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Saqlain Mushtaq for... England?


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I was just reading this article on BBC Sport about Surrey re-signing Saqlain Mushtaq, when the following caught my attention...

"Saqlain, who also played 49 Tests for Pakistan with his last appearance coming in 2004, is also eligible to play for England in 2008.

"It's an exciting prospect to know I might get a chance for England," said Saqlain."

I thought the ruling here was the same as football, once you've played for one country you can't play for another, but obviously according to the above it isn't. So, what is the exact ruling? How many nations can you play for? How long a break do you require before being able to play for another nation?

Either way, the prospect of Saqlain for England is an exciting one. Met the guy too, top bloke!

EDIT: Just found this article that explains a bit further.

Saqlain ponders England options

Sussex spinner Saqlain Mushtaq believes he could become the first player to represent England having already played international cricket for Pakistan.

Saqlain is playing for Sussex as a home player because of a British passport gained from marrying an English woman.

The 30-year-old, sidelined by injury in 2004, qualifies for England in 2008.

"It's an exciting prospect to know I might get a chance for England," he said. "But it is an option I will only think about after a successful season."

Saqlain must wait until April to qualify for England because it is compulsary to wait four years if changing nationality.

He last played for Pakistan in 2004, the year in which he suffered a serious knee problem that effectively ruled him out of first-class cricket until this season, when Sussex moved to secure his services.

The spinner duly obliged by taking four wickets on his first-class debut for the county champions in their tour match against India.

"Getting a chance to play for Sussex as a local player was the lucky break I was looking for after the agony and misery I went through," he said.

"It made me realise I am not finished as an international player yet," he said. "It now depends how desperate I am for the big comeback."

I am first concentrating on completing a good season without any more fitness problems

Saqlain admits he retains deep affection for Pakistan, but is dismayed by the way he says he was treated during his recuperation from injury.

"It hurts that no one bothered to just call me or ask me how I was doing," he lamented.

"It was as if I didn't exist. I didn't care about them footing my medical bills but the moral support was never there."

Having regained his fitness, Saqlain is determined not to think too far ahead.

"I am first concentrating on completing a good season without any more fitness problems." "Then I will see who is keener to play me and consider the best option. But playing for Pakistan has always been a honour for me," he added.

Hmmm... Interesting... England could yet try for Shane Warne had he not been retired! :p

Edited by Zoom7000
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You met him? That's very cool. He is a top class spinner. Seeing him play for England after playing for Pakistan would be weird but I wish he comes back to the international scene because he was a great spinner for Pakistan.

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