Adil Rashid drew some consolation from his performance against the West Indies despite a weakened England succumbing to a 3-2 T20 series defeat at Barbados.
With several regulars, including Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, missing in the Caribbean following their efforts against Ashes, Rashid was one of the most experienced members of the side and did not disappoint during the five-game series.
England’s first leg spinner won a seven-for-89 aggregate in contests at the Kensington Oval, finishing with a stunning save rate of 5.75, as a powerful Windies batting unit dealt with him with some circumspection.
His two for 17 in a thrilling fifth and final game, which England lost by 17 runs on Sunday night, saw Rashid become England’s all-time leading T20 wicket taker with 81 scalps, edging out team-mate Chris Jordan ( 80).
“Obviously I picked up a few wickets here and there, kept them tight on my side,” Rashid said. ” How are you. I am always looking to learn and improve. Overall, I did pretty well on the show.
“You have ups and downs. Right now, I feel good. You try to feel confident before a game, it’s all about preparation. I feel pretty good with my game.
“Obviously it’s a T20 game, anything can happen. Sometimes you feel confident and you get hit a bit, and if you don’t feel good you can always take a wicket, so I’m always looking to do my best.
Rashid, who was England’s top wicket-taker at last year’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, is ranked fourth in the world in the format, behind fellow wrist-turners Wanindu Hasaranga, Tabraiz Shamsi and Adam Zampa.
Despite being one of the best white ball bowlers in the world, Rashid hasn’t featured in England’s testing plans since the start of 2019, in part due to a nagging complaint at the shoulder that first burst before World Cup victory at age 50.
Rashid needed a few painkiller injections just to get through the tournament and continued to be burdened for months afterwards, hampering his ability to get through his variations, though meticulous attention to his rehabilitation and strength and conditioning work meant he described his shoulder as “100%” at the end of last year.
England’s spin cupboard is relatively empty – evidenced by the fact that they have gone to several Tests in 2021 without a front row slow bowler – so would Rashid accept a red ball return?
Rashid, who took 60 wickets in 19 Tests, wouldn’t be fired on the subject, saying: “I don’t know what’s going on yet. I have just been hired for white ball cricket.
Rashid’s contribution to Bridgetown on Sunday night left the Windies on 105 for four but Rovman Powell’s 35 not on 17 balls and Kieron Pollard’s unbeaten 41 on 25 deliveries took the hosts to 179 with no further loss.
James Vince amassed 55 – just the second time he reached half a century in 17 T20 hits – but was one of four hitters to succumb to Akeal Hosein’s left arm spin as the England tipped to 119 for six in 16th over.
Sam Billings kept them afloat with a spirited 41 from 28 deliveries, but was part of a wicket group in the final, with Jason Holder taking four scalps in as many deliveries, as England were out for 162 in 19.5 overs.
Rashid said: “I was thinking of limiting them to 180, we were pretty happy with that, but obviously with the bat I don’t think we had enough partnerships, we just lost too many wickets in clusters.”
Jordan, Billings and then Rashid were all caught on the leg-side fence after successive balls as England looked for the big shots to keep them alive, but Holder joined an exclusive club when Saqib Mahmood’s inside edge nicked the leg stump.
Lasith Malinga, Rashid Khan and Curtis Campher are the only other men to take four-for-four in an international T20, while Holder finished with a better five-for-27 format to end an enjoyable streak in dramatic fashion.