Adil Rashid: Geoffrey Boycott defends England leg-spinner

Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid
Moeen Ali (left) and Adil Rashid recorded combined bowling figures of 64-2-284-0

Adil Rashid should not be criticised despite recording the worst figures by a debutant in Test history, says ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott.

The leg-spinner finished with 0-163 off 34 overs as Pakistan declared on 523-8 against England in the first Test.

His fellow spinner Moeen Ali finished with 0-121 in Abu Dhabi, but Boycott told Test Match Special: "There was no margin for error as it was so slow.

"They're not the greatest spinners but criticising them on here isn't fair."

Referring specifically to Rashid's performance in the opening Test of the three-match series in the United Arab Emirates, Boycott added: "It's disappointing for him - you like to get a wicket or two when you play your first match.

"But he will come up smiling tomorrow. He's fairly phlegmatic - he's been here before when people have scored off him."

England's most expensive debut figures without taking a wicket
Adil Rashid0-163 against Pakistan, 2015
John Warr0-142 against Australia, 1951
Gubby Allen0-115 against Australia, 1930

Boycott's fellow TMS summarisers, ex-England spinners Graeme Swann and Phil Tufnell, also defended Yorkshire's Rashid, with the former suggesting the 27-year-old should be regarded as a second-innings match-winner.

Swann also suggested that some of the coaching Rashid has been getting may not be helping his cause.

"I spoke to him in Barbados this year [on England's tour of West Indies] and one of the things he told me was that he was told to bowl slower - aiming at 48 or 49 miles per hour, which is garbage," Swann told BBC Radio 5 live's Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show.

"The pace you bowl as spinner should be different for every batsman on every pitch. For me, the ideal pace for a wicket is as quick as you can bowl it and still make the ball spin.

"Whoever told him that his stock ball should be 47mph should not be coaching bowling."

And Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes, who finished with 4-57, backed up Boycott's assessment that Rashid, who took 3-53 in a practice match against Pakistan A, would bounce back.

"Adil is a laid-back character," Stokes told BBC Sport. "I'm sure he'll be hurting inside because it hasn't gone the way he would have liked but we've been with him for the last two weeks and seen how well he has bowled in the nets and the practice matches.

"He didn't come off today but I'm sure he'll play a big part for the rest of the tour."

England ended the second day 467 runs behind, with opening pair Alastair Cook and Moeen still together at the close.

Listen to the TMS team discuss each day's play on the TMS podcast.

Follow the best bits of the series with our daily Pint-Sized TMS videos.

Top Stories