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Mohammad Yousuf praises England's decision to hire Saqlain Mushtaq as spin consultant

The former Pakistan skipper believes Saqlain's short-stint will leave a long-lasting impact on the England cricket team.

Saqlain Mushtaq Pakistan England Cricket
Saqlain Mushtaq interacts with England’s Adil Rashid after accepting ECB’s invitation to join as a spin consultant

Former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Yousuf has backed the decision taken by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to hire his former teammate Saqlain Mushtaq as a spin consultant for the second Test against Pakistan which began at Old Trafford earlier today. Following the 75-run loss at Lord’s which was mainly orchestrated by Yasir Shah’s 10-wicket haul, the ECB were quick to rope in the services of the legendary off-spinner to help out the England team. 

While Adil Rashid was left out of the England playing XI for the second Test match, leaving part-timer Moeen Ali as the team’s only spinner, Yousuf believes the short stint Saqlain spends with the English side will leave an everlasting impact not just for the slower bowlers to improve their skills, but also prove helpful to the batsmen to help tackle the threat of the World’s No 1 Test bowler. 

"Saqlain was one of the best spinner's I saw and it is a good move by England as their batsmen had no clue about Yasir Shah in the first Test," Yousuf said on Friday. "He has been hired for this Test but I think the greatest short-term benefit may lie in him giving tips to their batsmen about how to play spin."

Also Read: 5 best Pakistani spinners of all time

By the manner in which Day 1 of the Test has progressed, with Yasir Shah going wicketless despite bowling 31 overs, Yousuf’s words have proved to be true thus far. He expects the pitch to turn more as the Test progresses and believes Mushtaq's tips could prove invaluable later on. 

"They (England) will come hard at Pakistan as they will be desperate to level the series but everything will depend on how many runs they put on the board in the first innings," he said. "That is when Saqlain's role will become important.”

Yousuf, who himself was a great player of spin bowling, however still believes Pakistan have to be more wary about England’s pace attack, especially the returning James Anderson and Ben Stokes, rather than the spinners in the English side. 

"I don't think any spinner apart from Muttiah Muralitharan got our batsmen in trouble. And I think more than Rashid it will be Anderson, Broad, Woakes and Stokes who will test our batsmen at Old Trafford," he said.

While Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan finds himself is in a similar position to Saqlain, plotting against his former team’s downfall with the Australian team, the Pakistan legend feels that at the end of the day, everyone is a professional who is supposed to do the job given to them. 

"If I get a good assignment I have to render my services professionally," Mushtaq was quoted as saying. 

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