The Australian influence on the development of England’s premier wrist spinner Adil Rashid appears likely to increase with Test legend Shane Warne the latest to flag an interest in mentoring the 27-year-old.
Having thrived under Yorkshire’s Australian-born coach Jason Gillespie in recent county seasons and backed by England’s new supremo (and former New South Wales Blues and Sydney Sixers coach) Trevor Bayliss, Rashid is tipped to make his Test debut in the current series against Pakistan in the UAE.
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And with Bayliss already showing a willingness to incorporate specialist coaches from around the cricket world – former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene is helping the England team adapt to foreign conditions in the Emirates – Warne’s willingness to get involved will doubtless be explored.
"I’d love to work with Rashid if the opportunity arose - 100 per cent," Warne said yesterday while spruiking his upcoming Cricket All-Stars series of former greats that will be played in the United States next month.
"There’s been a lot of spinners I’ve helped over the years and I’m more than happy to talk to anyone.
"I think in my last year of county cricket (with Hampshire in 2007) Michael Vaughan, when he was captain of Yorkshire, asked if I could do him a favour and have a chat with Rashid.
"He (Rashid) was pretty young then but I had a good chat.
"He’s a pretty impressive kid, he’s been on the scene a while now.
"England have done pretty well with Rashid - they haven’t rushed him."
Rashid Adil is expected to play a big role for England in the UAE with fellow spinner Moeen Ali // Getty Images
Rashid was part of England’s Test squads for their tour of the Caribbean in April this year and throughout their successful home Ashes campaign against Australia in July and August, but has yet to receive his Test cap.
It was only conditions unfavourable to spin bowling and the Australian batsmen’s glaring vulnerabilities against seamers that counted against his selection in the Ashes, with Bayliss indicating after England’s defeat at Lord’s in July that he was looking to play two spinners if pitches and weather remained dry.
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But even though he has been forced to wait to add Test selection to the 16 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 appearances he has made for England, Rashid has already benefited greatly from the input of Australian expertise imparted by Gillespie and Bayliss.
When Yorkshire won their first England division one county title in more than a decade under former Australia fast bowler Gillespie in 2014, Rashid was his team’s equal second-highest wicket-taker for the season with 49 at 24.81.
In a recent interview with cricket.com.au, Rashid heaped praise on both ex-Test quick Gillespie and former Blues batsman Bayliss and the uncomplicated, positive approach they have brought to their respective roles in England.
"He’s brought a lot to my game," Rashid said of Gillespie, who was appointed Yorkshire’s coach when the famous county was in dire trouble on and off the field in 2011.
"When he first came (to Headingley) he said 'keep it simple, just spin the ball'.
"Simple as that – 'spin it either way, you’re going to have your good days and you’re going to have your bad days, it doesn’t matter so long as you continue to have that same mindset all the time of spinning it and not looking to do other things'.
"That’s when I bowl my best and that’s when Dizzy (Gillespie) knows I bowl my best.
"He brings a lot to any team that he goes into, he lets people play how they want to play, express themselves and enjoy their cricket."
Rashid has been mentored by Gillespie at Yorkshire // Getty Images
Rashid said that Bayliss, who also enjoyed success with Sri Lanka and the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League before taking on the England job on the cusp of this year’s Ashes series, brought a similarly straightforward approach to the game.
It echoes the mantra long preached by Warne, Australia’s most successful Test bowler and widely regarded as cricket’s greatest leg spinner, that cricketers produce their best when they are not over-burdened with instructions and strategies and can simply enjoy their craft.
"The (England) set-up now is a different environment with Trevor (Bayliss) coming in," Rashid told cricket.com.au after the Australian had succeeded Peter Moores as national coach.
"The mental side is completely different, it’s a real enjoyable place to be.
"I find him (Bayliss) very easy to talk to, very simple and clear in his plans.
"He’s very positive, it’s not overlooking things and it’s not over-complicating things."
Warne worked with the Australia team, and in particular incumbent Test spinner Nathan Lyon and budding leg spinner James Muirhead, in South Africa last year in the build-up to the ICC World T20 tournament in Bangladesh.
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Cricket Australia then enlisted the input of Test cricket’s foremost wicket-taker, Sri Lankan off-spinner Muthiah Muralidaran, leading into the two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE in which the tourists were heavily defeated.
Since then, Lyon’s long-time mentor and former Canada captain John Davison has filled the role of consultant spin bowling coach to work alongside national coach Darren Lehmann and Warne has indicated his schedule of commentary and charity work often precludes further involvement.
But he appears interested in making an exception in the case of Yorkshire-born Rashid.
"He (Rashid) seems to be bowling pretty well, it’ll be great to see how (England Test captain) Alastair Cook handles a leg spinner," Warne said.
"It’s exciting. Let’s hope he grabs his opportunity because it’ll be great to see England have a leg spinner."