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  1. #1
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    "I'm really excited about Shaheen Shah Afridi's potential" : Mushtaq Ahmed

    The news of Pakistan’s loss to Sri Lanka in the first Test match of the ongoing series being played in in the UAE shocked many a Pakistan supporter. The manner of the capitulation of the Pakistan batsmen seems to indicate a real issue with the ability to handle pressure situations due to the absence of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. However, what it also brought to light was the importance of good spin options in any Test team, as was ably demonstrated by Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.

    A World Cup winner and a veteran of 52 Tests where he took 185 wickets, Mushtaq Ahmed holds the position of the Head Coach at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore where finding the right kind of specialist spinner for Pakistan to partner Yasir Shah is one of his prime goals, as he explained in an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net.




    “Let me start by saying that I am extremely happy with the options we have in terms of leg-spinners. We have 4 or 5 such spinners in mind of which Mohammad Irfan from FATA is doing really well at the moment and then we also have the example of Shadab Khan who has done wonders in Limited Overs cricket. However, Shadab has to learn to operate in 4-Day cricket where he can really develop himself into an effective weapon.”

    The recent success of Rangana Herath against Pakistan's batsmen where he took 11-136 in his side’s fantastic victory is a stark reminder about the utility of a left-arm spinner which also seems to be a top priority for the Pakistan think-tank, “There is a lot of focus on finding a good left-arm spin bowler. We do have some excellent prospects in the shape of Mohammad Asghar and a few others as well. In terms of off-spinners in general, we have Bilal Asif who is currently included in the Test squad against Sri Lanka. Whilst a left-arm spinner is quite a special weapon to have, at the moment in the Under-16 and Under-19 levels, we are working hard to find and develop all types of off-spin bowlers as they are worth their weight in gold in Test cricket when it comes to bowling against left-hand-batsmen.”

    The age-old quest for an all-rounder to give the Pakistan team the same ability as it did in the days of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Abdul Razzaq seems to have got no real results but Mushtaq believes that it’s a matter of time before the next viable candidate for this role will be revealed due to the work being done at the PCB in this regard.

    “We are constantly looking to develop all-rounders as they are an integral part of any cricket team. Aamer Yamin and Faheem Ashraf are well known for their all-round skills but there are others such as Amad Butt on whom we are keeping an eye on in terms of performances as well as their fitness. The whole process of looking at young talent from spinners to middle-order batsmen, to all-rounders is something we at the NCA are keenly interested in. It is tiring work but something which gives us extreme joy and satisfaction.”

    The 17-year-old fast-bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has been creating a sensation amongst Pakistan fans as he continues to impress at the domestic level. In a recent Quaid-e-Azam match on behalf of KRL, Afridi took 8-39 which did shock a few, even someone as experienced as Mushtaq Ahmed could not hide his excitement.

    “When I saw him for the first time in a camp I was so excited that I was jumping up and down and I told my coaches that this guy needed to be fast-tracked. We then worked with him on his fitness and also on some of the angles of his deliveries as well as showed him some ideas on how to use variations when bowling. He is a very smart kid and seems to have taken all that on board and is producing some excellent results. He now has a chance to shine in the BPL and once he has that experience under his belt, where he can express himself in the presence of some big players, and returns to Pakistan for the Under-19 level then I have no doubt that he will become a match-winner by himself. We would also like to wait about six months or so to see how he performs in domestic cricket before making any judgements about fast-tracking him to the senior team. We really want him to bowl with some consistency before we start thinking of playing him at the top-level. This coming season as well as the BPL are very important for Shaheen Shah. Even if he gets hit around for runs, there will be plenty to learn as we have seen in the case of Mustafizur Rahman who also did the hard yards in local leagues and is a big player now.”

    The presence of talent amongst ranks of Pakistani youngsters has long been touted as the basis of hope for the future but the ground realities are a little different. As Head Coach of the NCA, Mushtaq Ahmed is painfully aware of the gap between expectations and actual performance on the field of play, “One can buy a bed, but you cannot buy sleep – this is the same for talent. We can teach them all the tricks in the book but we cannot bowl for them and this is where the true test of young talents comes into play. All we can do at the NCA is ensure that the player is match ready but then he is on his own. The same is true for the likes of Bilal Asif who is currently part of the Test squad. He impressed everyone at the camp which was held before the World XI visit and also in the pre-Test series camp. Now it is also up to the management to make sure that if a spinner like Bilal has the ability then they give him enough chances to show his abilities, to let him develop his self-confidence and not to discard him after one failure.”

    The role of the NCA in refining talent is well known but to Mushtaq Ahmed its true value is the fact that it serves to act as a link between the selectors and the Head Coach of the national team which is essential for the working of the national team.

    “The NCA helps to bridge the gap between the Pakistan selection committee and Mickey Arthur. This is an important link as Mickey will not know which player is match ready if an injury occurs during a tour or a series. We recently had an issue with the fitness of Yasir Shah and I was asked for a possible replacement and I recommended Mohammad Irfan. Many wondered why that was the case but we saw talent and skills in him based upon our assessment of his bowling. This is the type of vision we can provide to the team management. In addition, when players don’t do well, we bring them back to the NCA and see how we can fix their problems to allow them to regain their place in the team. And there are other important aspects of being a cricketer which we teach also such as how to read a pitch and how to set fields which are extremely important.”

    Sarfaraz Ahmed’s debut as Test captain may not have gone as he would have liked but there is no denying that he has the potential and the vote of confidence from many quarters. His leadership skills and tenacity have seen Pakistan triumph in the Champions Trophy as well as against a strong World XI side, but it appears that he still has some learning to do in the Test format. To Mushtaq’s trained eyes as a spinner, Sarfaraz’s potential is not in question but his ability to learn and use his spin options will be severely tested in Test matches, “There is no doubt that Sarfaraz has any issues in the Limited-overs formats of the game as he has shown on many occasions in the past. Where he has a challenge is in Test matches when he will be faced with situations where a partnership will be taking the game away and he will have to change his tactics. An experienced Test captain knows when to attack and when to go on the defensive with his spinners and also what field to set for which batsman. As a captain, Sarfaraz also will need to develop the knack of helping his bowlers grow in confidence and I hope that Sarfaraz and Yasir Shah will develop a good understanding and a long-lasting partnership in the future as well”, he concluded.


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  2. #2
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    A very good interview, I must say!

  3. #3
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    Very nice of Mushtaq to take time out to speak to us in Lahore.


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  4. #4
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    http://www.brecorder.com/2017/10/07/...t-arm-spinner/

    PCB’s National Cricket Academy (NCA) Head Coach Mushtaq Ahmed, has informed that the cricketing authorities are in search of a left-arm spin bowler.

    “There is a lot of focus on finding a good left-arm spin bowler. We do have some excellent prospects in the shape of Mohammad Asghar and a few others as well. In terms of off-spinners in general, we have Bilal Asif who is currently included in the Test squad against Sri Lanka. Whilst a left-arm spinner is quite a special weapon to have, at the moment in the Under-16 and Under-19 levels, we are working hard to find and develop all types of off-spin bowlers as they are worth their weight in gold in Test cricket when it comes to bowling against left-hand-batsmen,” stated Ahmed, quoted PakPassion.Net.

    The veteran leg spinner, statements come after Pakistan shock defeat against Sri Lanka in the first Test match, owing to mammoth performance of Lankan spin maestro Ragana Herath.

    Meanwhile, apart from left arm spinner, the search for a good all-rounder is also going on.

    “We are constantly looking to develop all-rounders as they are an integral part of any cricket team. Aamer Yamin and Faheem Ashraf are well known for their all-round skills but there are others such as Amad Butt on whom we are keeping an eye on in terms of performances as well as their fitness.”


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  5. #5
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    Even mushy bhai feels that Shaheen shah afridi should not be fasttraced in national team
    he need to perform well in domestic matches,BPL and PSL

  6. #6
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    Great interview....


    SIR DONALD BRADMAN ------SORRY, BUT NO ONE LIKE HIM

  7. #7
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    I like Mushy but I am increasingly sceptical about such bold announcements.

    The PCB/management always seem to say the right things but too often very little happens/changes.

    The repeated selection of Shehzad is a case in point.

    The selection of Shan Masood is another.

    The failure to pick Yamin or Tallat in the ODI squad despite the need for a seam bowling all rounder is another. Heck, Tallat can't even get a game in QeA!

    The failure to play Ashraf in the World Series and now the SL series is another.

    The fact Butt is being considered for selection for an A tour, despite earlier claims such tours would be limited to players under 30.

    The poor state of First Class cricket is another. We are promised better balls, brilliant pitches, more competition between regions and departments and yet the opposite happens. Not only is there a ridiculously cramped FC schedule, matches are ending within 2 days! Teams are being bowled out with barely a ball being bowled and the bowlers don't even have to break a sweat.

    We are told there will be grassroot investment and we are promised younger players will be given opportunities at domestic level and yet we had the farce that was the National t20 Cup draft. Even the PSL transfer window this year has seen some odd retentions/transfers.

    Talking of which, when exactly is the National t20 Cup due to happen? When the PCB can't even arrange a domestic calendar how on earth is cricket expected to prosper?

    Sometimes you just have to wonder why the management is apparently incapable of following through on their words. So whilst I hope Mushy is right, I won't hold my breath.

  8. #8
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    Excited about Shaheen, let's hope he can be as good as he looks on the videos and as good as what people in and around Pakistan cricket are saying he is.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Excited about Shaheen, let's hope he can be as good as he looks on the videos and as good as what people in and around Pakistan cricket are saying he is.
    Why he is not playing for krl? He is not in the 11.

  10. #10
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    I am a firm believer that after the BPL, he needs to be playing first-class cricket, whether that be in Pakistan or another country.

  11. #11
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    Being a LQ fan I watched his full 10 overs against Afghanistan in Asia Cup final last Sunday. And I'm not that impressed how much hype is being created. Decent pace but mediocre line length. Lets hope he gain more pace and improve his line length.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hailian View Post
    Being a LQ fan I watched his full 10 overs against Afghanistan in Asia Cup final last Sunday. And I'm not that impressed how much hype is being created. Decent pace but mediocre line length. Lets hope he gain more pace and improve his line length.
    He'll develop as he gets older.

    Hasn't even got all of his "man strength" yet considering the body is still growing. What he does have is the ability to swing it at good pace with bounce.

    That's great for his age.


    May the Hawks Fly Forever. Lightning Hawks CC -- Team Thread.

  13. #13
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    Why can't the likes of Shaheen Shah, Sameen Gul, Ghulam Mudassar, etc, go to the MCC for practice, instead of Yasir Jan, who turns out is just a circus act?

  14. #14
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    Swing and bounce are the key thing. The pace will almost certainly come, and of the 3 variables, is the one that can be improved to the greatest degree. What he needs right now is to just be playing as much cricket as he can for natural strengthening if I can put it that way; he doesn't really need gym stuff at the moment.

    Something that I've never understood is that if a person can't get into a Division 1 County side in England, they go to Divison 2. However, for the next level of player, who can't get into Division 2 side, they never go into the 2nd XI's of the counties, and use that as a springboard to progress.
    ?
    Is that something Shaheen Shah can do, do we think?

  15. #15
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    http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sp...ational-874637

    Football has always been his first love, but things may have ‘turned’ out quite differently for Danny Collins in the world of professional sport.

    Now aged 37, the former Wales international has pretty much done it all in the beautiful game, having been fast-tracked from non-league to the Premier League during the mid-2000s.

    From local leagues, to Chester, and then to the top-flight following a Championship-winning season with Sunderland, just 11 months separated his last game for Chester and his Premier League debut against Arsenal.

    At that point he had already pulled on the famous red of Wales – but football wasn't the only sporting path he could have taken.

    Every League Two club ranked by how well they fill their grounds including Grimsby Town and Lincoln City
    Back in 2001, Collins had another claim to international fame as a cricketing all-rounder for then-Liverpool ECB Premier League side Northop Hall.

    It was there where he bowled, quite successfully, in tandem with Pakistan spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who played 52 Test matches for his country, taking 185 wickets.

    A fresh-faced Collins strode to the crease 33 times for Northop at that level, scoring 344 runs at an average of 19.11 – but it was his bowling that really did the talking, spinning his way to 33 victims at just over 23 runs apiece.

    Mushtaq then joined forces with Collins for six games in 2001; 260 runs and 35 wickets the resulting damage from a Test cricketer at his peak.

    “I remember playing a couple of games against other counties, down in Glamorgan, before I turned pro, so I would have been around 19 or 20.

    “I used to play in the Liverpool competition for a team in north Wales called Northop Hall. It was a good standard and there were a lot of overseas pros coming in to play at that time.

    “For me, the one that sticks out was the Pakistan cricketer Mushtaq Ahmed. He was our overseas pro one year, so it was nice to bowl with him.

    “I was bowling at one end and he was obviously on at the other. It perhaps helped me a little bit because they tried to get after me, because they couldn’t get much from Mushtaq at the other end!”


    Collins, who signed for Grimsby Town last September, and has since chalked up over 50 league appearances for the Mariners in League Two, added: “It was a good experience for me at the time.

    “I used to go in at six or seven as I was a bit of an all-rounder really. I was a left-arm spinner, but I used to try and score a few runs as well.

    “It was nice to carry it on for a while, but I got the option to turn pro at Chester, and I was about 20 then.

    “In a way, I had to make a decision between the cricket and the football. Football was always my first love, unfortunately for my cricket.

    “I still like watching the cricket when it’s on, especially the one-dayers. I’ve been down to Durham a few times with me living up there. I’ve watched a few of the games up there.

    “But when I had to make that choice it was always going to be football.

    “I might step back into it and have a look at what teams are up there when I hang my boots up. It might be nice to have a knock again when I’m in my forties!”


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  16. #16
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    Shaheen Shah Afridi selected for U19 CWC!


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