LAHORE – National Cricket Academy (NCA) head coach Mushtaq Ahmad has said that Pakistan’s chances of winning ODI and Test series against the West Indies are quite bright. Talking to the reporters here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday, Mushtaq said: “I am quite confident that after giving excellent performances in the Twenty20 series against the hosts, the national ODI and Test teams will also prove their mettle and succeed in winning the one-day and Test series.” The former spinner believes young sensation Shadab Khan can play alongside Yasir Shah and form a lethal leg-spin pair for Pakistan. “The focus of selection committee is that if we have two spinners with different variations and both could become match-winners, then why can’t both play in one match.” Pakistan has a history of fielding two leg-spinners in a Test match. In one such instance, Mushtaq played alongside Abdul Qadir against the West Indies in 1990 in Karachi and Pakistan won the Test match by eight wickets. Mushtaq said non-sub-continental teams do struggle against leg-spinners and Pakistan should take advantage of it in the upcoming one-day and test series against the West Indies. “Two leg-spinners against a western team will have a positive impact,” he said. “In one-day cricket if we have leg-spinners who could take wickets in the middle overs, it will be a huge advantage for us.” Replying to a query regarding Yasir and Shadab, he said: “There is no comparison between both, as Yasir is experienced one and has single-handedly guided Pakistan to success in a number of matches during past one and half year through his deadly bowling while Shadab is just a newcomer in international cricket, who needs time to excel at international level.”
He said that the West Indies couldn’t cope with the spin bowlers while on the other hand, Pakistan team had world renowned spinners like Yasir Shah and young Shadab Khan. “Yasir is an established spinner for all the formats of the game whereas Shadab is in process of establishing himself and yet to play Test matches.” He said Test matches revealed the strength and performance level of a bowler or a batsman as it required temperament to sustain pressure and to showcase talent in the longest version of the game. “Yasir is doing a lot of hard work to further improve his bowling and Shadab will be learning from his mentor (Yasir), when they play together in a match. Shadab has a good temperament to learn and to improve and with passage of time, he will prove an asset for Pakistan cricket.” The NCA head coach said the West Indian team was also in the phase of rebuilding and also missed the services of its important members. “Absence of some key members in the West Indian team is another advantage to our team, which is capable of routing the rivals, having the services of quality spinners and pacers,” he said.
Replying to another query, Mushtaq said that in the given circumstances, it seemed that the West Indies tour was going to be the last assignment of Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s cricketing career. “Definitely, Misbah will be aiming to end his career on a successful note by beating the West Indies in Test series but the task is not that easy as Pakistan team has not beaten the West Indies in their own backyard in the past.” He was of the view that the Test series of great significance for veteran batman Younus Khan, who would focusing on completing his 10,000 runs in Test cricket. “The aim of holding practice matches during the training camp is to develop match temperament among the players and to get the experienced players with young players,” Mushtaq concluded. To a query, he said that the playing conditions in the West Indies were similar to the United Arab Emirates which would provide Pakistani bowlers an edge to excel. “We have pacers, who can add fire to pace battery and our spinners will be there to share the responsibility with deadly bowling,” he added.