England leg spinner Adil Rashid believes his Big Bash League adventure left his England prospects better than ever ahead of the ICC World Twenty20.
Rashid, 27, was left out of the England squad for the series in South Africa but jumped at the chance to link up with Jason Gillespie in Australia earlier this year, filling one of the overseas spots in the Adelaide Strikers squad. Gillespie was also Rashid's coach at Yorkshire.
His second spell down under was a resounding success, having been voted the second-best player in the competition and being voted into the team of the year. That form was carried over to England's one-day series against South Africa, where Rashid's improvement was further underlined, emerging as his side's second-highest wicket taker.
While he was initially expected to travel with the Test squad, Rashid admits the trip, almost certainly not playing, would have been pointless for him with the World T20 just around the corner.
"The Big Bash was a wonderful experience and I am really thankful to the Adelaide Strikers for giving me this opportunity," Rashid told IBTimesUK. "I feel as though it has improved my game immensely. Playing with crowds of over 50,000 viewers was a thrilling experience and the ideal preparation for the ODI series and world T20; playing against the world's best players enabled to get the experience I required."
"I would not have played much (if at all) in South Africa as the second spinner and would have been carrying the drinks most of the time, so there's no doubt that it helped me."
Another big decision from the Bradford-born bowler, who was nominated for the 2015 Lycamobile's British Ethnic Diversity SportSportsman of the Year award, saw him reject the chance to sign for an Indian Premier League [IPL] side. But deciding on the longer form of cricket and remaining with Yorkshire is key to his ambition of challenging for a spot in the Test squads for the forthcoming home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan later in 2016.
When asked what was the driving factor behind the decision to reject the IPL, he responded: "Playing county cricket for Yorkshire and hopefully doing well enough to play in the test side, hence playing in the IPL would mean I would miss the first month of county cricket and reduce my chances to play in the test matches."
Getting back into the Test squad and proving he is not just a limited overs specialist remains his "ultimate target". But following the disappointment of the 3-2 series defeat to South Africa in the one-day series, attention will be now turn to the T20 series, ahead of the World T20 in India in March.
Despite his impressive form in the short form of the game, Rashid is not worried about fresh expectation on his shoulders heading into the competition, and in transferring that into Test cricket.
"No, not really; I will continue to do what I'm doing and take it one game at a time, whether it be for Yorkshire, Adelaide Strikers or England. I will always give it my all. I will hopefully be batting more and showing my batting capabilities a lot more and working on my power hitting, which is already improving."
Organised by Sporting Equals, the Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sport Awards (BEDSA) celebrate excellence amongst Britain's outstanding Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities across the UK, whilst also encouraging the next generation to achieve the same and more. For more information and a list of winners, please visit http://bedsa.co.uk/