ADIL RASHID says a determination to be aggressive has left him feeling as good about his bowling as he has for years.
Yorkshire’s leg-spinning all-rounder impressed in last week’s LV= County Championship draw against Durham at Headingley, taking 4-73 and 2-85 as the county fell just short of victory on the final day.
His first-innings return was his best at Headingley for four years, and it was the type of performance that left his captain Andrew Gale saying: “I’d have no hesitation in picking him for England at the minute”.
Rashid has not got anywhere near matching the 57 Championship wickets he took in 2010. In fact, in the last two seasons, he has not got near matching the 39 four-day wickets he took in 2011.
He has only taken 18 wickets in nine matches this season, but there have been encouraging signs at a time when England are searching for a viable spin option in Test match cricket.
Moeen Ali played the first three Tests of the summer as the main spin option, although Lancashire’s Simon Kerrigan has been called up for the second Test against India at Lord’s tomorrow despite not having pulled up any trees this summer.
"I've felt better this season," said Rashid, 26, who recently became a father for the first time.
"I've felt more attacking with the mindset of getting wickets. I've been able to be aggressive and if you bowl a bad ball, you bowl a bad ball. I definitely feel in a better place this year than last year or the year before.
"Hopefully it can stay dry for some time and I get some more wickets.
"If I can carry doing what I'm doing and sticking to my game plan, I should have more good days than bad days. Sometimes it will go my way, sometimes it won't.”
Yorkshire are back in Championship action against Middlesex at Scarborough on Saturday, where Rashid has taken 52 wickets in 16 previous outings in that competition, including 6-67 on debut there against Warwickshire in 2006.
“I think Rash was the biggest positive from the Durham game. I thought he was the Adil Rashid of four or five years ago, the wicket-taking Rashid that we all like to see,” said Gale.
“I think that was the best he’s bowled for a few years. The pitch helped him because there was some turn there, and you don’t usually find that at Headingley.
“His consistency and his positive mindset (was the most impressive thing). Usually if he goes for a few fours, he wants men back. But he wanted to keep them up and keep the pressure on. He didn’t bowl many long hops.
“I’d have no hesitation in picking him for England at the minute.”
Meanwhile, Yorkshire’s overseas batsman Kane Williamson, who also bowls useful off-spinners, has had his bowling action tested at Cardiff University.
Williamson was called for a suspect action during the recent Test series between New Zealand and the West Indies in the Caribbean, although he is allowed to continue bowling in county cricket until the results come back.
Williamson returned impressive figures of 2-26 from his four overs in Sunday’s NatWest T20 Blast win over Derbyshire at Chesterfield. The results are expected back within the next fortnight.