Saqlain Mushtaq is never given enough credit as the first off-spinner to use the Doosra both well and legally. A uniquely difficult ball to control, Saqlain bamboozled batsmen with it to such an extent that other off-spinners were more or less disregarded by their selectors unless they possessed the ability to bowl it. Even the great Muttiah Muralitharan felt compelled to to bowl the Doosra if only to prevent rivals stealing his thunder.

Saqlain’s record of 208 Test wickets @29.8 from 49 Tests is testament to his excellence and inventiveness, two qualities he now brings to his coaching. So far, England have been the greatest beneficiary of his latter expertise, his time with them having improved the bowling of Moeen Ali by giant steps.

Moeen has always been able to turn his off-breaks sharply if conditions allow, but under Saqlain’s guidance he has added accuracy and subtlety as well as a hatful of wickets.

 

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