Legspinner hopes performances against Pakistan prove he can play alongside Adil Rashid at T20 World Cup
Parkinson was overlooked for the T20I and ODI series against Sri Lanka last month, with Liam Dawson preferred as England’s third spin option. Eoin Morgan, their limited-overs captain, explained at the time that Dawson’s versatility and his ability to bowl in the powerplay had been key factors in him earning selection, but Parkinson admitted that he was so disappointed about his omission that he had not asked for any feedback.
“Obviously I was gutted,” he said on Monday. “I didn’t ask for any feedback – I was sort of hoping it was about letting me play a bit in the Blast, and not come and carry drinks. That was how I tried to look at it. Sometimes if you look at things too closely, you can get down very easily, and I think I probably used it as momentum to performance for Lancashire.
“It’s funny how cricket works. A month ago, I probably would never have thought I’d have played for England this summer, so to have played for the past two weeks have been great – if you’d told me two weeks ago I’d have played five internationals for England this summer and taken some wickets I’d have probably laughed at you. I think the reason I’ve done well is because I tried to use it as a bonus. I didn’t really have this on my radar.”
“I’m used to playing with spinners at Lancs – it’s a philosophy we use there,” he said. “We bowl spin through the middle and to do that with England yesterday was awesome. A lot gets highlighted about how slowly I bowl – [Rashid] 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. The best thing about yesterday was the pressure we had on them: all three spinners didn’t really bowl a bad ball, and I think it was 11 overs, 5 for 80-odd  and that only got ruined at the end by some slogging.
“To have that bowling at the other end is great, and probably pushes me on as well. I think, ‘Rash has bowled a great over, and I need to bowl well here as well’. Hopefully I’ve performed well enough for England to consider playing two legspinners again. I know Rash is number one and an absolute gun bowler – probably the best spinner in the world – but I’d like to think this week has helped me push my case forward.”
After a bright start in Friday’s first T20I at Trent Bridge, Parkinson conceded 36 runs in his final two overs to end with 0 for 47 as Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan targeted the short midwicket boundary. He stuck to his strengths at Headingley, tossing the ball up and focusing on flight and drift rather than the speed gun, which has been a concern for him in the past (he is among the slowest bowlers recorded in international cricket).
“Trent Bridge is a tough place to bowl – you need wickets early really to stem the flow,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I relaxed a bit but I thought I could search for a wicket, got full and that’s when I got banged into the stands. That was a good learner and I used it at Headingley.
“In the past I’ve probably thought about [speed] too much. In South Africa [in early 2020] there was a lot written about it and I probably let that affect me – looking up at the board a lot, trying to see if I could push 47mph/76kph.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98