If you ask anybody, who is the best T20 spinner in the world? Rashid Khan will be the consensus choice.
The wizard from Afghanistan has troubled even the most significant players. T20 is commonly viewed as a batsman’s game, but Rashid defies this stereotype by making batters dance to his songs with the ball in his hands.
But what makes this exceptional leg-spinner such a potent T20 force? Why can’t other spinners routinely produce such impactful match-winning performances?
Let’s look closely at Rashid Khan and see what makes him so good in T20 cricket.
1. He has Complete Control Over his Length
Leg spinners can sometimes be inconsistent with their lengths, but Rashid Khan is not one of them. Rashid rarely bowls a wrong ball and gets dispatched into the stands. The batters must execute massive strokes on good deliveries, making escaping tough.
The leggie controls his length well and does not give opposition batters free passes. Rashid never gives the batsman an inch, and he constantly executes that nagging length that has hitters deciding whether to play it on the front or back foot.
2. Rashid’s Speed is his Weapon
Rashid Khan has admired two unusual yet talented leg spinners since childhood—former legend Anil Kumble of India and Pakistan’s unstoppable Shahid Afridi.
When you watch Rashid Khan bowl, you will notice parallels between him and these two former great spinners. Rashid bowls faster than other spinners, making it challenging for batters to get beneath his balls and loft him for boundaries.
Because of the speed with which he bats, a batter cannot plan any stroke against him. One can only bat against him instinctively because he rushes you with his pace, making it difficult to smash him out of the ground.
3. It’s Impossible to Choose his ‘Googly’
Any spinner in the world can take a wicket with the ‘Googly’. A flawless ‘Googly’ is executed when a batsman cannot detect a minor alteration in the spinner’s wrist posture and attempts to play for traditional leg spin.
Rashid is an expert at deceiving batsmen by bowling the ‘wrong un’. His wrist posture changes dramatically when attempting to spin the ball the other way. In addition, his fast arm movement makes it challenging for batsmen to predict where the ball will spin.
When Rashid looks to stock the bowl, he holds it with a split finger as it spins away from the right-hander. When he decides to bowl the googly, he holds it with his fingers on the side, and there is a little last-minute movement in his wrist when he flicks the ball from the side of his hand.
This makes his wicket-taking delivery exceedingly difficult to detect, and he perplexes even the world’s best batters. He gains pace across the crease and bowls the ball with vigour, distinguishing himself from the competition.
4. There Will be No Freebies if He is Bowling
Few people recognise it, but Rashid Khan is a brilliant spinner. Spinners can go for many runs when they bowl long hops, and they end up going for more than 40 runs in a four-over session.
On the other hand, Rashid Khan rarely has a bad day and does not give the opposition batters easy balls. Even when he isn’t getting wickets, he is economical and does not let the opposition advance.
Rashid works tirelessly at the nets to ensure that he does not let his side down when he bowls in the match. Even after more than 109 IPL matches, his economy rate is only 6.67, making him a world-class player.
Rashid’s action is similar to a bowling action in that you set the length you want him to bowl, and he will continue to bowl all day.
5. Never be Afraid to Bowl at the Best
This is a crucial reason he has succeeded in his T20 career. The champion bowler enjoys the competition, and despite his lack of international experience, he enjoys bowling against the greatest players in the world.
When he bowls against the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ab de Villiers, MS Dhoni, and others, his bowling has a different zip. The 24-year-old never backs down from the fight and constantly seeks to use magic against good hitters.
We have seen throughout his career that he wants the ball when the best opposition batsman takes a stroke. When he gets the ball in his hands, he is never intimidated and never doubts his skill. The smiling assassin gathers himself at his run-up and goes for wickets with every ball, which keeps him ticking in every match.
Rashid Khan is an all-out match-winner in T20 cricket because of his immense confidence, self-belief, and desire to have the ball in his hand constantly. He is never intimidated, and, most of all, he continues to perfect his abilities.