SCL 2017: What makes Rashid Khan so good?

CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde examines the phenomenal start to Rashid Khan’s career. 


Playing for the Ban-e-Amir Dragons in Match 9 of Afghanistan’s Shpageeza Cricket League, Rashid Khan took his 100th T20 wicket five days before his 19th birthday marking a sensational start to his career. Since his debut on 26 October 2015 Rashid is the third highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket and is mixing with the game’s elite.

PlayerBallsWicketsBalls Per Wicket
Dwayne Bravo205811218.38
Andre Russell148310114.68
Rashid Khan151210015.12
Thisara Perera14378616.71
Sunil Narine19818423.58


What makes Rashid particularly brilliant—and exceptionally rare—is that he has combined a low economy rate (5.99) with a low strike rate (15.1). Among the 33 bowlers to have taken 50+ wickets since his debut Rashid has the lowest economy rate and the fifth lowest strike rate and among the 360 bowlers to have bowled 250+ balls since his debut no one has a lower economy rate and strike rate than Rashid.


Rashid has taken wickets in T20 internationals, the Bangladesh Premier League, the Indian Premier League, the Caribbean Premier League and the Shpageeza Cricket League.

The one caveat to Rashid’s excellent statistics so far is that 29 of his 42 T20 international wickets have come against non-ICC Full Member teams, generally regarded as weaker opposition. However, Rashid’s head-to-head statistics show him to have dismissed a selection of the world’s very best T20 batsmen and some excellent players of spin such as Aaron Finch (twice), Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, David Miller, Steven Smith, Kane Williamson, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Smith.


Rashid’s method is not complicated to understand, but no less brilliant as a result. He bowls consistently accurately, and fast—average speed 89.23kph compared to 87.09kph for all leg spinners and regularly bowls his googly—delivering 1.91 leg breaks for every one googly compared to 7.67 for all leg spinners.

With a quick delivery stride and a high arm action Rashid has proven very difficult for batsmen to read. The image below shows Rashid bowling a leg break to Hardik Pandya on the left and a googly to Finch on the right. In both instances the arm is at a very similar height and the only giveaway that the ball on the right is a googly is that the back of Rashid’s hand is facing the batsman but with a quick action there is very little time to pick that up.

Rashid’s googly is the key to his success: it is well-disguised and the average turn he gets from it of 2.15° is more than any other leg spin bowler in our database.

CricViz is a data analytics company offering services to broadcasters and professional teams and players. 

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