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Saqlain Mushtaq only watches India's matches to see Ravichandran Ashwin bowl

Saqlain also talks about the changes in the modern game and about using variations as a surprise weapon.

Ravichandran Ashwin was the highest taker in Test matches in 2015

Saqlain Mushtaq, the Pakistani off-spinner, who was the quickest to 100 ODI wickets, a record that has lasted close to two decades. Saqlain was Pakistan’s premier spin option for a long time till an injury bogged him down and Danish Kaneria went past him.

He disappeared from internationals scene by 2004, when he picked up that injury. His variations were the soul of his off-breaks, he single-handedly revolutionized the spin variation in the game. 

The 39-year-old is currently in Dubai to represent Gemini Arabians in the Masters Champions League (MCL), he managed to take some time off to talk about India’s Ravichandran Ashwin.

Ashwin was the highest taker in Test matches in 2015, his conventional off-spin compiled with vast variations makes him a destructive bowler.

I watch India’s matches only to see Ashwin bowl: Saqlain 

When asked about Ashwin the original master of variations said that he watches India’s matches only to see Ashwin bowl, he went on to praise the Indian spinner ever further. He said, “Oh, there is no doubt that he is a world-class bowler. The way he is performing for India, I don’t think anyone can ask for anything more from him. He is performing in every game and he is improving with every game.

“He has played key roles in so many important victories for India. He is a world-class bowler. I make it a point to switch on my TV and watch India’s matches only to watch him bowl. He is a wonderful bowler.”

One shouldn’t get too excited about variations

It wasn’t long ago when Ashwin was criticised for a while for overdoing his variations when asked about Saqlain’s thoughts on that, the Lahore-born cricketer said, “I agree that some bowlers go overboard at times. I think you will benefit most if you keep it simple.

“But if you look at the modern game, you need to mix it up all the time, because if you don’t have variations, you have nothing. I think the main thing is your mind, your brain. You shouldn’t get too excited.”

Keep it simple, have the variations, but use them as surprise weapons

About the modern game, he said, “The game today is such that batsmen have no fear; they step out, they play sweeps, reverse sweeps, paddle sweeps. it’s almost like we played a different game altogether. Now the game is much more positive and attacking.

“So, as a bowler, you have to have the variations, and also have the control. That’s more important. You shouldn’t bowl different balls only because you know how to bowl them. Keep it simple. Have the variations, but use them as surprise weapons.”

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