Mental strength will take precedence over individual skills once cricket resumes after a long break due to the coronavirus pandemic, says Pakistan spin consultant Mushtaq Ahmed.
International cricket is set to resume with West Indies taking on England in a three-match Test series from next month and Mushtaq feels that the world will learn a lot from how it fares under the extraordinary circumstances.
“I think we are going to learn a lot from the West Indies and England series and in the Covid-19 conditions. More than the skills, the mental strength of players will matter a lot. In these difficult circumstances the role of mentors have become very important,” he said.
After West Indies, England will likely host Pakistan in bio-secure environment with the touring party expected to arrive by June 25 for a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Mushtaq, who took 346 wickets across formats during his Pakistan career, feels that it will take some time for the players and coaches to adjust to the new conditions and reality.
“Players and coaches will require some time to adjust to the new playing conditions and playing in front of empty stadiums. I think the time we have in England before the series will be spent on preparing the players mentally for these challenges,” he said.
Pakistan recently appointed former captain Younis Khan as their batting coach while Mushtaq will mentor the spinners joining an already start-studded coaching staff including head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and fast bowling legend Waqar Younis.
He reckons that should the West Indies and Pakistan series go without any hiccup, it will pave the way for normalcy to return in cricket.
“That is why these two series are so important. We have to see how players, especially bowlers, adjust to the new rules like not using spit to shine the ball. We have to see how this will affect performance of the bowlers,” he said.