The Investec Ashes 2013 July 29, 2013

Mushtaq offers reverse-swing tips to England bowlers


Mushtaq Ahmed, the England spin-bowling coach, has said he has been sharing tips on the art of reverse swing with England's fast bowlers. Mushtaq is a former team-mate of two of the foremost exponents of reverse swing, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

"Regardless of my coaching, they [England's bowlers] are doing extensive work in the nets [on mastering reverse swing]," Mushtaq told reporters in Lahore last week. "They have realised that apart from the gym work, developing skills is equally important. They do discuss all the factors of reverse swing, but credit must be given to them for attaining it. The most inspiring thing is they [practice] in the nets, otherwise bowlers these days don't work on their variations. They just wait for the ball to get old.

"I have experience with the likes of Wasim and Waqar. Both were the best in the business, so I am sharing my past experiences with them. They [England bowlers] do discuss the angles, the importance of using the crease, and a lot of other minor factors that could help. I am happy that things are being applied, and that they are getting results out of it."

Mushtaq, 43, is currently with England on a consultancy basis. In the 1990s, he was one of the key members in Pakistan's bowling line-up, along with Wasim and Waqar. While elaborating on how to maintain the ball, Mushtaq said it's all about taking care of the shiny side.

Pakistan has faced accusations of ball tampering from the English press since the early '90s, though no formal evidence was ever found. Both Wasim and Waqar were able to obtain prodigious movement with the old ball, a phenomenon which was later termed reverse swing.

"In my time, I used to take care of the ball, and I had to keep it in the best shape so that the utility of the ball did not go off," Mushtaq said. "They asked me to keep one side of the ball dry, and not let it [get] wet by any means - which is a very important part. The more you look after the ball, the better the result you will attain. Players these days throw the ball with one bounce on the pitches to get the ball rough, but maintaining it thereafter is a skill."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • atif on July 31, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    it's understandable that Mushi's been in the same team as Wasim and Waqar, and he's done the hard work of maintaining the ball, but i would suggest to Mushi that he should stick with what he knows best. Wasim and Waqar had a phenominal time and were the masters of pace, seam and swing, and they will remain the greats of the game, and by the sounds of it Mushtaq wants some exposure by just shinning the ball for them! It's amazing how people want to be connected to success - may it be in any shape of form. Mushtaq stick to concentrate on Spin and if your so good at your trade then try make England win against Pakistan In Dubai next time round!!! Good Luck!!!

  • Graham on July 30, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    @maximum6 - it's a cost thing. Quality cricket balls are expensive and most club sides are not going to deliberately mess up new balls to experiment - especially when most years you won't come across dry enough squares on club grounds to expect to get it to reverse. I also find that in match situations, the 17+ an hour over rate demanded at club level means nobody really gets enough time to work as hard on the ball as you need to. The last 3 or 4 weeks have created perfect conditions to get some reverse but I've only managed to get it to go once in that period, despite having been privy to all the secrets and techniques (albeit you need your seam control to be spot on, which is also not as easy as Jimmy Anderson makes it look!) It does require you to look after the ball very carefully though.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    He was a leg spinner and while Mushtaq is England's spin bowling coach England has not produced a single wrist spinner, and now he teaching fast bowlers how to do their job.Good luck to them.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    reverse swing is an art and its apply first on ball and then skills to use it............

  • Ata on July 30, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    Shame on PCB, other teams hire Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqalin Mustaq and other Pakistani players to coach and guide their players, and we always hire coaches from out side who have 3rd class International career as players.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    As once again, Pakistan is added as an ingredient even in England Cricket. Pakistan :)

  • Michael on July 29, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    Sounds priceless to have a direct link with Waqar and Wasim. I am slightly lost though how any bowler of any pretensions would not go and practice this sort sort of thing fervently in the nets. Glad to know our internationals do though.

  • ESPN on July 29, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    Good to see that

  • ESPN on July 29, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    I think he (mushi) should concentrate on developing a leg spinner from county and give it to english side