KARACHI: Legendary off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who recently took over as head of international players development at PCB’s High Performance Centre, said the tours by West Indies and Pakistan teams to England are giant steps towards resumption of cricket in these very extra ordinary times of coronavirus pandemic which will surely create history.
“There is no doubt these are very different and difficult times, not only for sports but for the entire world as pandemic of Covid 19 has really changed our lives,” said Saqlain in an exclusive interview with Dawn News. “In these difficult times West Indies and Pakistan are going to create history by touring England for cricket series and I must say this gesture by them should be greatly appreciated by ICC and England and Wales Cricket Board.”
Saqlain, who is also known as the inventor of ‘Doosra’ and have a vast experience of playing in England and in County Cricket, said the timing and conditions of the tour are likely to suit Pakistan team.
“Southampton and Manchester which are likely to be the venues for Test and T20 series for England and Pakistan series in my opinion will suit the Pakistan team at this time of the year,” he said.
Speaking about the recent ban on use of saliva by the bowlers, he aid: “Ban on saliva means that two main bowlers of England — James Anderson and Stuard Broad — will not be able to make as big an impact as in the past Pakistan’s batting should take full advantage from this.”
“Moeen Ali is unlikely to play Test cricket for a while and Adil Rashid — who had a good world Cup — is also not a regular in England Test line up so I think Pakistan Batting should take advantage, if you talk about our Spin attack Yasir Shah not much rely in shine ball instead he often use his drift and if he gets a good rhythm he can be effective even without a shine ball”
Saqlain backed Yasir Shah to bounce back and do well in England series.
“Yasir has a phenomenal record in Test cricket and won so many games for Pakistan and proved himself as a world class performer. He may not performed that well in recent past but I believe for a bowler like Yaisr Shah I would say we all should back him as form in temporary and class in permanent and I think he can do well in England series, especially if he has the experienced Mushtaq Ahmed to guide him.”
Saqlain further said that he said he is happy to join PCB and looking forward to make a difference. “I am happy that I joined PCB and now will be able to serve Pakistan Cricket again. My role as head of International players development is a very important role. I will work with Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and also with Director HPC Nadeem Khan and coaches of regional domestic teams,” he said.
“Head of international player development means I will be work with our international players as well as those who are out of form, injured or for any reason not doing well in international Cricket and along our specialist coaches we will made a plan how to help them and get out from the tough situation and ready them again for the international Cricket, also we will work together with coaches of our regional domestic teams and will try to find new talent and polish their skills, fitness and mental and physical so they will become technically sound and mentally ready before they play International Cricket”
Saqlain said it will be ideal if he is able to find a quality off spinner during his tenure at PCB but he will will focus on all cricketers and the basic aim will be to make Pakistan number one in all the three formats.
Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2020