Salman back at Cornwood in dual player-coach role

Mohammad Salman celebrates the wicket of Marlon Samuels in a Test match

FORMER Pakistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Salman is on his way back to Cornwood for a third spell, this time as player-coach.

Salman was Cornwood’s overseas player between 2005-2007, scoring nearly 1,800 league runs at an average of around 60.

After breaking into the Test team in 2011, Salman was back at Oak Park again in 2012, scoring 472 runs to help the Corns clinch promotion back to the Premier Division.

When Cornwood first met Salman back in 2005 the then 24 year old was already established at the keeper-batsman in the Faisalabad team. He seldom kept for Cornwood, preferring to develop his leg-spin bowling instead.

He went on to play 149 First Class games, mainly for Faisalabad, and also 107 List A games for a variety of teams.

Pakistan capped Salman in two Tests – both against the West Indies in 2011 – and in seven ODIs the same year. His final First Class game was for the Port Qasim Authority side at the end of 2015.

Since then the 36 year old from Karachi has been running his own cricket academy in Pakistan.

He is due to fly over from Pakistan on Friday in time to play for Cornwood against arch rivals Plympton in Saturday.

Duncan Boase, the director of cricket at Oak Park, said the club wants to use Salman’s coaching expertise.

“Sal has been brought in as a player-coach for the first team and coach all teams, including the youth section,” said Boase.

“He brings an infectious buzz to the place with the kids looking up to him in awe.

“Sal is very modest and does all he can for everybody. He will also take some pressure off Elliot Staddon, organising nets and training etc.

“He will bat top four and strengthen us all round with his leg-spin and enthusiasm for the game.

“We have contingencies in place in case Sal doesn’t make it in time, but he will definitely be here for next week if not Saturday. We can’t wait to see the little maestro.”

Ryan Rickard is unavailable against Plympton so Salman comes in for him.

Three wins on the bounce have lifted Cornwood up the table to third, although they are 28 points distant from second-placed Sandford.

Cornwood are going in the right direction and Boase knows what they need to keep doing.

“We need to keep doing the simple things we have been doing for the last three weeks,” said Boase.

Plympton, being a derby will be up for it.

“They have some very good players who can take a game away from you, so we will need to be at our best.”