Mushtaq Ahmad Malik (born 28 June 1970) is a Pakistani former cricketer who currently acts as the spin bowling coach for the Pakistan cricket team. A leg break googly bowler, at his peak he was described as being one of the best three wrist spinners in the world. In an international career that spanned from 1990 until 2003, he claimed 185 wickets in Test cricket and 161 in One Day Internationals. He was at his most prolific internationally between 1995 and 1998, but his most successful years were as a domestic player for Sussex in the early 2000s.
Mushtaq Ahmad was part of the Pakistan team which won the 1992 Cricket World Cup, and five years later, he was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year. During his time with Sussex, he was the leading wicket taker in the County Championship for five successive seasons, and helped the county win the competition in 2003, 2006 and 2007.
Career (Playing and Bowling):
Mushtaq Ahmed made his first class cricket debut in January 1987, at the age of 16. Playing for Multan, he claimed four wickets in the second innings of the match against Sukkur. He claimed his maiden recorded five wicket haul in the format the following season, playing for the Punjab Chief Minister's XI against the touring England cricket team. Shortly thereafter, he competed in the 1988 Under 19 World Cup, where he was the joint leading wicket taker, claiming 19 wickets at an average of 16.21. Pakistan reached the final of the tournament, in which they lost to Australia by five wickets. Early the following season, Mushtaq Ahmad took the first ten wicket haul of his career, collecting six wickets in the first innings and eight in the second innings of a match against Peshawar. He continued to impress that season, and took 52 wickets at an average of 22.84. He continued to appear for Pakistan Under 19s, and took 26 wickets in their series against India under 19s, more than double any other Pakistani player. His strong performances resulted in a call up to the Pakistan national cricket team in March 1989.
He made his full international debut on 23 March 1989, playing a One Day International ODI) against Sri Lanka. He took two wickets for 33 runs in the match, which Pakistan won by 30 runs. He retained his place in the Pakistan side for the subsequent tri-series with India and the West Indies, and made his Test cricket debut in January 1990 against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. His only wicket of the match was that of Mark Taylor. A year later, took fourteen wickets in a match against Peshawar, collecting five in the first innings, followed by nine in the second, finishing the match with figures of 14 for 130. In 1992, Mushtaq Ahmad was part of the Pakistan team which won the Cricket World Cup. He was joint second amongst bowlers by wickets taken, having claimed 16 during the tournament, trailing only his compatriot Wasim Akram. He struggled to made a significant impact in Test cricket for a number of years after his debut between 1990 and 1994, he only
claimed ten or more wickets in a Test series on one occasion, against England in 1992. However, between November 1995 and March 1998, he took at least ten wickets in every Test series, and claimed ten five wicket hauls. The first occasion on which he claimed five wickets in an innings in Test cricket was the second Test against Australia in November 1995. He repeated the feat in the third Test of that series, and then in the only Test of the subsequent series against New Zealand, in which he recorded his best figures in a Test match, seven for 56. His only five wicket haul in ODI cricket occurred in the fifth ODI of the "Sahara 'Friendship' Cup", a series played between India and Pakistan in Toronto, Canada. He took five wickets for 36 runs to help Pakistan win the match by 52 runs, and thus clinch the series 3-2.
During his most prolific years of Test cricket, he played his first spell of county cricket, appearing for Somerset between 1993 and 1998. In his book Somerset County Cricket Club ''100 Greats'', Eddie Lawrence describes Mushtaq Ahmad as "one of Somerset's best ever "overseas" signings." He played 62 first class matches for the county, and claimed 289 wickets at an average of 26.32. In 1997, he was named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year, in which he was described as being a member of "a glittering triumvirate of wrist spinners who adorn the modern game."
In the late 1990s, Mushtaq Ahmad was one of a number of Pakistan cricketers who were suspected of match fixing. Saleem Pervez alleged that he had given Mushtaq Ahmad, along with Salim Malik, £100,000 to intentionally lose a match against Australia in September 1994. After an inquiry, Mushtaq Ahmad was fined £3,500, and banned from captaining Pakistan. The judge presiding over the inquiry stated that: "There are sufficient grounds to cast strong doubt on Mushtaq Ahmed.
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