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)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Nottingham

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

No result

India tour of England 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Cardiff

India won by 133 runs

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 26, 2014  at Hambantota

Sri Lanka won by 77 runs

Photos

Aaron Finch's record 156 vs England in T20I

Videos

Alastair Cook looks ahead to 3rd ODI at Nottingham

Zimbabwe vs South Africa Live Cricket Score, 3rd ODI at Harare: South Africa win by 61 runs

England, take ODIs seriously if you want to win

Hiralal Gaekwad: the southpaw who lost out to Vinoo Mankad

Lord Ganesha XI: Eleven cricketers who were named after the elephant God

Suresh Raina’s new avatar on India’s tour of England 2014

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014

Suresh Raina feels Murali Vijay, Sanju Samson, and Ambati Rayudu are options to open

Rajinikanth finds a fan in Ross Taylor!

Prosper Utseya’s hat-trick in vain as South Africa clinch 61 run victory against Zimbabwe in 3rd ODI

India tour of England 2014: Alex Hales wants to play Test cricket

Aditya Verma: Will oppose N Srinivasan or BCCI if AGM is delayed

Rilee Rossouw’s golden duck ‘feat’

Rohit Sharma’s injury gives Murali Vijay a new lease of life in ODI career

Prosper Utseya prospers for Zimbabwe

National Sports Day: Cricket’s television revolution has inspired other sports

Tinashe Panyangara’s suspension by Zimbabwe Cricket is ludicrous

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

666 Posts | 6 Fans

12 runs in one ball

Patti Tripathi: From News Director to Entrepreneur to Women’s Empowerment

Rajinikanth finds a fan in Ross Taylor!

Apple iWatch won’t ship until next year: Report

Apple iPhone 6 photos with full casing leaked ahead of September 9 launch

Canada Welcomes 150,000 New Citizens In 2014

Ganesh Chaturthi 2014: Gurmeet Choudhary and Debina Bonnerjee celebrate Ganeshotsav with the team of Khamoshiyan – view pics!

What is the Ebola virus disease survival rate?

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Watch Stephen Hawkins endorse the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Rabhasa movie review: Jr NTR dishes out a treat for his fans, but disappoints the rest!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here