Mushtaq salutes England spin pair Moeen and Rashid

By Sports Desk July 03, 2019

Mushtaq Ahmed believes England spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are ready to be match winners for the Cricket World Cup hosts.

Neither man has been at his most effective in the tournament to date, Rashid claiming seven wickets and Ali five.

But former Pakistan spinner Mushtaq, who worked with the pair as part of England's backroom staff in the past and now enjoys a role with West Indies, admires their qualities.

"They're good cricketers. They're match winners, Moeen and Adil," Mushtaq told Omnisport.

"Since they've been playing for England in one-day cricket and also Test cricket, Moeen Ali has gotten lots of wickets, and Adil also.

"Since they've been playing together, I can see England become a number one team, because in the middle overs they get lots of wickets, and they control the game in the middle overs, so I think they're both playing a huge role for England."

Mushtaq, who had spells in county cricket with Somerset, Surrey and Sussex, played 144 ODIs and 52 Tests for Pakistan in an international career that ran from 1990 to 2003.

He was frustrated by West Indies failing to produce at the World Cup, where they have won just once in eight matches and finish off against Afghanistan on Thursday at Headingley.

"I think we just didn't catch that moment where you close the game," said Mushtaq, speaking at the Pakistan Cricket Legends Tour in association with Penny Appeal.

"You know, we could actually win a few of the games like against New Zealand and against Australia. The things that were actually supposed to be winning situations we actually lost that period, lost those key points.

"So I think with the West Indies, obviously there were a few new guys in, there's plenty of things we have to discuss about that. When they played that first game against Pakistan, they seemed like they could be one of the four teams who are going to qualify for the semi-final.

"But obviously there's plenty of things to improve. They've got plenty of talent, but you've got to close that moment where you are actually nearly winning the game. So, we missed that opportunity."

Mushtaq also dismissed suggestions, raised by former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar this week, that Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is "fat" and "unfit".

"We should respect our players," said Mushtaq, on being presented with those claims. "They're giving everything for our country, they're trying to win cricket matches for Pakistan, so sometimes they lose, sometimes they win.

"I say that as an ex-cricketer, also part of Pakistan. Please respect your cricketers, they're trying to entertain you, they're trying to win games for Pakistan. If they don't, keep supporting your Pakistani heroes. They're the people who actually go and express themselves and they sacrifice a lot for Pakistan."

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