Matt Parkinson bidding to strike up leg-spin partnership with Adil Rashid in England side ahead of T20 World Cup

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Matt Parkinson is embracing his uniqueness as he looks to force his way into England’s T20 World Cup side alongside fellow leggie Adil Rashid.

Parkinson and Rashid played in the same England team for the first time yesterday, with Moeen Ali providing a third spin threat.

The trio shared five wickets in 11 overs of spin – the most England have bowled in a men’s T20 – on the way to a 45-run win that sets up a decider on Parkinson’s home ground, Old Trafford, tomorrow evening.

Parkinson has been Rashid’s understudy but their differences combined neatly in yesterday’s win.

“We are quite different,” said Parkinson. “A lot gets highlighted about how slowly I bowl. He bowls faster than me, he uses his googly more than me.

“I think we are different and I think that’s why yesterday worked so well. From each end it was different and they couldn’t just line up one of us.

“Moving forward, I would love to play with Rash. I don’t think it’s always feasible. But I‘d like to think the performances I’ve put in this week will only aid us going forward.”

Parkinson said that when he was initially left out of England’s squad this summer, he was “gutted”, but he has played every game and performed well since a Covid outbreak required a completely new squad. He is looking to use the opportunity to show off that he can do things differently, alongside Rashid.

“I think in the past I’ve probably thought about it too much, I think. In South Africa, the last time we toured there in white ball there was a lot written about it.

“I was looking up at the board last time to see if I could push 47mph or something. But I just saw that and embraced it really. I think we had a chat last summer about it, and I said I’d like to be the only bowler that does it this way, it would be pretty cool not to have to conform to what other spinners do, but actually just be niche.

“And it might be difficult on some grounds, you’re going to struggle but I like to think that if there’s a little bit there, I can stick to that.”

No cricketer spent more days away on England’s tour of Sri Lanka and India than Parkinson, who did not play a single game. He recognises the benefits of it now, even if he was “really, really down” at times.

“It was a tough three months not playing, with some dark moments in some rooms in hotels in India,” he said. “But to have had the three months there working, bowling each day to the likes of Rooty, Stokesy, Jos, I realised when I got back home after about a month how much I’d improved.

“People were saying to me ‘oh, this looks different’ and I think it takes time for it to set in and takes time for you to see. Other people can see it straight away.

“I’m very grateful I went on that trip. I probably wasn’t when I came back but I am now. I think it gave me a bulk load of overs to go into this summer with.

“I wasn’t searching for anything this summer, I managed to hit my straps early so to have that opportunity was fantastic.”

Yesterday, England did not use their fourth spinner, Liam Livingstone, although he did make a mark on the game by becoming the first batter to hit the ball over Headingley’s new Emerald Stand.

“Well he claims he’s hit two bigger, that was his chat last night,” said Parkinson of the extraordinary stroke. “He has hit me for a couple ofsimilar ones in training, but that’s the biggest I’ve seen in a game.

“Some of the lads didn’t actually believe it had gone out the ground.”

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