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ICC World Cup 2019: England rope in Saqlain Mushtaq to guide the spinners

Saqlain's two-year contract with the Three Lions had expired earlier this year. 

Saqlain Mushtaq, Moeen Ali
Saqlain Mushtaq and Moeen Ali during the nets. (Photo by Simon Cooper/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ever since their humiliating exit from the 2015 World Cup, England have turned out to be a brute force in limited-overs cricket. The Three Lions are placed at the helm in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ODI rankings. Quite expectantly, many experts and pundits believe that the Brits, captained by Eoin Morgan, can win the championship next time around.

One of the main reasons behind their success has been the spinners- Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, both of whom have featured regularly in the national team. Apart from the duo, England also has Liam Dawson as their third spinner. The hosts have in preparation roped in Saqlain Mushtaq, the former Pakistan spinner, to help out their tweakers for the tournament.

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Mushtaq scheduled to join on May 30

The veteran is currently in Pakistan and he got a call from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). “I got a call from the ECB last week, requesting me to join the team during the World Cup and help out the spinners during the tournament,” Saqlain was quoted as saying in Sportstar on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old Saqlain is expected the join the team on May 30, the day when England will play the opening match of the tournament against South Africa in London. “I have worked with the team in the past and know all the players. World Cup being a big tournament, I will try and help them as much as I can,” the retired spinner added.

Saqlain’s assignment will only be for a couple of weeks during which he will help the spinners ‘as and when’ required. He previously worked with the English national teams, helping the tweakers do well on tours of India and Bangladesh in 2016-17. His two-year contract expired earlier this year.

The off-spinner was a linchpin of the Pakistan bowling attack in the ODI format, having picked up 288 wickets in 169 matches. He has a delightful record in the World Cup as well as he picked up 23 wickets in 14 matches at an economy of 4.39. In 1999, he also notched a hat-trick against Zimbabwe at The Oval.

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