LONDON: Pakistan beat England 2-0 in the recently concluded three-match Test series in the UAE exposing the visitor’s weakness against spin but the Alastair Cook-led side’s misery might soon be over. How?
Pakistan ace off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has shown his interest in helping England unearth spin talent which can then be useful in spinning condition in Asia.
Ajmal has been out of Pakistan team for a while now after he made a comeback with a remodelled action. Earlier, International Cricket Council had banned him from bowling as his elbow was found to be bending beyond the allowed limit of 15 degrees while bowling.
However, Ajmal laid out a proper plan of how he can find a solution to the problem of producing quality spinners for England.
“If I were to coach for England, I would call all the spinners from all the counties in for one session and ask them to bowl in front of me,” Ajmal told Sportsmail.
“I would see the variations, the revs and the pace of all the spinners available, and shortlist the two I liked best. I would work with these two for three to four months ahead of England’s next tour of India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka – it would not take me more than four months to prepare effective spinners in the subcontinent.
“Pace and variation in Asia, especially the UAE, is very important. Pitches are very slow so spinners have to bowl with pace, not just with flight.”
Ajmal also dissected England’s spin bowling during the series against Pakistan saying that the bowlers did not know what to do when the ball started moving off the pitch.
“In Sharjah, they got lots of turn but didn’t understand where they should be pitching the ball. They were bowling all over the pitch and giving Pakistan’s batsmen lots of half-volleys – this is why they were smashed around the ground.
“England, at the moment, don’t have bowlers who can spin with pace – and they need this to succeed in the subcontinent.”
Meanwhile, Ajmal also praised England’s spin duo of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali saying they were Cook’s best option at the moment.
“Moeen and Rashid are the best spinners available to England,” Ajmal continued.
“They need to continue their hard work, and the England management needs to give them time and more experience. England need to show belief in these two spinners.
“Moeen is probably the best all-rounder in the England team at the moment, but he needs to work more on his variations to become the number one spinner.”
However, he had a few tips for the English batsmen as well about how to play spin when in the UAE.
“I would advise the batsmen to take their time,” Ajmal said.
“At the moment, they come either too far forward or drop back too far into their crease.
“As a bowler, I know when they come far forward I can make the ball spin and dip, and they can be caught at short-leg or slip. This is Pakistan’s plan to English batsmen, so they need to find a way to go against this.
“English batsmen are not good at playing spin compared to fast bowling. I was successful in 2012 because they couldn’t understand my bowling – I played with their minds. Ian Bell, for example, is a world-class batsmen but I dismissed him four times with the doosra. He just couldn’t understand it.”