LAHORE - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday appointed former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed as its new spin bowling coach after the World Cup winner lost the role for England.
The 43-year-old former leg-spinner signed a two-year contract with immediate effect, according to a statement by the board. He had coached England for six years until a reshuffle by new head coach Peter Moores saw him replaced by Peter Such.
Talking to the reporters after the appointment, Mushtaq said that apart from grooming the talent of spinners of the national team he would give tips to the batsmen for tackling spinners. “It will be my utmost effort to be a useful part of the coaching team by imparting finer points of the game both to the bowlers and batmen of our team.”
He said he would be a full time coach as he had rejected foreign coaching offers in order to serve his country. “As a spin coach, I will endeavour to add to the experience of spin attack besides helping the batsmen to cope with different type of spin bowling,” he added.
The former spin great was of the view that coaching the Pakistan team was a big honour and he would do his best to perform his duty in a most effective and professional way. “I will also try to contribute my experience in making the team a one unit besides improving the atmosphere of the dressing room by playing my role in creating liaison and understanding among the players,” he asserted.
To a query, he said that he had served with the English team for five year and no one criticised on his role as a coach but many quarters had started coming up with illogical views as he had just taken up his assignment.  Replying to another query, Mushtaq said that he would also help in identifying new spin talent at grassroots level to help expand the pool of spinners. He praised the spin talent of young bowlers Ali Gohar and Karamat Ali and said with passage of time, they would improve in spin bowling. “During my two years association with the team it will be my top most priority to produce a group of spinners who should serve the national team for long time and there should always be a match winning spinner with the team,” Mushtaq added.
Pakistan is also expected soon to appoint former Zimbabwean opener Grant Flower as their batting coach, and fellow Zimbabwean Richard Halsall as fielding and strength trainer.
On Moores as new ECB coach, Mushtaq believed that it would be hard for England to regain their top ranking in Test cricket without a wicket-taking slow bowler. "Moores is a brilliant coach and a good person. He is very good at man management. I have played under him at Sussex for four years. But even he will find it difficult to turn around England's Test ranking," he added.  "England or for that matter no team can expect to be number one in Test cricket or retain their top position for long without having a wicket-taking spin bowler," Mushtaq asserted.
"Swann was a wicket-taking spinner and with Monty Panesar, he helped England win not only in India after some 29 years but also played a key role in Ashes success," he said.  "I have had a great time working for the ECB and I have told them about my applying for a coaching position with the PCB. I just feel it is time to now focus on giving something back to Pakistan cricket," he added.
Mushtaq said he backed Moores to make a success of the England job with a new coaching team. "Obviously, he wants to make a fresh start because England have been going through a rough patch since last year. Moores is the right man for them now," he concluded.