While Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman were busy destroying the English batting line up, during the recently concluded Test series between Pakistan and England in Dubai & Abu Dhabi, there was one man in the English dressing room who was silently pleased for the new Pakistani spin heroes. Mushtaq Ahmed, the current England spin bowling coach, was one of the leading spinners in the world during the 90′s and, at his best, was at par with Shane Warne in terms of his wicket taking ability.
But Mushtaq had a special liking for England. Some of his best and most memorable performances came against his current employers. During Pakistan’s dominating Test tour of England in 1996, Mushtaq was at his spinning best. His googlies, flight and guile bamboozled batsmen like Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart who were known for their grit and the ability to play for long periods. At the home of cricket, Lords, Mushtaq took 5 English wickets for nothing to set up a memorable Test win for Pakistan.
Mushtaq takes 5/57 Against England at Lords – 1996
Then again, at the Oval, Mushtaq showed no mercy and got rid of more than half the English batting line up by taking 6/78. He showed a special liking to Alec Stewart, getting him 5 times in 6 innings during the series.
Mushi Magic takes out 6/78 at the Oval Against England in 1996
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This, however, was not the first time Mushtaq had hurt the British. He was one of the key performers during the final of the 1992 World Cup when he picked up 3 key wickets at critical phases of the game.
Mushtaq’s guile and class was in line with the Pakistani tradition of producing world class spin bowlers like Iqbal Qasim, Abdul Qadir, Saqlain Mushtaq, Danish Kaneria, Shahid Afridi and now Saeed Ajmal & Abdur Rehman.
No wonder England hired him as their full time spin bowling coach, and they are getting the fruits of this move as well in the form of consistent performances by Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar.
So don’t be surprised if you find Saeed Ajmal coaching spin bowling to England players by 2025!