Why It Is Too Early To Judge Rashid Khan Despite Giving Away 108 Runs

Afghanistan spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi were hit plenty on Day 1 of their debut Test though made a comeback later

Test cricket is the oldest and arguably the truest form of cricket. It is not fast-paced like T20s or ODIs where the bowler goes by the methodology ‘you miss, I hit’. In Test cricket, batsmen play in the defensive mode (though, like Shikhar Dhawan, not all the time). Bowlers have attacking field and runs are plenty as soon as the ball goes past the players in the 30-yard-circle. Setting up batsmen takes overs and bowlers need the patience to take wickets.

During Day 1 of one-off India vs Afghanistan Test, 19-year-old Rashid Khan, who is considered the best T20 spinner by many including legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar, had a big task ahead of him. Rashid did not compromise with his bowling speed despite the change of format.

The Afghan leggie suffered at the hands of Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan as he gave runs at an economy rate more than his T20 and ODI statistics. The youngster learnt his lesson the hard way. Bowling googlies constantly does not get you wickets, consistency in line and length is a key aspect.

After bowling 122 deliveries and leaking 108 runs, Rashid got the wicket of India’s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane. It was not the googly but Rashid’s leg-spin that got the better of Rahane as he was trapped in front of the wicket. As commentator Sanjay Manjrekar put it, it is his leg-spin that’s tough for batsmen to play instead of his googly.

If batsmen did not pay attention, they were often beaten by Rashid’s leg-spin. He got the wicket of Rahane through Decision Review System (DRS). He even got trolled on social media for getting pounded for runs in his debut Test match. Here are a few reactions —

On the other hand, there were a few tweets in support of him —

But, Test cricket is a format in which leg-spinners don’t often produce their best performance in the debut innings. Here are a few first bowling spells from successful leg-spinners —

Shane Warne (Australia) — 1 wicket for 150 runs
Anil Kumble (India) — 3 wickets for 170 runs
Danish Kaneria (Pakistan) — 2 wickets for 119 runs

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The leg-spinners mentioned above turned out to be one of the best in the game. Warne is the highest wicket-taker for Australia (708 wickets) and Kumble (619 wickets) is for India. Kaneria too has 260 wickets for Pakistan in 61 Tests.