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Saqlain set to be given key role in PCB set up

Sports

May 24, 2020

LAHORE: Spin legend Saqlain Mushtaq is close to being given a prominent position at the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) High Performance Centre.

According to a report, Mushtaq will be appointed the head of International Player Development, with a formal announcement expected in a day or two.

The sources further said that the development is part of the PCB’s decision to restructure and unite the National Cricket Academy and its department of domestic cricket. Mushtaq, the inventor of Doosra, is arguably the finest off-spinner ever produced by Pakistan.

He took 288 wickets in just 169 ODIs for Pakistan at an average of 21.78 – a number better than even the great Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

Meanwhile, Saqlain Mushtaq believes Pakistan would have an edge over the English team if the matches were played at the South of England. “Cricket must happen and Pakistan should go to England for the series with all the precautionary and safety measures as part of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said on his YouTube channel.

Saqlain, who had taken 13 Test five-wicket hauls with 3 Test ten for and took seven five-wicket hauls in ODIs, said Pakistan would have an edge over England in the series to be held in July and August as the weather would be great. “If the series was played at Southampton, Lords and The Oval then Pakistan would have an edge as our spinners will be very effective on these wickets,” he said and added English bowlers Jamie Anderson, Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer would get less swing and seam on this side in July and August.

Saqlain, who was was selected as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year for 2000, recalled that English spinners Meon Ali and Adil Rashid were very effective on these wickets against India and South Africa in the past.

“Spinners have been getting great help on these wickets for the past 3 to 5 years because of the turn and reverse swing,” he said and added nobody does reverse swing better than Pakistan.

“If some other thing was used to shine the bowl instead of saliva then it would also benefit Pakistan,” he said. It may be mentioned that the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) cricket committee, comprising of former top players, have recommended on medical advice that spit-polishing the ball should be prohibited while the coronavirus outbreak persists.

Speaking about the English team, Saqlain, who bagged 208 and 288 matches in 49 Tests and 169 ODIs, respectively, said the England team was struggling these days.

“Opener Rory Burns gives a good start to England but there is no other opener to support him. England’s middle order also seems a bit shaky as they totally rely on Ben Strokes and Joe Root.

Johnny Baristow and Jos Buttler doesn’t have any recent performance,” he said and added however the English team has a good bowling attack.