Pakistani spin great Saqlain Mushtaq is delighted with India’s spinster Ravichandran Ashwin bowling. Mushtaq said he switches on TV and follow India’s match only to watch Ashwin bowling.
The legendary spinner was one of the famous spinners in the late 90s and nineties. He was an innovator of doosra which Ashwin easily learnt and excelled. Saqlain is currently playing in Masters Champions League (MCL) for Gemini Arabians. He was not merely an off-spinner as he worked on various deliveries that later many spinners learnt. But the tweaker quit cricket even before he turned 30 after playing the Test series against India.
He is the fastest bowler to reach 100 wickets in ODI cricket which is yet to be broken.
Ashwin, in the series against South Africa at home, has done tremendously well. He has taken 31 wickets. Before the series against South Africa, he helped India to break 22-year-old jinx in Sri Lanka as India defeated host Sri Lanka by 2-1.
Mushtaq was speaking about Ashwin while speaking to Wisden India, he said that the Indian tweaker is definitely a “world class bowler”.
“Oh, there is no doubt that he is a world-class bowler. The way he is performing for India, I don’t think anyone can ask for anything more from him. He is performing in every game and he is improving with every game. He has played key roles in so many important victories for India. He is a world-class bowler. I make it a point to switch on my TV and watch India’s matches only to watch him bowl. He is a wonderful bowler.”
Mushtaq was also asked about his ‘teesra’ to Sachin Tendulkar, his batting nemesis in international cricket, during All-Star game. Tendulkar did not have any clue to the delivery, as a result, he was bowled. He said ‘it is bit difficult to explain the trick in the grip.’
But how did he learn the delivery. “I did bowl it a few times in the English county circuit, but that didn’t get much publicity. I bowled it at the Cricket All-Stars, and that got people talking.” Mushtaq replied.
“It’s a bit difficult to explain – the trick is in the grip. What happens is that the ball travels through the air slightly faster than usual, but once it pitches, there is a bit of backspin. There is some drift as well, in both directions, drift in and drift out. It depends a lot on what the pitch is like, what the weather is like … what the shape of the ball is. If the ball is in good shape, like it is in T20s, and there is some shine on one side, and there is some breeze blowing across the pitch, then it will drift out and get backspin. It will drift in if the breeze is from the other side. It’s the grip that does it.” He explained the delivery.
Mushtaq also said that out of favour Saeed Ajmal is an “outstanding bowler.” But he blamed PCB for not paying heed to Ajmal’s action. Mushtaq had worked with Ajmal. “The problem with his action has pulled him back. I worked with him on his action, and we did enough to ensure that his action was fine and he was cleared as well. But I had informed the PCB, and I had told them that we had done only about 40-50% of the work and 50% of the work remained to be done. But the PCB got busy with other things and so did I. A lot of work remains to be done with him, but I don’t know if that’s happening anymore. I wish him all the best, and, if the PCB wants, I am there for him.