One of those cricketers who revolutionised the game by introducing a very special delivery is celebrating his birthday today. Pakistan’s spin wizard Saqlain Mushtaq is credited as the inventor of the ‘doosra’ which has now become a highly dangerous part of the modern bowler’s arsenal.
Born on 29th December 1976 in Lahore, Saqlain began his first-class career at the age of 17 and made an instant impact. Needless to say, he was fast-tracked into the Pakistan team.
Since debuting in the 1995 home series against Sri Lanka, Saqlain never looked back. Having relied mostly on the off-break during the initial phase, his armoury soon started to expand. Upon spending innumerable hours in the nets trying to perfect the art, he unveiled a delivery which spun away from the right-hander.
When he eventually bid adieu from the international arena in 2004, Saqlain had 288 ODI wickets to his name from 169 games at an astounding average of 21.78. In fact, his average is the second best among all bowlers with 200 or more wickets after South Africa‘s Allan Donald. In Tests, he surprisingly played only 49 matches and managed to pick up 208 wickets at 29.83.
The nemesis of his final Test match, Virender Sehwag ushered in Saqlain’s 40th birthday with a hilarious tweet. The attacking Indian opener reminded the Pakistani off-spinner of that particular game in his birthday wishes.
Sehwag attached a video of him bringing up his 300 in Multan with a six off Saqlain's delivery. That was the first ever instance of an Indian scoring a triple century in Tests. Pakistan would go on to lose the match to their arch-rivals by an innings and the series by a 1-2 margin.
Here is Virender Sehwag kick starting the proceedings in his own inimitable style
Unlike his magical deliveries, Saqlain Mushtaq’s reply was a bit under-stated
@virendersehwag thanks A lot paaji . Stay blessed :)— Saqlain Mushtaq (@Saqlain_Mushtaq) December 29, 2016
Mohammad Kaif paid tribute to the original ‘doosra man’
Alec Stewart did not take too long to get in on the act
Happy Birthday Magic Man @Saqlain_Mushtaq— Alec Stewart (@StewieCricket) December 29, 2016
Alex Tudor took a trip down memory lane with his former Surrey team-mate
In response to Sehwag’s funny tweet on Saqlain, Tudor tried to push the flamboyant opener on the back-foot with a bouncer
Indian leg-spinner Rahul Sharma sent out his wishes as well
@Saqlain_Mushtaq wish u a very happy bday Saqi bhai may allah bless u— Rahul Sharma (@ImRahulSharma3) December 29, 2016