In-Focus

How many variations does Rashid Khan have?

We are living in the era of batsmen. When the T20s stepped in, the batting has become much more relaxed than what it was. The effects of the shortest format of the game have completely changed the way the game is approached.

Notably, the art of off-spinning has become innocuous for the batsmen to face. The wrist-spin, which wasn’t the troubleshooter in cricket’s olden days, has become the new weapon against the batsman. Even then, the leg spinners have to be innovative enough to tackle the deadly blow from the batsman’s mighty blade.

Many mystery spinners have come in, where only a few are still in the scene. Most have deteriorated once the mystery in their bowling is decoded.

Arrival of the Hoodwinker

Rashid Khan is more of a finger spinner than a wrist spinner. His unique skill set and the match-winning attitude changed the way the leg spinners are looked in T20s. His mysteries conquered the T20 tournaments around the globe. At the age of 20, his impressive stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2017 and 2018 took him places. And, in the International stage, he literally ruled the T20 records of 2010s.

The Afghan leg-spinner’s racy shoot to fame on the International arena has put his nation into the limelight of the cricketing world.

Technically, Rashid Khan’s strengths are his fast hands and sharp turns. He is someone who bowls more googly than the leg breaks.

If you look at his bowling in a close watch, you could find out that he approaches all his variations, differently. The grip, the release, and the body alignment changes according to the variety, he prefers to bowl.

Moreover, there must be this question in everyone’s mind:

“How to bowl like Rashid Khan?”

Well that’s not easy. Still we will help!

In this article, we will deeply analyze the variations Rashid Khan has in his kitty along with the bowling techniques. This will also dig about the factors that make the Afghan spinner more special.

Leg Spin

Rashid Khan Leg Spin

Grip

  • It is a usual leg spinner grip except that the ball is fixed on the tip of the first three fingers(thumb, index, and middle finger).
  • The partition of the fingers will be that the thumb and index finger at one side with the middle and ring finger in the other.

Release

  • Rashid Khan bends his upper body slightly towards his left to bowl a leg-spin, which is not the case for the other variations. 
  • The ball releases from the top of the middle finger.

Impact on the delivery

  • The tip of his finger also helps him to bowl quicker. 
  • Result: A sharply turning leg-spin after pitching. 

Googly

Rashid Khan can bowl three different types of Googlies – the reason why he is lethal when he delivers them.

The Thumbprint Googly

Rashid Khan Googly

Grip

  • In this variation, the index finger comes together with the middle finger, leaving the thumb finger alone on the other side of the partition. 

Release

  • Rashid, unlike other wrist-spinners, uses his thumb finger to create the wrong-turn here. 
  • Interestingly here, the ball releases from the top of the index finger. 
  • He releases this googly from the angle of eleven O’clock.

Impact on the delivery

  • The thumbprint googlies are as fast as his leg spinner, which makes this variation deadlier.
  • Result: A slight turn on the right side of the ball (i.e., towards a right-handed batsman). 

The High-armed Googly

Rashid Khan Leg Spin vs Googly
Rashid Khan’s Leg-spin vs Googly

Grip

  • The grip is same here as the previous one. 

Release 

  • He releases this variation from a higher position (i.e., from the 12 O’clock), which often misguides the batsman to play for the leg-turn.

Impact on the delivery

  • The higher release allows the ball to be a bit quicker than the first googly. 
  • Result: a sharp extra bounce along with a slight turn. 

The Webber’s Googly

Grip

  • The grip here is similar to the one he does for the leg-spin delivery, except for the ball being placed much on the middle finger. 

Release

  • This is the only variation where Rashid uses his ring finger, not much though.
  • Unlike the other two googly variations, the ball gets released from the back of his middle finger here. 
  • Rashid uses the full crease to bowl this one, to create that angle. 

Impact on the delivery. 

  • Comparatively less quick than that of other googly variations, he used to bowl. 
  • Result: Eventually, this one will have the biggest turn among his googlies. It turns like an off-spinner.

Flipper

Rashid Khan Flipper
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Grip

  •  The grip here is similar to that of his leg-spin deliveries. 

Release

  • The release is from the back of the index finger. 
  • The extra force by the index and middle fingers tends the ball go straight without any turn.
  • The extra-power from the fingers is the key, in this case. 

Impact on the delivery

  • This variation is the quickest of all he bowls.
  • The ball heads straight in the direction in which it is bowled. 

The Wrap up

Image of Rashid Khan bowling in ODI

So, now we know why he is one of the best T20 bowlers in the world. No surprises that he is currently ranking No.1 in ICC T20 Bowlers Rankings. His clear and consistent dominance over the batsmen in the shortest format keeps him at the top. You can find here – How ICC ranks players?

It looks like – it is almost impossible for a batsman to study all his variations and start to dominate him. And, he is already hinting about a new variation that he will use only in Test matches. There’s no stopping him!

No wonder why this gem has been the best in the format that demands more. 

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