Saqlain sees potential in WI spin stocks
Saqlain Mushtaq, the former Pakistan offspinner, believes West Indies have the potential to redefine their bowling, given the vast array of spinners emerging from the region recently. Mushtaq is currently conducting a three-week camp for promising male and female spinners in the Caribbean and expressed optimism at the roster thus far.
"There are some talented youngsters. They are passionate and it's showing in this camp," Saqlain said. "I'm working on techniques and their tactical approach also. We're also touching on the physical aspects of spinners and how fit they should be. They need to know how they should look after their fingers. I am eager to pass on my knowledge and experience.
"There's a rich history in the West Indies for spin. People often think it's just only pace. Lance Gibbs was the first spinner to take 300 wickets. He put the seed of spin in. Sonny Ramadhin is another. Obviously, fast bowling took over but the region at present has good leggies, offies and doosra bowlers also."
Saqlain said Sunil Narine was the focal point of West Indies' spin talent, which would be crucial in years to come. "I always worked hard and tried to be different. I am teaching these players this. Be different. I was learning from watching the likes of Wasim (Akram) and Imran (Khan). I was lucky to play for Pakistan. It helped me look at Abdul Qadir, who I developed a lot from.
"Bowlers like Muttiah Muralitharan and (Anil) Kumble also added a lot to my experience. I am hoping to impart such to the West Indies youngsters." Saqlain pointed to Devendra Bishoo, Shane Shillingford and Veerasammy Permaul as players that were capable of adding to the spin attack when the opportunity arose.
Saqlain had taken 208 wickets in 49 Tests and 288 wickets in 169 ODIs between 1995 and 2004. He said that West Indies coach Ottis Gibson, whom he knew from his playing and coaching career at Surrey, had approached him after West Indies had won the World Twenty20 in 2012.
"I jumped at the chance to offer my expertise. West Indies is a big part of world cricket. My good friend Mushtaq Ahmed helped England improve to a cricketing giant once more and I'd like to do the same with my knowledge."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here