Adil Rashid lived up to his nickname of ‘the Hoover’ when he cleaned up for England in Grenada and is hoping for another bumper haul if the West Indies continue swinging for the stands.
The leg-spinner brought a dramatic end to Wednesday’s classic one-day international between the sides, taking the home side’s last four wickets in the space of five balls to secure victory in an 807-run thriller.
Rashid started the 48th over with painful figures of one for 83 and finished it with a match-deciding five for 85. That trademark ability to pick up everything at the end of an innings was first acknowledged a long time ago at Yorkshire, but the old nickname still holds up.
“A long time ago, about seven or eight years ago, someone started calling me the Hoover,” he said ahead of Saturday’s series finale in St Lucia.
“I think it was because number seven or eight came in and I bowled a few tricks and got a few wickets quickly.
“To get four in an over and finish the game like that was a nice feeling for me. At one stage it was probably looking 50-50 but we knew it was only one or two wickets away and then Eoin Morgan threw me the ball and said ‘do your thing. Whatever you do, do it’.”
Despite Rashid’s moment in the sun, the past couple of weeks have been hard on bowlers from both sides. Flat pitches, short boundaries and inviting Caribbean crosswinds have been conducive to power-hitting, with a remarkable 93 sixes in three completed games.
Rashid has conceded 13 of them, but the sight of the ball sailing through the air makes him think catches are coming rather than fretting over his economy rate.
“There may be days when you get smashed but it’s about having the confidence and belief that it only takes one miscue for you to get them out,” he said.
“My mindset is definitely that, to try to create chances and get wickets. If there is a risk of going for six, six, six and then a wicket, then that’s the job I have to do.
“The West Indies are big hitters, they can hit the ball out of the ground, but it only takes one ball to trigger something and start a collapse. You look at people like Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo…then you go down the order and it’s Jason Holder or Carlos Brathwaite.
“They keep coming and coming but as a bowling unit, we have to have that belief that: yes, they’ll keep coming but that means chances. You’ve got to embrace it, have fun with it and accept it. Enjoy the challenge.”
Having finished with two wickets from successive deliveries, Rashid has the chance to finish off a ‘moral’ hat-trick when he next comes on, even though the history books would not recognise it as such.
“That would be nice, I’d love to come out and get a wicket first ball, but we’ll see,” he said.
The record for most sixes in an ODI innings has been broken twice in this series, with the Windies reeling off 23 maximums in Barbados only for England to hit 24 in Grenada.
Home captain Jason Holder is now gunning to get the honour back.
“Let’s hope so, we want it to come back to the Caribbean and hopefully we can hit 25 or 26,” he said.
“That’s just the way the games have gone so far. People love to see the ball flying around. For me, as a bowler, it’s pretty difficult when you’re looking back over your head at the ball disappearing into the stands. But I do bat as well and I enjoy a bit of that myself.”