Occasionally destructive English spinner Monty Panesar.

Occasionally destructive English spinner Monty Panesar. Photo: Tamara Dean

KARACHI Former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed believes it will be hard for England to regain their top ranking in test cricket without a wicket-taking slow bowler.

The 43-year-old Mushtaq, who has worked as a consultant with the England team since 2008, has informed new England cricket director Peter Moores that he had applied for a coaching position with the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"Moores is a brilliant coach and a good person," Mushtaq told Reuters on Sunday.

"He is very good at man management. I have played under him at Sussex for four years. But even he will find it difficult to turn around England's test ranking," Mushtaq said.

"England or for that matter no team can expect to be number one in test cricket or retain their top position for long without having a wicket-taking spin bowler," he added.

Mushtaq, first recruited by the England in 2008 when Moores was in his first spell as coach, said the retirement of Graeme Swann was a big loss to the team.

"Swann was a wicket-taking spinner and with Monty Panesar he helped England win not only in India after some 29 years but also played a key role in Ashes success," Mushtaq said.

The little leg-spinner, who took 185 test and 161 one-day wickets and helped Pakistan win the 1992 World Cup, has informed Moores he wants to give priority to his PCB job.

"I have had a great time working for the ECB and I have told them about my applying for a coaching position with the PCB. I just feel it is time to now focus on giving something back to Pakistan cricket," he said.

Mushtaq has applied for the position of spin bowling coach with the PCB and is a front-runner to get the job this week.

The PCB last week named former captain Waqar Younis as head coach and the ruling body is due to announce his support team this week.

Mushtaq said he backed Moores to make a success of the England job with a new coaching team.

"Obviously he wants to make a fresh start because England have been going through a rough patch since last year. Moores is the right man for them now," he added. 

- Reuters