Panesar lauds Mushtaq presence
Monty Panesar says spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed has already made an impression on him and his slow-bowling colleagues in the England squad.
Mushtaq, the former Pakistan and Sussex leg-spinner, is to extend his stay on England’s tour of the Caribbean until midway through the four-Test series.
He was originally scheduled to spend the 10-day warm-up period in St Kitts working with Panesar, Graeme Swann and Adil Rashid before departing, but the tour management have requested an extension.
“It's been great having Mushtaq with us and I've really enjoyed both his company and the way he's been coaching us,” said Panesar.
“For me it has been a good experience so far. It’s great to see that he is going to be around for a few more weeks.
“The way he explains things is very simple and straightforward and he uses his experience to get his point across.
“With three spinners out here in the West Indies we've felt like a little team of our own under Mushy and we've enjoyed feeding off each other's ideas.”
Panesar claimed seven wickets in the crushing victory over a St Kitts & Nevis XI earlier this week and was subsequently rested for the contest with West Indies A.
Leg-spinner Rashid, who played in the first game, also made way, as off-spinner Swann was given the nod for the final warm-up match.
Panesar, the Northamptonshire left-armer, revealed that Mushtaq has allowed him to appreciate more when to attack and when to be circumspect.
“He’s been talking a lot to me about the artistry of spin bowling and the flow of bowling, which is less technical and more about getting a feel for what you're trying to do with the ball,” added Panesar.
“He knows what that is all about, having been an international player - when to be patient and let the ball do the work for you and when to attack to make things happen.”
Hugh Morris, ECB managing director, believes Mushtaq’s appointment is vindication of the board’s choice of spin coach.
“He's created a really good impression with the spin bowlers and indeed everybody on the tour,” said Morris.
“His experience and skill at international level has led us to the conclusion he would be valuable to have around for a longer period of time.
“We always suspected he would be an ideal person to help the spinners along.”
Swann bowled well early in his spell, finding considerable drift, but came in for punishment from Simmons as his 23 overs went for 96 runs.
Left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom was just pleased to be back in an England shirt after six months of injury lay-offs. He bowled 13 overs.
“It was a fantastic feeling just to be out there,” Sidebottom said. “I am chuffed from a personal point of view.
“The wicket is one of the flattest I have played on throughout my career and you just have to keep plugging away.
“There is always trepidation when you come back. As soon as you get a ball in hand you want to go at it 100% but you have to err on the side of caution."