Saqlain Mushtaq has stated that he has a lot of respect for Anil Kumble as a person and narrated an incident when the Indian helped him find a good ophthalmologist in London to treat his eye. Mushtaq further added that he wishes to play at least one game with Kumble in the same team.
It was no secret that Indian and Pakistani cricketers used to be very good friends off the field due to their cultural similarities and how the cricketers from both sides used to go for shopping when shopkeepers wouldn't even charge a single penny from them. Saqlain Mushtaq gave a throwback to the simpler times in world cricket and narrated an incident involving him and Anil Kumble, who the former referred to as "elder brother" during an Instagram Live with Sportstar.
“We were in England and I told Anil Bhai that there are not many good opticians back home, so I am struggling and if he could suggest some ophthalmologists. So, he suggested that I go to Dr Bharat Rugani. Even he said that he and [Sourav] Ganguly consult him often. He gave me the [contact] number of the doctor and I visited him in Harley Street (in London),” Saqlain told Sportstar.
“The doctor checked my eyes and gave me lenses. I had cataract, the vision power was cylindrical and also the eyes were weak. I had consulted many doctors in Pakistan and none could treat it. So, it was Anil Bhai who would help me get in touch with the doctor. It was because of him that I could recover. He is a gem of a person. If I [stood] in the boundary while fielding, my anticipation power was zero. That’s why I would be slow and would react late. Now, I can see everything clearly,” Saqlain said.
The India-Pakistan rivalry had taken many turns in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with Mushtaq and Kumble being the two very forces of it. But that didn't stop the duo to share experiences but Mushtaq wishes the duo could play in the same team at least once.
“I have played together with Muttiah Muralitharan in MCL league matches, and it was super fun. I hope someday we can perhaps play in some veterans’ match where Anil bhai and I will be in the same team.
“Our culture has taught us to respect elders and Anil Bhai is just like my elder brother. Whenever we meet, we have good chats. Even during playing days, you could walk up to him and seek suggestions in the middle of a series. He would help you with the necessary tips and would never misguide it. I have a lot of respect for him,” the 43-year-old said.