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Saqlain: We can still win the championship

Surrey's Pakistani leg spinner Saqlain Mushtaq says his team-mates still have a fighting chance of pipping leaders Yorkshire to the county championship title.

Messenger Newspapers: That winning feeling: Saqlain Mushtaq believes Surrey can add to their B&H Cup success. Jon Buckle/EMPICS That winning feeling: Saqlain Mushtaq believes Surrey can add to their B&H Cup success. Jon Buckle/EMPICS

The 24-year-old, who arrived at the Oval in June after playing in the one-day triangular tournament for Pakistan is part of a Surrey side who are in sixth spot 43 points behind the Tykes with a game in hand.

The stakes will be high at Headingley this week when the big two clash, minus the likes of Darren Gough, Chris Silverwood, Alec Stewart and Graham Thorpe.

According to Saqlain, Surrey have a good chance of picking up maximum points and keeping alive their hopes of securing a hat trick of championship scuccesses.

He said: “All the players are working hard. If we can beat Yorkshire, we can go on and win the championship.

“Being without the England players will be a problem.

“It is a hard time to play when they are all playing for England.

“But I'm sure the players, who replace them will do a good job for us.

“The main thing is we get the 18 points. We have to keep working hard.

“I've had a great time at Surrey now I want to go on and help us win the championship for a third time.”

Saqlain says Martin Bicknell and Ed Giddins are key players should Surrey go on and win their second piece of silverware this season.

“Ed Giddins, Martin Bicknell and Alex Tudor have bowled really well, which means I haven't been able to bowl as much,” he said.

“I feel I'm bowling well and I'm looking to take this form not only into Yorkshire, but for the rest of the games we need to play.”

Saqlain believes Adam Hollioake is a comparable leader to his Pakistan skipper Waqar Younis.

“They are both good captains,” he said. “They know how to deal with players and use them for a certain situation in a game.

“There is not a lot to choose between them.

“They know what it's like to win trophies and Test series over the last two years.

“They have the same theory as I do to take it game by game. In cricket that's the best way to treat things.”

“Cricket is a lot more modernised than it was two years ago. It has become a very fast, quick and active game.”

FACTFILE

Full name: Saqlain Mushtaq

Date of birth: December 29, 1976.

Birthplace: Lahore

Height: 5ft 9in

Weight: 11st 4lb

Nickname: Saqi, Baba

Parents: Nasim Akhtar and Mushtaq Ahme

Family: Wife Sana (Sunny)

Education: Lahore MAO College.

Role: Right hand bat, leg spin bowler.

Clubs: PIA Isalamabad and Surrey.

County debut: 1997

County cap: 1998

Test debut: 1995

Tests: 28

One day internationals: 124

Best batting: 79 for Pakistan

v Zimbabwe, Sheikhupura 1996-97

Best bowling: 8-65 v Derbyshire, The Oval, 1998.

Cricketing heroes: Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram

Hobbies: Squash, snooker. Follows Manchester United, Arsenal and hockey.



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