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Flower quick to defend Mushy

England chief has no doubts over coach's suitability

Andy Flower (R) with Mushtaq Ahmed

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England coach Andy Flower has leapt to the defence of Mushtaq Ahmed after the spin-bowling coach saw himself dragged into the ongoing 'spot-fixing' crisis engulfing cricket.

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Speaking at Lord's on Friday, International Cricket Council chief Haroon Lorgat stated that his body would not have employed Mushtaq after the former Pakistan leg-spinner was named in Justice Qayyum's 2000 report and found to have had links with illegal bookmakers

That report concluded that he should be "kept under close watch and not be given any office of responsibility (selection or captaincy) in the team or on the board."

On Friday, Lorgat said of Mushtaq: "The best we can do is just highlight anybody we have got on a list who has been labelled before and I handed this to the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) and cautioned them (about Mushtaq) with a suggestion you need to do due diligence.

"They did their due diligence and they were satisfied with the appointment.

"We suggested they (ECB) had to be vigilant around their own changing rooms.

"We don't at the ICC, as a matter of fact, employ people we believe may have been tainted in the past but they are entitled to do their own due diligence and make their own decision."

But those words prompted an impassioned response from Flower who has worked alongside Mushtaq in the England set-up since 2008.

Brilliant

He insists he retains no doubts about the 40-year-old's suitability or character, stating: "I am very comfortable with Mushtaq. He's been brilliant for us as a team.

"He's been a good coach, a good example to our players and support staff - and I'm looking forward to him working with us again when he joins us in Australia.

"I chatted with Mushy on the phone a couple of days ago.

"He's a cricket coach - that's what he is - and we're very comfortable working with Mushy.

"He's a lovely man, and a good man for our system. I'm quite happy with that."