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Ahmed firmly believes spinners should be given more credit during Twenty20 matches
Former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed believes batsmen get too much credit in Twenty20 cricket nowadays and added that people often forget the huge roles spinners play in dictating the outcome of a match.
Ahmed, who is currently England’s spin bowling coach, stated that the amazing thing about today’s spinners is the ever-expanding variety of deliveries they have to trick a batsman into playing a false stroke.
“A lot of teams are winning the matches because of spinners,” Ahmed said. “I believe spinners have more variations like they have carom ball, doosra, googly and flipper. Spinners are playing a huge role in Twenty20 cricket. The spinners can take wickets in the middle at the crucial time. I think the spinners are playing a huge role.”
Offering a piece of advice to spinners at all levels, Ahmed noted that a spinner’s concentration should be on the amount of spin they get off the ball and not on the batsman.
“Spin the ball as hard as you can,” Ahmed said. “Not to worry about containing any batsman. Be smart with your field position and you will see the results.”
During this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), Ahmed worked as a consultant for the Delhi Daredevils, and announced that a number of spinners had impressed him throughout the tournament.
“There are plenty of them,” he said. “Shahbaz Nadeem, Jeevan Mendis, Johan Botha from our team. Then from opposition, you have Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha.”
Ahmed also offered another piece of advice for all the young spin bowlers across the world, saying they should not give into the pressure the opposition are putting on them and instead have faith in themselves, which ends up going a long way on the pitch.
“I believe cricket coaching is all about not to tell a player how to play cricket, it’s about managing him,” Ahmed said. “Especially in IPL, you have 50,000 people coming and watching your game. You try to bowl against Sachin, Pollard or Gayle. As a coach, you learn how to express your feeling, how to pass that feeling to a young spinner.
“Not to worry about the sixes, not to worry about the crowd, just go and express yourself. Temperament is the key to success for me. What I learnt as a player, never worry about the situation and always remember your strength. Not to worry about the opposition. If you give that much time to a player, they are able to cope up with the situation.”
Futhermore, Ahmed also had one last pearl of wisdom for all leg-spinners, saying: “They are like a tree, and if you are a good gardener, you can grow that tree, then for rest of your life, you can have fruits and shade.”