Saqlain shows willingness to work with Pakistan team

KARACHI: Former Pakistan off-spinner and inventor of ‘Doosra’ Saqlain Mushtaq has joined the bandwagon of former cricketers wanting to work with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), The Express Tribune has learnt.
The PCB is currently in negotiations with former leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, a colleague of Saqlain, to rope him in for the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
The board is in advanced talks with leg-spinner Mushtaq, who has been involved with England’s bowling setup for the last couple of years. They are hoping that Mushtaq will be able to help Pakistan produce more spinners who can play at the highest level in years to come once likes of Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal retire.
“Saqlain has also shown his availability to the PCB in order to work for Pakistan,” an official having knowledge of the matter told The Express Tribune.
“He has been a great bowler for Pakistan and now he wants to help the country through his coaching. He has worked on short-term contracts with New Zealand, Bangladesh and West Indies, helping spinners of these teams to improve a great deal.”
The 37-year-old has played 49 Tests and 169 ODIs for Pakistan, claiming 208 and 288 wickets respectively. He was regarded as one of the best spinners of his generation along with the legendary Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan.
In the recently concluded World Twenty20, Saqlain’s presence in the West Indies camp played a key role as the defending champions thumped Pakistan with an 84-run victory — the men in green were bamboozled by spinners Samuel Badree and Sunile Narine. He also helped the West Indies batsmen learn how to handle Pakistani spinners such as Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi.
Saqlain was contacted repeatedly on this matter, but he was not reachable for comments.
Meanwhile, a senior PCB official confirmed that the former off-spinner has shown an interest to work in Pakistan.
“It’s true that some of the former cricketers have shown interest in working with Pakistan and Saqlain is one of them,” confirmed the official.
“He has shown his availability and we’ll look into the case and our options with an eye on the future. Currently, the board in trying to strike a deal with Mushtaq and once we’re done with that, we’ll look at other options. The doors of the PCB are open for former cricketers who can make a difference in our cricket.”
‘No negotiations with Waqar’
It has also been learnt that former captain and coach of Pakistan Waqar Younis is in talks with the board to become head coach and has also met with top management; however, the PCB Chairman Najam Sethi has denied the development.
“There are no negotiations going on with Waqar,” replied Sethi when contacted.