KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday appointed Mushtaq Ahmed as its new spin bowling coach after the World Cup winner lost the role for England.
The 43-year-old former leg-spinner signed a two-year contract with immediate effect, according to a statement by the board. He had coached England for six years until a reshuffle by new head coach Peter Moores saw him replaced by Peter Such.
Speaking to the media after the appointment, Ahmed said: “I will do my best to serve Pakistani spinners and will also help the batsmen learn how to counter rival spinners. “It’s a big big honour for me and I will do my best.”
Ahmed claimed 185 wickets in Test matches and 161 in one-day internationals. He was a mainstay of Pakistan’s formidable bowling line-up in the 1990s that included pace legends Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who was last week appointed head coach.
The diminutive spinner also played a key role in Pakistan’s World Cup victory in 1992 in tandem with Akram. Cast out from the national team later on in his career, he turned his attention to English county cricket where he took more than 100 wickets for Sussex for five successive seasons and helped them win the championship in 2003, 2006 and 2007.
Ahmed’s coaching tenure with the England team coincided with the rise of Graeme Swann, one of the country’s best ever spinners who abruptly retired partway through the 2013-2014 Ashes won 5-0 by Australia.
Ahmed has had two previous stints as Pakistan’s spin coach, in 2005 and 2007, despite controversy over his past. He was among several players censured in a match-fixing report compiled by Judge Malik Qayyum in 2000.
The report said that he had been in touch with bookmakers and recommended that he be banned from positions of responsibility within the team and board. The Qayyum commission banned former captain Salim Malik and paceman Ata-ur-Rehman and fined six others.
Reacting to criticism in some quarters over his hiring, Ahmed said: “I am surprised why people are against my appointment. I had been coach before and then served England so there were no problems before, why now?”
In 2010 the-then International Cricket Council chief Haroon Lorgat revealed to the Guardian that he had warned the England Cricket Board to perform due diligence before appointing Ahmed. Pakistan are also expected soon to appoint former Zimbabwean opener Grant Flower as their batting coach, and fellow Zimbabwean Richard Halsall as fielding and strength trainer.