4 statistical phenomena that have accompanied the rise of Rashid Khan
An exponential career growth is rare, but it does happen. And Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan is a good example of that.
Five years ago, nobody knew his name. But now the leggie is the hottest asset in T20. In the 2017 IPL auctions he went for an astonishing bid of Rs. 4 crore, with Sunrisers Hyderabad acquiring his services. From then on, his career curve has been onwards and upwards.
While leggies are often known to concede runs, their numerous variations make up for that. One of the pros of being a leg-spinner, especially a wrist spinner, is that they don't depend on the pitch to generate turn - unlike off-spinners.
Rashid Khan is now a part of various T20 franchises all over the world, including the Sunrisers Hyderabad (Indian Premier League), Guyana Amazon Warriors (Caribbean Premier League), Adelaide Strikers (Big Bash League), Kabul Zwanan (Afghanistan Premier League), Durban Heat (Mzanzi Super League), and Comilla Victorians (Bangladesh Premier League).
Also, he is now the No. 2 and No. 1 ranked bowler in ODIs and T20Is respectively. In addition to that, he leads the all-rounders' charts in ODIs.
So what makes him so successful? Here's a look at four stats-based factors that have contributed to his rise:
#1 International performances
For a player representing an associate nation, the chances of playing in international fixtures are minimal. But Rashid has taken every opportunity that has come his way.
Picking 118 wickets in 50 ODIs and 64 wickets in 35 T20Is is brilliant for any bowler. But given that Rashid has just entered his 20s, these figures are mind-boggling.
Spinners are often brought on during the middle overs in ODIs to curtail the run flow and to break partnerships, and Rashid seems to be doing that job beyond expectations. He has a fabulous economy of 3.91 in ODIs, and his average of 14.47 is pretty good too. On an average, he picks more than two wickets per ODI match.
Breaking the opening partnership could bring down the confidence of the batting order and force them to adapt. Spinners are generally called on only after 10 or 12 overs. But as the statistics show, Rashid has been the cause of 26 top-order dismissals in just 50 innings.
Middle-order partnerships increase the chances of a win, and there lies the challenge for the bowlers. In the case of Rashid, it is evident that he has time and again rattled the middle-order. Almost half of his victims are middle-order batsmen.
The trump card for any leg-spinner is the 'googly'. A deceptive delivery, it gives leggies a higher probability of bowling batsmen or trapping them leg-before. This is the case for Rashid as well; he bowls the googly regularly to great effect.
T20Is are all about consistency in getting wickets and maintaining a decent economy rate. Rashid is as consistent as any bowler in the format.
In the shortest format, openers are required to be aggressive and take advantage of the powerplay. Despite only four overs being available to a bowler, star spinners are often given a quick go early in the innings.
Rashid too has been successful at this, picking up 13 top-order wickets. But as expected, a major chunk of his wickets are middle-order batsmen.
The scenario for tailenders is different in Twenty20 cricket as compared to ODIs. In T20s, any player batting at any position can turn the match situation. A hard-hitting low-order batsman can score a fast 20 or 30 runs to turn the match.
But Rashid is a clever bowler who can be trusted to close out matches by preventing such late flourishes.
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