Ideal Rashid is ready to turn heads

One-day side still needs fine-tuning but emerging all-rounder can help to provide balance

The one-day match played at The Oval on Friday will soon be forgotten. Most of the 20,000 who watched it might have struggled to recall it by the time they reached the Hobbs Gates on the way out of the ground.

In one important respect, however, the first match of the 2009 NatWest Series between England and Australia will be recalled down the years. It was the day – the day-night, to use the correct one-day parlance – on which an international cricketer emerged.

Adil Rashid is not the finished article but he is the real deal. He must be given time to cope with the demands of big-time cricket and it would be futile to expect great all-round deeds yet awhile. But on the ground where 11 days previously England had recaptured the Ashes was a cricketer who might very well help his country to keep winning them.

The statistical evidence for such an assertion is superficially flimsy. Ten overs of leg spin for 37 runs and 31 not out from 23 balls in a losing cause are not quite the headlines of heroes. But the manner in which Rashid went about his work in both departments was confirmation that he knew his business.

Finding a pitch which suited him, he bowled with some skill and guile. There was turn and there was drift. Crucially, the bad balls which have marred his ascent were, if not absent, then rare. The middle part of the innings when he bowled might have been the right time for a young bowler to be on but he was not intimidated. He was the only England bowler to go at under four runs an over.

His batting was equally measured. Coming in at 178 for 6, it was all seemingly up for England. Perhaps cajoled by the unbridled hitting of Luke Wright, Rashid did not panic in the face of an increasingly oppressive target. The pair's efforts ensured that England took the game to the last ball. Had Rashid managed to face just a couple of balls more, England might have won a game that they had done their best to lose throughout their innings.

For Rashid anything is possible. If England are to prosper at the one-day game it needs to be as well. Despite his deceptively easy assurance there is still evidently a lot of work to be done on the side that are nominally fourth in the world rankings but who will go to the Champions Trophy in South Africa next month with only mild expectations of reaching the semi-final stage.

Rashid gives the impression of knowing how good a cricketer he is and he is also more worldly than the 18-year-old who began playing for Yorkshire three years ago and surprised more knowing team-mates. He will not be 22 until next February and his bowling discipline, leg spin, is one of the most complex in cricket, sometimes as deep a mystery to its purveyor as to those receiving it.

He has sometimes gone round the park this summer – 14 overs cost 97 runs against Nottinghamshire – but in his last two Championship matches he has taken five wickets in an innings and scored a hundred. That takes a player of rare gifts.

Rashid will be important for what he represents, of course, a kid of Asian background born in Bradford. He and Ravi Bopara, from the other end of the country, can be seminal figures in the development and evolution of Asian cricketers in the England team. Nasser Hussain, the finest of all England captains in the past 20 years, led the way, but things can be expected to change rapidly in the next decade.

There will be a regular supply of cricketers of Asian background and culture. One of them, Monty Panesar, became almost overnight one of the most popular sportsmen in the country. His place in the team is now under profound and imminent threat – from Rashid.

It will be fascinating to discover if Rashid and Graeme Swann appear regularly together in England's one-day team. They were undoubtedly a success at The Oval on Friday but the team still had an odd balance.

There were only four specialist batsmen in the side, discounting Matt Prior. Although Wright is an admirable cricketer in so many ways and plays attractive, full-on cricket, to have him as the fulcrum of the side at No 6 is probably not a realistic option for long. He is a blaster and the No 6 position demands a finisher, an accumulator as well as a slogger, which he may struggle to become – unless England have plans to devise a system of their own. They certainly need some batsmen with cool heads and cooler bats.

Too much seems still to be up in the air, if not being executed on a wing and a prayer. Despite the victories against West Indies this year, there seems no pattern yet to England's one-day cricket. The second match in the NatWest Series is today at Lord's and, September or not, all seven will be crucial for England to be anything like prepared for the Champions Trophy.

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit