Legendary Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq recalled his classic bout with Sachin Tendulkar in Chennai in 1999 and revealed how he was scared to bowl the doosra to the latter due to his intimidating nature. Eventually, Mushtaq got the better of Sachin and helped Pakistan script a 12-run victory.
The Chennai Test between India and Pakistan in 1999 is considered to be one of the best matches between the two sides in the history of their rivalry and while it did give birth to the famous ‘Knowledgeable Chennai Crowd’ term, it also featured a bunch of classic sub-plots. One such sub-plot was between Saqlain Mushtaq and Sachin Tendulkar on the final day of the match, which saw each man hold key to taking their team to victories.
While Sachin, who scored 136, looked like he was going to be an outright winner in the battle, Mushtaq had the last laugh as he dismissed the Master Blaster and helped his side script a famous 12-run victory over their arch-rivals.
Reflecting on the game and his spell, the off-spinner recalled how he was scared to even bowl the doosra to Sachin due to the Little Master’s intimidating presence with the bat.
“I conceded a few boundaries, but eventually, got him out. Sachin had sharp eyes and he could read everything. It was intimidating. You wouldn’t believe, but I was scared to bowl him the doosra -- fearing that he might hit boundaries,” Mushtaq was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
“God was on my side that day. I did not think that I will get the Master blaster (Sachin) out. But when god has plans, you can’t beat that. Till my last breath, it will give me enough pride that I could dismiss him that day. Mera naam uske naam ke saath juda rahega....”
The 43-year-old, who represented Pakistan in 49 Tests and 169 ODIs, revealed it was Wasim Akram who instilled self-belief in him and helped him fight his demons.
“He (Wasim Akram) told me that he had full faith in me and he believed that I could do something magical for the team. Those words helped and I suddenly felt stronger."
Mushtaq, who hung up his boots in 2004 with his last appearance coming against India in Multan, further recollected fond memories of touring India and stated how he thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality provided by the people.
“Touring India was always fun. People were hospitable. You could go out shopping or visit restaurants for Hyderabadi biryani and people won’t accept money. Such was the gesture. But on the field, we knew we could not afford to lose.”