Shillingford hails work of Saqlain
KOLKATA, India – Shane Shillingford says he owes his a great deal of his success to Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. The WICB staged a spin bowlers’ clinic in September at the Sagicor High Performance Centre which was conducted by Saqlain.
Shillingford feels he has emerged a better bowler and at the Eden Gardens on Thursday, he destroyed India’s top order with a spell of four for 130, which included the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar.
“Working with Saqi [Saqlain Mushtaq] made me mentally tougher in terms of self-belief and stuff like that that he really stressed. Bowling out there, I really enjoyed every moment of it. Saqi, he thought pretty much about preparation before a Test match and that’s what I took from him when he was at the spinning camp,” said Shillingford.
The tall Dominican, who is ranked at Number 22 in the ICC Test Match Bowling Rankings, reduced India to 83 for 5 at one stage. He went on to reveal that he learned many variations from Saqlain.
“When we got to the spinning camp on the first day, he was telling me about my doosra and stuff like that and how I bowled it. So we went to the nets and tried out a few things. And he himself went out and bowled and the way he gripped the ball is very difficult because his joints and everything is different. But he definitely taught me a lot in terms of controlling it.”
One important tip Saqlain gave, according to Shillingford, was to ask yourself where you want the batsman to play a particular ball. Shillingford was also delighted to get Tendulkar’s wicket.
“In the spur of the moment, it’s every bowler’s reaction to appeal one time. I got in and I had seen it and stuff [on television]. At the end of the day, the umpire made his decision. It’s my job to appeal, so these things happen in the game.”
Shillingford is thrilled that his fine performance came against India, who are excellent players of spin.
“It feels absolutely wonderful. It’s going to be a challenge, you know. I know the Indians, they are very good players of spin. It is a wonderful achievement for me in terms of the wickets I got early on. Also, the wicket is not an easy wicket to bowl on. It’s a wicket where you have to put the ball in the right areas and be patient.”
Shillingford believes that the match is wide open despite India having bounced back strongly.
“The match is still wide open. It’s only the second day, so tomorrow [Friday] is a very important day for us. We have to come out and stick to our plans and be patient. When we get them out, it will depend on how we will bat.”