God was on my side: Saqlain Mushtaq recollects famous Sachin Tendulkar scalp

Former off-spinner opened on Pakistan’s famous Test win over India in Chennai

God was on my side: Saqlain Mushtaq recollects famous Sachin Tendulkar scalp PHOTO COURTESY: ICC

Former Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq has opened up about his national side’s famous Test win over India, in Chennai during 1999.   

Pakistan won the trilling Test by 12 runs with Mushtaq bagging 10 wickets in the match, which included the prized scalp of Indian batting great, Sachin Tendulkar. It must be noted that Tendulkar had scored 136 runs, before Mushtaq got his wicket, and was leading India to a memorable victory in a topsy-turvy clash.   

“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 was quoted as saying by Sportstar. “Till my last breath, it will give me enough pride that I could dismiss him that day.”

India, despite losing five quick wickets, remained in the hunt with Tendulkar leading the charge.  

“There was a time when Sachin was sparing no one, and was playing beautifully. So, I walked up to Wasim bhai [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,” he said.

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The conversation with Akram helped Saqlain get back into his groove, which tilted the match towards Pakistan.

“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,” he said.

“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. That was his power. The pitch was slow, so it was tough. But then, with god’s grace, I could send him packing,” the 43-year-old added.