Saqlain recalls taking Sachin’s wicket

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Former ace spinner Saqlain Mushtaq recalled the 1999 Pakistan’s Test against India in Chennai, when he bagged the much needed wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, thus resulting in Green-shirts win by 12 runs in the nail-biter.

A see-saw battle between the two teams saw India reeling at 81-5, while chasing 271. But there stood Sachin Tendulkar, who battled back pain to play a glorious knock of 136, and brought the team closer to the target.

With 17 runs away from victory, things looked sorted for India. But there was a twist in the tale when Tendulkar was dismissed by Saqlain, and then the tail was swept away. Pakistan won by 12 runs and Saqlain finished with ten wickets in that match.

It has been 21 years since and Saqlain still remembers that afternoon. “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,” Saqlain told Sportstar in an Instagram live.

“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,” he said.

India, despite losing five early wickets remained in the hunt, with Tendulkar in full flow. “There was a time when Sachin was sparing no one, and was playing beautifully. So, I walked up to Wasim bhai (then Pakistan captain, Wasim Akram) and told him that it was getting tough for the bowlers to tackle him. Psychologically, I was feeling a bit down,” Saqlain reminisced.

The conversation with Akram helped Saqlain. “He 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. I conceded a few boundaries, but eventually, got him out,” the 43-year-old said.