Former legendary Pakistan spinner Mushtaq Ahmed who has worked closely with Adil Rashid during his tenure as England spin bowling coach during 2008 to 2014 in his recently written piece for the Indian Express has spoken about Adil Rashid's future in Test ccricket.
It is pertinent to mention here that, Rashid's inclusion in the England squad for the first Test against India at Edgbaston has influenced mixed reactions from several ex England captains.
While Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain hasn't backed this move by the board, Ian Botham, England's greatest all-rounder considers all the controversy regarding his inclusion unnecessary.
Mushtaq Ahmed has voiced about the fact that Test cricket is totally a different ball game to limited overs cricket and that bowlers can only succeed if they are given longer spells.
Also he specifically pointed about pinpoint field placements to aid the spinner. Regarding the same he said " In white-ball cricket, fielding positions are different. There’s a lot of protection for the bowlers in the deep. It makes the job easier for a wrist-spinner. But in Test cricket, you will have fielders around the bat. Field settings would a lot more attacking. Four-day cricket helps a leg-spinner get into the groove with regard to adjusting to this sort of field setting. He gets the required confidence to bowl an attacking line and length, which he carries forward to Test cricket. Otherwise, you are always walking a thin line. If you concede a couple of boundaries or bowl a few bad balls, that can ruin your whole game."
What makes Mushtaq worry about Adil Rashid is the fact that since he is a limited overs specialist who bowls only 10 overs in ODIs and 4 in T20Is, whether he can bowl longers spells in Test cricket is a question which is making Mushtaq think.
"From this point of view, Adil Rashid’s inclusion in the England Test squad could have a negative side. You got to have a lot of overs in first-class cricket before going into a Test match. This is very important. I’m not sure whether it’s a mistake (by the England selectors) to pick Rashid. He is not an inexperienced cricketer. He has been there. But from an overall point of view, if he is not playing four-day cricket, he might find it difficult to get into the Test match mode of bowling – bowling good overs consistently over a longer period of time" wrote Mushtaq Ahmed.
Ahmed concluded his piece highlighting Rashid's strength which is the wrong'un. "The upside is that Rashid has a good wrong’un. Leg-spinners with a potent googly in his repertoire can be very handy against the tail-enders. Especially the last four batsmen don’t play the leggies well. They can manage fast bowling and finger spin. But if a leg-spinner has a deceptive googly, then you can clean up the tail quickly. If the last four batsmen get into the 30s and 40s, that could be damaging for the fielding team. The advantage of having a leg-spinner is that he can help you avoid the problem. Rashid can offer England an advantage in this regard. I had worked extensively with Rashid, when I was the England spin-bowling coach. He is a great lad. One-day cricket and T20 cricket have helped him a lot in terms of shaping his career. He also played first-class cricket for Yorkshire. But of late he hasn’t played much (last first-class match in September last year). But he has altered his action a bit; corrected it in fact. Earlier, he used to have problems with his alignment. It was the reason for his inconsistency. He used to bowl good balls, but not good overs for a longer period. We worked a lot on that. Now his alignment, the biomechanics, is much better. And it has made a difference" wrote Mushtaq as he concluded.
(Inputs from Indian Express)