The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry is one of the most intense in the world, with fans on both sides eagerly awaiting every match between the two teams. The 1999 Test series between India and Pakistan, which took place during the Kargil war, is considered a classic and produced some of the most memorable moments in cricket history.
Former Pakistani bowler Saqlain Mushtaq recently shared an unknown story from the first Test of that series in Chennai during the Nadir Ali podcast. Saqlain, who emerged as Pakistan’s hero in that match, revealed how he outsmarted Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who had batted brilliantly in the second innings despite suffering from a back injury.
Saqlain said, “In the first innings, I dismissed Sachin in the first or second delivery. Next innings when he came to bat, which was at a very crucial point in the match, Sachin did not play a single shot for the first 10 overs. He observed all the tricks which I threw at him. I tried off-spin, doosra, top-spin, arm-ball, bowled quicker off-breaks, flighted deliveries… he just played me cautiously for 10-12 overs. After that, he started smashing me.”
#OnThisDay in 1999. The first Test between Pakistan and India for nine years ended in Chennai. Shahid Afridi smashed 141, Sachin Tendulkar scored 136 and Saqlain Mushtaq finished with ten wickets as Pakistan won one of the greatest Test matches of all time by 12 runs #Cricket pic.twitter.com/NYVzXtVZyw
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) January 31, 2023
However, Saqlain’s struggles against Sachin Tendulkar did not deter him, and he went to his captain Wasim Akram for advice. “I told him ‘Wasim bhai… I think he is reading me well so please take me off and bring someone else. Akram told me ‘Brother, no matter what, you will bowl from this end. I don’t trust anyone else. If this match turns, it will be because of you’,” Saqlain said.
Perseverance paid off
Saqlain’s perseverance paid off, and he eventually got Tendulkar out with a clever strategy. “For the next 10-12 overs, I did not bowl a single variation to him. I kept him hooked to just one ball which is off-spin and set one field so that he forgets all that he saw and observed in the first 10 overs. I didn’t show him the doosra – either at the striker end or the non-striker end. And when he forgot, I went to Akram and said ‘I think now I have caught hold of him. I will now take a chance against him’. Then I bowled a doosra and he went after him,” Saqlain explained.
Pakistan eventually won that match, but India bounced back in the next Test in Delhi thanks to Anil Kumble’s incredible performance, where he picked up all 10 wickets in an innings to decimate Pakistan.
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