Is Rashid Khan perfecting the 'snake shot' to be a finisher like MSD?

by IANS |

Mumbai, April 29 (IANS) While criticism has mounted over spinner Rashid Khan's inability to provide the sucker-punch with his bowling for his franchise, Gujarat Titans, in the current edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), there is no denying that what he has been unable to achieve with his bowling, the 23-year-old is trying to achieve with the bat this year.

The 23-year-old has played match-winning knocks for Gujarat against CSK (40 off 21) and SRH (31 not out off 11) under tremendous pressure situations. However the premier leg-spinner has picked only eight wickets in eight matches with an economy of 7.09 in the ongoing IPL season for the Hardik Pandya-led side.

Rashid said that while his primary role will continue to remain as that of a bowler, he has been upgrading his batting skill for the last 2-3 years, especially as a finisher much like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to lend solidity to his franchise down the order.

"From the last two-three years I've been working on my batting. I have that self-belief that I should be there and finishing for the team," Rashid said after his blitz with the bat against SRH at the Wankhede on April 27, which Gujarat won by five wickets in a thriller.

"I have those skills and talent but it was just about the confidence in myself, that I could finish. The best thing is, I get more opportunity here in this team to bat."

Facing his former franchise, Rashid showed how devastating his batting could be, slamming an unbeaten 31 off just 11 balls as Gujarat completed an improbable chase of 195 to halt SRH's winning streak.

Rashid walked in with the Titans 140/5 in 16 overs, all five wickets falling to Umran Malik's pace. There were 56 needed from the last four overs, but in Rashid and Rahul Tewatia, Gujarat had two men familiar with conjuring victories out of nothing. Rashid finished it off with three sixes in four balls, the last two coming off the final two balls when nine were needed for victory.

There was a hint of MS Dhoni's helicopter, and a bit of a hockey player's drag-flick, but the end product was all Rashid. "The snake shot" is what he calls it, because of the way the wrists uncoil and strike.

On his mediocre bowling -- his four overs leaked 45 runs, Rashid's third-worst figures in the history of the IPL -- the spinner said, "I think I didn't bowl as well as I should have. I bowled four-five bad deliveries and was punished and that is something I had in my mind. On a wicket like this, you can't miss your line and length, and that is something I have done."

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