England Cricket

Saqlain To Help England Spinners Ahead Of India Tour

Former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq will join up with the England squad on November 2 as they prepare for the Test series in India.

Saqlain made a good impression in a brief stint as England’s spin bowling consultant during the home Test series against Pakistan. The ECB made no secret of their desire to utilise his experience ahead of the series in India but had expressed some concern over whether they could secure a visa for him.

With that issue now resolved – it is understood he has a 15-day visa – he will join the England squad in Mumbai ahead of the first Test in Rajkot on November 9.

England hope that Saqlain can help England’s relatively inexperienced spin attack prepare for a series in which they will be required to play a substantial part. Gareth Batty, Adil Rashid and Zafar Ansari have played just 14 Tests between them – in Batty’s case, seven out of eight came more than a decade ago – while Moeen Ali admitted on Friday that he was “nowhere near where I want to be as a spinner.”

It may also be that Saqlain proves of benefit to England’s batsmen. During Mushtaq Ahmed’s spell as spin-bowling consultant, he helped the batsmen work out methods of attack against spin bowling.

Saqlain, who claimed 208 wickets in a 49-Test career, has previously had spells as a spin consultant with New Zealand and West Indies.

The England Test squad has not had a dedicated spin-bowling coach since Mushtaq left the role in early 2014.

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