England’s succession-planning has already started with the selection of Matt Parkinson, the 23 year-old legspinner from Bolton, for the largely experimental squad on this tour. Parkinson has the great virtue of getting plenty of revolutions on his stock delivery, and bowled two tidy overs for 14 runs and a wicket on his debut in the third T20 of this series. In his T20 career, hitherto for Lancashire, he has taken a wicket every 13 balls; Rashid’s strike-rate, albeit against better batsmen on the whole, is one every 18 balls.
Parkinson propels the highly-revved ball up and above the batsman’s eyeline before dipping and bouncing. The trouble is that other great virtues are not evident – no fielding, and no batting, to speak of. Parkinson misfielded his first ball in international cricket when it was pushed back at him but that can be forgiven, for the joy and relief he must have felt after a taxing season.
In the third T20, before Eoin Morgan decided to protect him after only two overs, Parkinson bowled Tim Seifert – New Zealand’s wicketkeeper who was trying to reverse-sweep – through his legs. “I had a feeling he was going to reverse me that ball so I bowled him a slider and luckily he missed it,” said Parkinson, whose twin brother is also a spinner, but a left-handed one for Leicestershire.
“I’m learning a lot from him (Rashid). Obviously it is fantastic to train and play alongside him, and we’ve got Jeetan Patel (the Warwickshire and former New Zealand offspinner, and England’s spin-bowling coach) here as well who is fantastic. But you don’t just learn off Adil and Jeets, it is the batters as well and the other coaches.”
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