The battle has begun. Virat Kohli vs Steven Smith for the best batsman. Ben Stokes vs Hardik Pandya for the best all-rounder. And Rashid Khan vs Imran Tahir for the best leg-spinner.
Since Rashid Khan’s emergence as a quality leg-spinner, he has given a wake-up call to similar skilled players. There are not many leg-spinners who are doing as well as Rashid Khan. But Imran Tahir, the South African cricketer, with six years experience in international cricket, is giving a tough fight to Rashid for the post of best leg-spinner in the world currently.
Tahir has been really competitive while Rashid is too learning fast. However, Rashid has toppled everyone as the highest wicket-taker in limited-overs cricket in 2017 so far. But Tahir is not too far behind. In fact, if there is one leg-spinner who can give Rashid Khan a real fight for the post of top leg-spinner, it is none other than Tahir.
Cricwizz takes an analytical look at these players’ performances in limited-overs cricket.
Bowling performances in winning causes: Tahir has taken 105 wickets out of total 133 ODI scalps in winning causes. It comes to 79 percent success rate. Rashid has taken 46 wickets out of total 63 ODI scalps in winning causes. It comes to 73 percent success rate. Rashid has taken 34 wickets out of total 42 T20I scalps in winning causes, a success percent of 81. But Tahir has taken only 36 out of total 57 T20I scalps in winning causes, a success percent of just 63.
Variations: When it comes to variations, Tahir has more tricks up his sleeves thanks to his experience in international cricket. Both Tahir and Rashid have perfect googlies. But Rashid’s googlies are difficult to read as there is no much change in his bowling action. In the 2017 CPL, Rashid took a hat-trick with a googly with all three deliveries. He can bowl three different googlies with three different balls.
2017 records: 2017 can be easily called the year of Rashid Khan for his unbelievable performances in limited-overs cricket across all competitions. After three quarters in 2017, Rashid Khan tops the bowling charts in limited-overs cricket with a record 104 scalps at an impressive bowling average of 12.35. (Please note: The 104 scalps is total of ODI and T20 wickets in 2017). The next best bowling scalps in 2017 in limited-overs cricket is 70 held by South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
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Team’s performance: Rashid Khan’s performance is directly linked to the success of his team. He has churned up his best bowling figures in matches that were won by Afghanistan. However, Tahir’s performances have not been in the same league as Rashid as the South African has been left out of the limited-overs squad a few times due to his inconsistency.
Verdict: Although Tahir has a better bowling figures in terms of wickets in limited-overs cricket thanks to his tenure in international cricket, it is Rashid Khan who is stealing the show at the moment. It’s Rashid’s performance that has put Afghanistan on the world map. Tahir has not achieved the same stardom like Rashid has done in such a short span. Our vote goes to Rashid Khan.