When Saqlain Mushtaq sledged with Sachin Tendulkar only to never sled it again | Cricket News
In one of his first battles with Tendulkar during the Sahara Cup in Canada, Saqlain thought it would be a good idea to sledge the champion hitter. As he advanced, the cunning off-roader glided never to sled the then Indian captain again.
“It was new when I first sledged it. If I remember correctly, it was the 1997 edition. Sachin came up to me silently and said ‘I never misbehaved with you, why are you misbehaving with me?’ ashamed of not knowing what to say, “Saqlain told PTI by phone on Tendulkar’s 47th birthday.
“He said, ‘I rate you a lot as a person and a player.’ I was so embarrassed that I never cheated on him again. I can’t tell you what I said, but I apologized to him after the game.”
“From then on, even when I was tearing myself apart everywhere, I never thought about slipping it,” recalled the 43-year-old man, describing Tendulkar as one of the humblest human beings he ever met.
After the Sahara Cup, which ran from 1996 to 1998, they were both in the middle of their most memorable battle during the 1999 Chennai Test, when Pakistan achieved a 12-race victory despite an “incredible” 136 Tendulkar.
Saqlain brought out the best of Tendulkar both in the innings and in his 10-game wickets made the difference.
Teens were running low in that high-stakes game, but even then Saqlain said he never attempted to engage Tendulkar verbally.
“In that 1999 test, no words were exchanged. We were both determined and focused on winning the game for our countries. We put our hearts and souls in it (on day four).
“I consider myself lucky that my name is linked to Sachin’s cricket career with that match. The only difference that day was that God was on my side.”
“Otherwise, the way he played was amazing. The ball was reversing but he played against Wasim Akram with so much confidence,” said the inventor of ‘Doosra.’
Saqlain was expected to play much more than the 49 Tests and 169 ODI that he finally did.
When asked how he would rate his rivalry with Tendulkar, the Saqlain said: “I would say it was 50-50. I fired him several times, but he also took me to the dry cleaner. Even on day four in Chennai, he scored a hundred in a difficult situation. It was like a swing between us. ”
Many were unable to read Saqlain’s ‘Doosra’ but feel that Tendulkar was probably the best when it came to hand reading.
“The eye is a gift from God. Each hitter sees things differently, some choose faster than others. Sachin’s eye was very sharp.
“Many times, even before taking my step, he knew what he was going to do, be it a Doosra, a top spin or a conventional off-spin, his foot position was perfect. Rahul (Dravid) was also very good, Azhar paaji too. ”
Wishing Tendulkar the best on his birthday, Saqlain fondly recalled the moments he spent with the teacher off the field.
“We have had many fond memories off the field. I went out many times, spent a lot of time at Mushy’s (Mushtaq Ahmed) house in the UK. He is such a decent and humble human being, that is what stands out in his personality.
“He was not among those who would pull someone’s leg. By simply spending time with him, you could learn a lot,” added Saqlain.