Mushtaq, Saqlain apply for UK citizenship

Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Two of Pakistan's best spinners of the modern era, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq, have applied for British citizenship although still playing county cricket as overseas players.

According to the details, Mushtaq, who is having an outstanding season for Sussex, has two years left before his application to become a British national comes through the process while Saqlain has also applied for the citizenship while playing for Surrey.

"But despite applying for the citizenship they've opted not to try to appear for their counties as local players which they can do in their current status as apparently they still harbour hopes of making one final comeback for the Pakistan team," a source close to them said on Monday.

Pakistan's former Test bowler Mohammad Akram has already got British citizenship and plays for Sussex as a local player after settling in England while batsman Hasan Adnan has also played as a local signing for Derbyshire although he plays first-class cricket in Pakistan too.

Pakistan cricket team's skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq has indicated that Mushtaq might be considered for a comeback against England in the coming home series because of his outstanding form in county cricket and Saqlain has also resumed playing competitive cricket after a one-year layoff due to a knee injury and has said that he is keen to make a comeback for Pakistan.

Saqlain, whose wife is a British national and Mushtaq, interestingly, have both turned to religion in a very serious manner and spend their time in England doing preaching tours and staying involved in religious activities.

Mushtaq last played for Pakistan in 2003 in a Test at Faisalabad against South Africa and had a dismal time while Saqlain's last Test appearance was also in April 2004 against India at Multan which ended miserably after which he suffered the knee problem.

Inzamam has hinted that Pakistan might decide to attack the England team through spin by preparing helpful pitches as the tourists had a very strong pace attack.

Pakistan's lone current spinner Danish Kaneria, despite his success in recent Test matches, has not been having a very successful time in his second season for Essex.

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