If ICC has no problem with the 'doosra', we should appreciate it: Saqlain Mushtaq
With a long beard and a bespectacled look, Saqlain Mushtaq, a veteran of 49 Tests and 188 ODIs was full of catchy dialogues as he spoke on how he is supporting one team and that is the West Indies.
Saqlain Mushtaq, the pioneer of the 'doosra', is immensely proud that the delivery will always be associated with his name and also want people to stop questioning its legality as ICC never had any problems with it.
"I always feel proud when somebody bowls a doosra or a carrom ball. If any new variation is coming into world of cricket, I feel good about it. This is ICC's duty to look (into the legality) and if they are saying everything is good, then we should appreciate that," Saqlain, now working as spin consultant with the West Indies team told during a media interaction here on Monday.
"I thank God when they mention doosra and they mention my name along with it. It's an honour that my name is associated with that delivery. I never thought about what controversies were there. I never thought about all these things like half-sleeves and full sleeves," Saqlain answered to a query on Ravichandran Ashwin's recent statements about offies wearing full sleeves getting unfair advantage.
With a long beard and a bespectacled look, the veteran of 49 Tests and 188 ODIs was full of catchy dialogues as he spoke on how he is supporting one team and that is the West Indies.
"Obviously, my wishes are with my team and it's West Indies at the moment. And from a religious point of view, it is a part of my faith, part of my belief and I have to be honest and I will be honest. The logo that I am wearing (points at WICB crest) on my jersey is not an external thing.
"It's in my heart. If I remove it, then I will feel as if I am naked. My integrity is towards the West Indies," Saqlain said when asked if he was torn between head and heart as Pakistan will face West Indies tomorrow.
What does he tell his spinners about tackling opposition batsmen? "Well, I can't reveal strategy but I tell my players (WI) that with one eye, you should check your strengths. With the other eye, you should be judging the weaknesses of your opposition."
Asked about India's spin duo of Amit Mishra and Ashwin bowling well, Saqlain didn't fail to remind that his team also has Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree, who are ranked Nos 1 and 2 in the list of T20 bowlers in ICC rankings.
"They (Ashwin and Mishra) are bowling well but if you see the ranks 1 and 2 in ICC's list of T20 bowlers, they are from West Indies. It's a good news. Whenever spinners do well, I feel good and it's good news.
"Batting coaches have to bring something new against spinners. I must say that both Ashwin and Mishra are bowling with great control and giving lot of trouble to the batsmen."
But Saqlain was not ready to reveal as to whom he thinks as the best off-spinner in the world.
"In T20, if you see nine among the Top-10 in ICC rankings are spinners. If you mention just one name, you are being unfair. If you go to a garden, you should praise all the flowers and not one particular flower."
The only time, the Pakistani in him came out was about which bowlers have done well so far in the World T20. He suddenly said 'Our Gul' did well before correcting and saying "Pakistan's Gul and our Santokie (Krishmar)."
"Look at that boy Kumar (Bhuvi). He is performing well with the new ball in every match. Humara Gul hain .... Pakistan ka Gul hain, humare paas Santokie hain."
He knows what stuff Saeed Ajmal bowls but Saqlain will tell you that with some much of technology available.
"Saeed Ajmal has been playing for Pakistan for quite a few years and so much information is already available. There is nothing hidden now. But when a West Indies batsman comes up to me and asks me about Ajmal, then I will have to tell him on how to tackle Ajmal. What he does and how he uses the doosra or off-spin or arm ball. Obviously, it's my job if someone is coming."
Leg-spinners like Badree and Mishra have done well and Saqlain believes it has got more to do with shift in strategy.
"Probably mentality of the spinners have changed over time. Earlier spinners would come with a different mindset and now it's different. Tactics are changing. Also the sub-continental tracks helps spinners. That's a big plus.
"Also the batsmen these days do not have the same kind of strategy against spinners which they earlier used to have. Off-spinners are also ruling roost and I enjoy watching that."
When asked as to how much West Indies will depend on Narine as Pakistan will depend on Ajmal, the 'Caribbean flavour' came to the fore.
"Let Pakistan team depend on whom they want to depend. Our 11 guys will go out there into the field. One will bowl and the other 10 fielders will support the bowler with utmost conviction," he concluded.