LAHORE      -       Pakistan spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmad has said that the West Indies series will help the national team learn how to tackle hosts England during the Test series.

Mushtaq said this during a virtual talk with sports journalists here on Wednesday. “We have to watch the West Indies series very carefully, as it will help us learn the ways how to tackle the England team and how to tackle the problems to be faced by them due to change of rules. We will also come to know about the strengths and shortcomings of both the teams especially of the English side. So, the West Indies series will be blessing in disguise for us in many ways.”

When asked about Pakistan’s key strength against England, whether it will be pace attack or spin bowling, Mushtaq replied: “Although England team has very experienced bowling attack yet our bowling strength is our youth. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah are in good form and both are capable of destroying the English batting line-up while Mohammad Abbas can also play an important role in the team’s triumph.

“But there is always a great role of spinners in the Test cricket. Yasir Shah’s performance in the county cricket always remained very good and I am also working on him so we are hopeful that our spinners will also deliver in England,” added the spin bowling coach.

Replying to a query regarding having so many coaches in the men’s national team, Mushtaq said: “It will be a great blessing for the team, which has specialist coach for every department. I and Younis Khan both will be helping hands for Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis. We, the coaches, will not only help each other in the best possible manner but also work on every individual in a specific area; so hopefully, the boys will learn and get benefit from our experience and try to give out their best during the tour of England.”

The England series will be played without crowd behind the closed doors. On this, the former cricketer said: “Yes, there will be no crowd and spectators to cheer for both the sides. Although the players will feel some difficulties before adjusting to the conditions, yet we will take net practice as a tool to prepare the boys for the match. When during the practice, they will appeal for the lbw or take a wicket, there will be no one to cheer for them and similar situation, they will have to face in the real match.”

The spin bowling coach said that they will prepare the players mentally as upcoming England tour will be tough for both players as well as coaches. “We are focusing on training the players mentally as the upcoming England tour will be tough for all of us including players and coaches. The more we are mentally tough, the better results we will be able to produce against England at their home soil,” he said.

“I played for 11 years in England for Pakistan while I have also coaching experience in England and Pakistan. I also worked with the PCB as spin bowling consultant at the NCA. I will try my best to train the players in the light of my experience and try to help them produce their best against England,” he added.