BBL 2022-23 – Rashid Khan hints at new deliveries but focused on keeping things simple

Recent Match Report - Strikers vs Heat 46th Match 2021/22
Rashid Khan has one of the most astonishing T20 records in the game, but he is always looking to improve and is working on some new deliveries although is not quite ready to unfurl them in the middle.
Rashid, who has 469 T20 wickets at 17.89 and an economy rate of 6.39, focuses on keeping things simple when he has the ball in hand and is conscious of not losing his control by experimenting too much. However, after trying a slower legbreak a little in recent times he may have a few new tricks up his sleeve.

“I do try my best to have different deliveries. At the moment I’m just bowling them in the nets, I haven’t brought that in the game,” Rashid told ESPNcricinfo ahead of a likely return to Adelaide Strikers in the BBL. “The slow legspin which I have been working on, I bowled that a couple of times in the PSL and the series against Bangladesh [in February]. It went well, but still I need to have more command over that ball where I can be more effective rather than be someone who gives runs with those deliveries.

“Yes, I do work on new deliveries but I need to have more practice then I can bring them out. At the moment, what I have been doing so far, I think that is working. I will just stick to that for the Asia Cup and World Cup. Consistency is important.

“It’s pretty clear in my mind that I should keep it pretty simple. I don’t think a lot about what will happen tomorrow, it’s about what happens today. One thing that is always in my mind is just to hit the right area consistently. I have control of that. As long as I have that in my mind, everything becomes so simple.”

Such is the threat that Rashid poses for whichever side he is part of that teams will often opt to minimise the risk they take during his spell. While he knows he will be in the game if batters choose to attack him, he is also content if they try to see him out knowing that the pressure can bring wickets for his team-mates.

“Definitely if he’s after me it gives me that opportunity where I can take wickets, but at the same time if someone is not taking that risk I’m happy because I’m building up that kind of pressure for the other end,” he said. “It’s not [just] about me taking wickets, sometimes I build up that pressure then from the other end whoever is bowling it’s an opportunity for him to take wickets. We are always planning like that. I shouldn’t be thinking that I’m taking wickets all the time. If I have a good over, the next over is always there to take wickets as well.”

Rashid is one of the most in-demand T20 cricketers in the world and was speaking to mark the launch of tickets going on sale for this year’s BBL. He is expected to be kept by Strikers, for whom he has taken 92 wickets for at 16.69 including his career-best 6 for 17 in his final appearance of last season, in the overseas player draft on August 28, where the retention option for a club has been dubbed the “Rashid Khan rule”.
It will be part of a period where T20 dominates for Rashid. He has just completed a five-match series against Ireland which came after a brief appearance in the Hundred with attention now turning to the Asia Cup that leads into the T20 World Cup in Australia. Not long after comes league season which will likely see him start in the BBL before heading to South Africa where he has signed for MI Cape Town.

However, with Afghanistan not having the heavy Test schedule of some nations, Rashid has yet to be forced into tough decisions over his workload, instead it is more a question of where he plys his trade.

“As a player you always need to have it in your mind, how much cricket can I play. How much load can by body take? That is very important,” he said. “We don’t have that kind of busy schedule for international matches where we play lots of Tests. We don’t play five or 10 Tests in a year. If that was the case for me, then definitely I would have picked a few leagues where I can take myself and play more for my national team. But at the same time, we don’t have that schedule, we play hardly one or two Tests in a year which allows me to be mentally very fresh and not that tired.

“It’s about going to different places, getting the kind of experience and knowledge I need for the future and be able to bring that to the national game and share it with the youngsters.”

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