Saqlain the answer to Pakistan’s off-spin crisis, says Yousuf


Former captain Mohammad Yousuf has backed Saqlain Mushtaq to head the spin bowling department at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), terming the inventor of the ‘doosra’ the ‘best’ spinner to have ever played for Pakistan.

“Saqlain is the best off spinner to have played for Pakistan and should be appointed as spin bowling head at the NCA,” Yousuf said while talking to a private news channel.

The 41-year-old former batsman said off-spinners in the country faced the prospect of going out of commission if the Pakistan Cricket Board did not address the issue of illegal actions and advised the board to employ Saqlain’s expertise to solve the crisis.

Pakistan lost the services of Saeed Ajmal when the off-spinner was banned by the ICC last year after his action was declared illegal. Ajmal came back with a changed action months later but lost the effectiveness he was once known for.

All-rounder Mohammed Hafeez was also banned from bowling in July this year due to the same reason.

The most recent Pakistan off-spinner to have come under the International Cricket Council scanner is Bilal Asif, whose action was reported after he took five-wickets in the third ODI of the recently concluded series against Zimbabwe.

Yousuf said Saqlain, who took 208 and 288 wickets in 49 Tests and 169 ODIs, respectively, could bowl the doosra naturally, whilst others who were trying to simulate it and were spoiling their actions.

He said bowling actions should be rectified at the First-class level to avoid any embarrassment at the international stage.

“PCB must use all available facilities to check and rectify the bowlers’ action at first class level,” he said.