Home > Features > Interviews >

Ravichandran Ashwin is an excellent all-round spinner: Saqlain Mushtaq

Ravichandran Ashwin is an excellent all-round spinner: Saqlain Mushtaq

Ravichandran Ashwin is a good all-round spinner who performs in Tests as well, says Saqlain Mushtaq (above) © Getty Images

By Nasser Khan

Saqlain Mushtaq is one of the greatest spin bowlers to have graced the game. A cricketing pioneer, he was the first off-spinner to consistently utilise the doosra, forming a key part of his armoury in both Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs).

His variety and characteristic pause when delivering the ball made him a formidable limited overs bowler — picking up 288 wickets from 169 matches at an average of 21.78. He remains the fastest bowler to 100 ODI wickets, a record that has stood for over 15 years and he played a key role in the Pakistan side that reached the 1999 World Cup final.

Saqlain also experienced success in the 49 Tests he played, collecting 208 wickets including 13 five-wicket hauls and on three occasions taking ten-wickets, the highlight being the ten he claimed in Pakistan’s famous 12-run victory over India at Chennai in 1999.

Saqlain’s career did not have the longevity of the quality spinners of his era, cut short by the mismanagement of persistent knee injuries. Since his retirement, he has been working as spin-bowing coach for the Bangladesh Cricket Board(BCB) and has also had coaching stints in Australia, England and New Zealand.

PakPassion spoke with the former Pakistan international. Saqlain commented on the quality of spin bowling at the Champions Trophy, the lack of leg-spinners in international cricket, his work for the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and the potential of working for the PCB in future.

Excerpts from an interview with Saqlain Mushtaq:

On spinners that impressed him at the recently-concluded ICC Champions Trophy

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Sunil Narine were the three spinners who really impressed me during the Champions Trophy. Jadeja and Narine are very effective in limited-overs cricket. Ashwin, in my opinion, is an excellent all-round spinner who performs well in Test cricket too, not just the shorter formats. Jadeja and Narine, however are yet to master bowling in Test cricket, which requires the utilisation of a very different set of skills which they are yet to demonstrate.

On the pause in the delivery stride adopted by Ashwin and Hafeez

It’s currently within the rules of the game. Whether this is changed in future is of course up to the ICC [International Cricket Council]. I’d encourage spinners to innovate at every opportunity and if the pause delivery is working and confusing the batsmen, then keep on bowling it as part of your armoury. Bowlers don’t always get the rub of the green when it comes to rules in cricket, but the pause delivery is one that they can use to confuse some batsmen.

On the lack of leg-spinners in international cricket

In the past there have been leg-spinners like Abdul Qadir, Shane Warne, Mushtaq Ahmed and Anil Kumble who have been the inspiration for young leg-spinners to take up the art. These days there are no role models for up-and-coming leg-spinners and it’s disappointing. What leg-spin bowling needs is another Shane Warne, someone who can inspire the next generation.

We have some promising young leg-spinners in Bangladesh who I’m hopeful will one day play international cricket but at the moment they are raw and making their way in the world of cricket. They’re learning fast though, and if they continue to develop then hopefully we’ll see them playing for Bangladesh.

Leg-spin is a unique and difficult art, and one that needs to be nurtured and protected at all levels of the game.

On his role as spin bowling coach for Bangladesh

My contract is for 100 days per calendar year with the BCB and that entails working with Bangladeshi cricketers at junior level, the national academy, and right up to the senior team. I don’t have a prescribed remit — the scope of my work is dependent on whichever level of cricketer the BCB wants me to work with; it may be an individual who needs one-to-one coaching, or group sessions. 

I enjoy the varied nature of the role — each session requires me to develop specific plans and advice for the players I am working with, as each is in a different stage of their cricket development. 

On the potential of working for the PCB in future

If the PCB wanted to utilise my services as a coach in the future, I’d be delighted to serve my country once again. Playing for my country was a special time in my life and coaching my countrymen in future would be an honour. There are currently some exciting spinners playing in Pakistan at the moment and it would be wonderful to work with them. 

However, at the moment my focus is on working for the BCB with dignity and professionalism, but if in future an opportunity arose to work for the PCB then I would jump at the chance.

(Nasser Khan is a writer for Pakpassion.net, from the above article is published with permission)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 3: Central Zone 68/0 at Lunch; trail by 35 runs

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 2

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Jesse Ryder claims he still has the passion to represent New Zealand in the ICC World Cup 2015

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Allan Border claims Michael Clarke’s field setting ‘against spirit of cricket’

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: David Warner to keep wickets after Brad Haddin injures shoulder

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Ali Murtaza, Piyush Chawla run amok on South; CZ trail by 35 runs at Lunch

Jesse Ryder gets World Cup 2015 lifeline; picked for New Zealand A squad to tour UAE

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here