ISLAMABAD-Former Pakistani spinner Mushtaq Ahmed believes West Indies legend Brian Lara was the cleverest batsman he had came across.

“Lara knew the strategy of how to talk to the bowler, when he was unsettled and used to say ‘I didn’t mean that’ after hitting boundaries,” a private news channel quoted him as saying. Mushtaq, who was also Pakistan’s spin bowling coach, said Lara used to infuriate him. “He used to hit (Australian legend) Shane Warne and (Sri Lanka great) Muttiah Muralitharan as well,” he said.

Mushtaq, who in his career that spanned from 1990 until 2003, claimed 185 wickets in Test cricket and 161 in One Day Internationals, said it was very difficult to play against Shane Warne, adding that only former Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar managed to do it easily. Moreover, he said that Pakistan players of the past used to get into the heads of their Indian rivals even before matches had began.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed Mushtaq Ahmed as the team’s spin bowling coach for the upcoming tour of England. Speaking about Pakistan-England series, Mushtaq, who was appointed as spin-bowling coach in late 2008 by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said that he would let the Pakistan side know about the weaknesses of the England team, which will be beneficial for the side in the upcoming Test and T20 series.

“I will share my knowledge of the current England players with the Pakistan team. This is the beauty of the game. I was completely sincere with them, when I was working with the side. I used to tell them everything I knew about the Pakistan side back then,” he said.