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Matt Parkinson: England leg-spinner overcomes ‘dark moments’ to star in white-ball series against Pakistan

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Matt Parkinson: “Hopefully I’ve performed well enough for England to consider playing two leg-spinners again. I know [Adil] Rashid is number one and an absolute gun bowler but I’d like to think this week has helped me push my case forward”

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England spinner Matt Parkinson believes the winter tours of Sri Lanka and India ‘improved’ him despite ‘dark moments’ when sat on the sidelines throughout

Matt Parkinson admits to grappling with some “dark moments” during a long winter away with England spent on the sub-continental sidelines as he now stars in the white-ball series against Pakistan.

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Parkinson was an ever-present on the winter tours of Sri Lanka and India, spending three long months on the road in restrictive bio-secure conditions, failing to make a single competitive appearance.

The 24-year-old legspinner won praise from head coach Chris Silverwood for his hard work and positive attitude but Parkinson told reporters on Monday that he was not always able to keep his chin up.

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“It was a tough three months not playing this winter, there were some dark moments in rooms in India,” he said.

“Obviously you’re very grateful to be on an England tour, and it has done me wonders, but you want to play and be involved. I didn’t think I’d got any better; I didn’t think ‘this is a waste’, but I got down very easily.

“You can get really, really down, but I realised when I got back home, after about a month, how much I’d improved.

Sky Sports Imam-ul-haq was completely deceived by this superb delivery from Matt Parkinson that turned square to take out his middle stump

“To have had those three months working there, bowling each day to the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and then the white-ball lads, I don’t think you appreciate it when you’re there.

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“People were saying to me ‘oh, this looks different’ and I think it takes time for it to set in and takes time for you to see. Other people can see it straight away.

“I’m very grateful I went on that trip. I probably wasn’t when I came back, but I am now.

“If you’d asked me two weeks ago if I’d have played five internationals for England this summer and taken some wickets I’d have probably laughed at you.”

In the past two weeks, Parkinson has picked up six wickets across those five international caps and starred alongside Adil Rashid in a series-levelling T20I win over Pakistan at Headingley on Sunday.

Sky Sports The best of the action from the 2nd T20 international between England and Pakistan at Headingley.

The pair’s eight overs cost a total of just 55 runs, for the loss of three wickets, and it was suggested to Parkinson that it may be a tactic that is used again – be it on Tuesday for the third T20I in Manchester or in the forthcoming T20 World Cup.

“Not many teams would do that to be fair. It is a rare thing,” Parkinson said. “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 but I’d like to think this week has helped me push my case forward.

“If I was an understudy, I don’t think there’s many better role modes to learn from than Rash so if that’s a role I have to do then that’s fine.”

Watch the third T20 international between England and Pakistan, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm on Tuesday.

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