bowled 4-5 bad deliveries which have been punished and that is something I had in my mind, you can’t miss your line and length on a wicket like this. It was a good wicket to bat on, but still we did well to restrict them to 196,” said Rashid after the game against SRH.
“As I said, I haven’t bowled as well as I would have liked, this is good for my learning and I will try my best not to repeat in the next games,” he added.
Notably, Rashid was not retained by the SRH and was picked by Gujarat Titans via draft for Rs 15 crore ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction. After SRH’s win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Lara had spoken about how batters are trying to play out Rashid rather than taking him on in the IPL and it was the rehind behind his non-retention.
“I have a great respect for Rashid Khan but I believe we have the right combination. Rashid Khan was someone who opposition teams decided to defend against, he was not much of a wicket-taker,” SRH batting coach Lara told Star Sports.
“Yes, (economy of) 5.5-6 runs per over is great, but I think when you have a guy like Washington Sundar spinning the ball into the left-handers in the first six overs, he is an asset. Suchith has come in as his replacement due to injury and he is an asset as well,” he added.
There have been various stances in the history of IPL, when bowlers have become less effective as batters have either figured them out or taken a defensive approach against them. However, Rashid, who is arguably one of the best leg-spinners in white ball cricket, used to trouble batters on their defence as well, but it’s not happening this IPL season.
The pitches at the four stadiums of Maharashtra have also been fast-bowler friendly and it could be one of the factors behind Rashid’s dip in the form, but the spinner, who has one of the most sought after players in franchise T20 leagues and has a wealth of experience, certainly needs to upgrade himself in terms of bowling.
Rashid can add various kinds of deliveries in his armoury or may try to bowl like a traditional leg-spinner, in order to become more effective. Whether it’s batter or bowler, everyone evolves as a player with the time and Rashid also can bring his best version in the upcoming matches.