England call in Mushtaq to help spinners

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Mushtaq Ahmed, the former Pakistan player, has been appointed as a spin bowling coach by the England and Wales Cricket Board. The 38-year-old will work with England players at various levels, having agreed a deal on a consultancy basis. He retired from first-class cricket this summer after injury halted his season with Sussex.

"We are very excited that a bowler of Mushtaq's standing within the game has decided to join our team of specialist coaches based at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough," said ECB performance director David Parsons. "He will have a role to play at all levels of the game.

"His primary task will be to mentor our leading spin bowlers in the Test, one-day and performance squads but we also believe he can help encourage youngsters at the grassroots of the game to take up and learn the art of spin bowling."

The ECB also said in a statement that Mushtaq would be "taking appropriate steps to sever his ties with the Indian Cricket League".

Hugh Morris, managing director of England cricket, added: "It's critical that we nurture and develop the next generation of England spin bowlers using the expertise and knowledge of former players such as Mushtaq.

"Spin has been integral to the success of the world's best cricket teams and we are keen to ensure that there is a constant flow of spin-bowling talent into the England set-up."

During his career Mushtaq played 52 Tests for Pakistan, taking 185 wickets. He also took 161 wickets in his 144 one-day internationals for his country.

In 2003 he took 100 wickets for Sussex to help them win the County Championship for the first time, a feat he also achieved in 2006 when Sussex again won the title.

Meanwhile the England batsman Alastair Cook has signed a two-year contract extension with Essex which ties him to the county until the end of the 2011 season.

International commitments have restricted the number of times Cook has been available to his county in the last two years, but last season he played a crucial role in Essex's Friends Provident Trophy win, with a crucial semi-final knock of 95 his most notable contribution.

A civil court in Karachi has lifted a life ban on former Pakistan captain Salim Malik after clearing him of match-fixing. Australia cricketers Mark Waugh, Shane Warne and Tim May had alleged that Malik had offered them a bribe to underperform during Australia's tour of Pakistan in 1994. "I am a relieved man. I feel vindicated," Malik said. "Now I can go into coaching, which is something I had always wanted to do."

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