Pakistan Cricket Has Suffered A Lot Because Of No International Cricket At Home: Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan Cricket Has Suffered A Lot Because Of No International Cricket At Home: Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan cricketers (Image Credit: Twitter)

Saqlain Mushtaq, former Pakistan spinner explained the difference between India and Pakistan cricket teams after their recent series against Sri Lanka and England respectively. Explaining the difference between India and Pakistan, former off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq said India is benefitting from frequent A tours to England and Australia whereas Pakistan is suffering as there is still not enough cricket at home.

Following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team’s bus, no Test cricket was played in the country until 2019. Between 2009 and 2016, Pakistan’s home matches have been mostly held in the UAE.

Saqlain Mushtaq(Screengrab)
Saqlain Mushtaq(Screengrab)

Saqlain Mushtaq: Pakistan Cricket Has Suffered A Lot Because Of No International Cricket At Home While India Is Benefitting From Frequent A Tours

However, due to the increase in security and comparatively fewer terrorist attacks, many teams have toured Pakistan since 2015. These teams include Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, South Africa, and an ICC World XI team, with England scheduled to tour in October 2021. In addition, the Pakistan Super League has seen games hosted on Pakistan soil.

“Pakistan cricket has suffered a lot because of no international cricket at home but India has done the right thing by investing in its under-19 and A team tours. I remember I was working in England for like four summers and once in Australia and every year I saw some Indian team touring those countries,” Saqlain said in an interview as quoted by news agency PTI.

India's Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Avishka Fernando during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP Photo)
India’s Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Avishka Fernando during the first one-day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP Photo)

A young Indian side minus top stars Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant, and KL Rahul took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. Pakistan, on the other hand, lost the third T20I to England to concede the series 2-1. Pakistan was whitewashed by a second-string England side in the preceding ODIs. The likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Shikhar Dhawan starred for India.

Saqlain Mushtaq Speaks On The Need To Have Permanent Spin Coaches At Domestic And Junior Levels

Saqlain Mushtaq also felt that teams were not relying on specialist off-break bowlers in white-ball formats because of an increasing trend of using wrist spinners.

“It is an ongoing trend in white-ball formats that teams want to have maximum wrist spinners like India has Chahal and Yadav, Australia has Adam Zampa and Swepson, England has Adil Rashid, etc…And this is discouraging players from taking up the art of off-spin bowling.”

He noted that it was only in Test cricket mainly that some countries still employed specialist off-spinners successfully like Nathan Lyon was a regular for Australia and Ravichandran Ashwin for India while Moeen Ali has done his bit for England.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Saqlain Mushtaq, 44, who has worked as a spin consultant or coach with different teams including England, West Indies, New Zealand urged countries to have budgets to have regular permanent spin coaches with their teams.

“There is also a need to have permanent spin coaches at domestic level and the junior levels.” Saqlain had no doubt that spinners would have a vital role to play in the upcoming World T20 Cup in UAE and Oman provided the conditions remained dry.

“Role of spinners in the subcontinent and UAE is always vital but there is no dew factor because a lot of matches are held under lights. If there is no dew factor they will dominate in dry conditions but to do this they must be class bowlers with a very good set of skills. It is all about bowlers who try to get away with just bowling economically and those who try to take wickets as well.” Saqlain said that a spin bowler loses his bite, drifts in dew conditions and it becomes difficult to also grip the ball.

Saqlain Mushtaq played international cricket between 1995 and 2004. Saqlain Mushtaq, known for introducing the Doosra, in his first full year (1996) with the Pakistan team established a record for the most ODI wickets in a calendar year (65).

He then did even better the following year, setting a mark (69) that still stands. His impact was so great that he became the fastest bowler in history in terms of time (one year and 225 days) to reach the landmark of 100 ODI wickets, and to this day, no one else has got there in less than two years.

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