Rashid Khan, the Afghanistan and Team Hyderabad leg-spinner, has said that dismissing Team Chennai captain MS Dhoni in the 2018 Indian T20 League Qualifier 1 in Mumbai was a “dream wicket.”
“I bowled to him. I got his wicket. It was a dream wicket for me. We know how good he is against spinners,” Rashid told veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz.
Dhoni was done in by Rashid’s googly, which was tossed up full outside off and made the former India captain lunge for it. The ball spun in sharply after pitching, though, and rushed through the gap between bat and pad to hit the stumps.
Bhogle said there was a story that Chennai batting coach Michael Hussey had analysed Rashid’s bowling, and determined that he used different grips for the legbreak (split-finger grip) and the googly (fingers held together).
The ball he fell to was a legbreak, Dhoni had thought, but it went the other way, according to Bhogle. The commentator added that on his way back to the Wankhede Stadium pavilion, Dhoni had told Hussey that next time, he would play Rashid his way and not as per the batting coach’s analysis.
Rashid said that even in Australia’s Big Bash, his bowling grips had been similarly analysed, and he had then started to alter his grip just before delivering the ball. “At that time, I was bowling leg-spin with the split finger, and for the wrong ‘un, I was bringing it (the fingers) together,” Rashid said.
“Then I was like, it is not a big difference… I can always hold it like this (with split fingers) and when I am releasing the ball, I can bring the fingers closer. That is what I did later on.
“When I am bowling now, I just go with the same split fingers and when I pass the umpire, I decide which one to bowl, the wrong’ un or leg-spin. That is how I keep mixing it up. Now I bowl leg-spin with the closed finger as well. That is something which has helped me.”
Rashid added that picking a bowler’s variations may appear easy with so many viewing angles available these days, but it was hard to read from the bowler’s hand while you were batting.
“When you are watching, it looks very simple to you, but as a batsman when you are batting in the middle, you do not look at the fingers a lot. It is very difficult to see the fingers from 22 yards and to see which way it goes, you have to be mentally strong for that.”
Featured photo: Twitter / Rashid Khan