Ahmed in favor of Pakistan fielding Shadab and Shah together

ISLAMABAD (AP) " Former test spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, now the head coach at the National Cricket Academy, believes young sensation Shadab Khan could play alongside Yasir Shah and form a lethal leg-spin pair for Pakistan.

"The focus of selection committee is that if we have two spinners with different variations and both could become match-winners, then why can't both play in one match," Ahmed said in Lahore on Wednesday.

At the National Cricket Academy, Ahmed has harnessed the skills of the 18-year-old Shadab and is working extensively on improving Shah's art of bowling googlies.

Pakistan has a history of fielding two leg-spinners in a test match. In one such instance, Ahmed played alongside Abdul Qadir against the West Indies in 1990 in Karachi and Pakistan won the test match by eight wickets.

Ahmed said non-sub-continental teams do struggle against leg-spinners and Pakistan should take advantage of it in the upcoming one-day and test series against the West Indies.

"Two leg-spinners against a western team will have a positive impact," Ahmed said. "In one-day cricket if we have leg-spinners who could take wickets in the middle overs, it will be a huge advantage for us."

West Indies batsmen were baffled by the googlies of Shadab in the Twenty20 series in which the leg-spinner took 10 wickets and won player of the series award in his debut international series as Pakistan clinched the series 3-1.

Shah has been Pakistan's key bowler since making his test debut in 2014, grabbing 124 wickets in only 23 test matches. The tally includes 63 wickets in 10 test matches in the United Arab Emirates, which has been Pakistan's "home" venue after foreign teams refused to tour Pakistan because of security reasons since the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team bus.

But lately, Shah has struggled outside sub-continent like conditions. In Australia, Shah could take only eight wickets in three test matches and Pakistan lost the series 3-0.

However, Ahmed blamed conditions in Australia for Shah's below-par performance and said the 30-year-old bowler remains Pakistan's first choice spinner in the longer format.

"Yasir couldn't perform in Australian conditions and we were exposed in the test series," Ahmed said. "But Yasir has proved over the last two years that he has no match.

"Shadab could learn, too, by staying with Yasir, like I learnt from Qadir bhai (brother) and then Danish (Kaneria) learnt from me when I was his senior."

Ahmed said Pakistan has a more established test team than the West Indies and conditions in the Caribbean will be more like the UAE, which will help the Pakistan bowlers.

"West Indies team is establishing at the moment, and honestly we have more of an advantage," he said.

Pakistan has never won a test series in the West Indies and Ahmed said aging captain Misbah-ul-Haq could bid farewell to test cricket with a victory.

"I don't know Misbah's plan, but I have a feeling that it could be his last series," Ahmed said. "Pakistan has not won a test series in the West Indies and I am sure it will be his target and also finish his career on a high."

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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