LAHORE                     -                  Former Pakistan Test spinner Mushtaq Ahmed has said that it wasn’t easy for him to take wickets in the 90s in the presence of the two Ws (Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis) rather it was quite challenging.

Mushtaq said this during his online lecture to national and emerging spinners here on Thursday. The former spinner also spoke about his Test career and success stories and also recalled that the pitches in Pakistan supported his spin bowling but the places like Australia, South Africa and England required him to bowl extra spin to take wickets.

“In the 90s, the standard of Pakistan bowling used to be very high as the team had great fast bowlers like the two Ws (Waseem and Waqar), who used to be great threats to the opponents. Being a spinner, it was really challenging for to not only bowl well but also take a good number of wickets, but thanks to Allah Almighty, I succeeded in claiming a good number of Test wickets,” he added.

He informed the youngsters that spin bowling is not only an art but also about the smartness of the bowler. “During my early days, I spoiled my bowling action in a bid to imitate legendary leg spinner Abdul Qadir but I never gave up and kept working hard and smart on my bowling, which produced wonders and helped me earn good name and fame in the world of cricket.”

Mushtaq, who also served as spin bowling coach around the world, said that the youngsters need to gain more experience in Test cricket to sharpen their skills. “Imad Wasim’s orthodox left-arm spin was improving while leg-spinner Shadab Khan had the variations in place. The youngsters only need more experience of bowling in the longer formats to make an impression.”

He suggested the youngsters to get benefit of lockdown time and work hard to improve their bowling. “The current lockdown is the best time for spinners to work hard and improve their bowling techniques as well as sharpen their skills as it will help them a lot when the cricketing activities resume after the Coronavirus pandemic comes to an end.”

The former spinner, who took 185 wickets for Pakistan in 52 Test appearances, emphasised on the importance of relationship between a wicketkeeper and a spinner as they work in tandem to plot a batsman’s downfall. “During my playing days, I used to team up with wicketkeeper Moin Khan in order to dismiss batsmen. We had such a great coordination that many of the wickets taken by me were the results of the team work between us.

“I never took criticism to heart during my career and always strived to improve my game, as for me, the best answer to criticism is the performance. If a player succeeds in giving out his best after some poor performances, he regains the lost confidence and keeps on shinning. I was the son of a labourer and my father taught me ‘never give up’, which remained my career’s motto and helped me achieve feats for me as well as for the country,” Mushtaq concluded.