ECB extends Saqlain coaching spell

Saqlain Mushtaq has been credited with an improved performance from Adil Rashid © Getty Images

Saqlain Mushtaq will remain with the England team until the end of the third Test in Mohali after agreeing an extension to his deal with the ECB.

Saqlain, the former Pakistan offspinner, is currently in the middle of a second spell as spin-bowling consultant with the England side but had originally been contracted to spend just a couple of weeks with the team. He was scheduled to leave the tour after the first Test.

But with all three spinners in the England side enjoying an improved performance in Rajkot, it has now been decided to retain his services for a little longer. While there had been some concerns over whether they would be able to extend his visa due to the strained relationship between India and Pakistan, the ECB has confirmed that the issue has been resolved.

The ECB has been criticised in recent times – not least by Graeme Swann – for not providing the same level of support to spin bowlers as other disciplines within the side. While batting and bowling coaches travel with the team nearly all the time, the likes of Saqlain and, before him, Mushtaq Ahmed, have been contracted for just a few days a few times a year. Sometimes this has been arranged only a couple of days before games, providing little time for meaningful coaching or improvement.

Adil Rashid’s improved showing in Rajkot has, in part, been credited to Saqlain, though. Encouraged to bowl at his natural pace, rather than bowl quicker which has been a feature of recent performances, Rashid gained impressive turn and noted Saqlain’s input on field placement and game plans.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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