Tuesday 20 February 2007 

Sussex Snap Up Saqlain As Cover For Mushtaq

Sussex have moved to cover the absence of Mushtaq Ahmed, who will be at the World Cup with Pakistan in his coaching capacity, by signing Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq.

30 year-old Saqlain has struggled with knee problems in the last 3 years and whilst he will initially provide cover for his fellow spinner, Sussex will then be able to field both once Mushtaq Ahmed returns from the Caribbean.

Saqlain is credited with the invention of the doosra, and was the quickest man to reach the milestones of 100, 150, 200 and 250 one-day wickets and the prospect of both Saqlain and Mushtaq bowling together has excited Sussex professional cricket manager Mark Robinson:

"The option of the two Mushtaqs bowling in tandem is a mouth-watering prospect.

"Saqlain is only 30 and we hope, with the right care and attention from our support staff, he will have a long and successful new chapter of his career.''

Saqlain added: "I am very much looking forward to at least the next two years with Sussex with great ambition and determination having spent the majority of the last three years out of the game.

"I am very grateful to Sussex and Mark Robinson for giving me this opportunity and look forward to repaying them on the field.''

Saqlain will, in April, be able to apply for a British passport and will then be allowed to play as an EU-qualified player. Furthermore, this move would eventually enable him to be qualified to play for England.

Sussex captain Chris Adams said: "This is a very exciting signing indeed.

"The last time I felt this excited about bringing a player to the club is when we signed Mushtaq Ahmed.

"If Saqlain can emulate even half of what Mushtaq has achieved, then not only will we have allowed him to rediscover his form and presumably his happiness with his game and his cricket, but I am certain that if that's the case the England selectors will be watching very closely.

"I would like to add that, whilst I am sure there is much hard work ahead for Saqlain, he will bring an enormous amount of experience to the squad and with young spinners like Ollie Rayner and Tom Smith that can only help them advance their own games and quest for first-class cricket, watching and learning alongside a true master.''