Saqlain Mushtaq Biography
Saqlain Mushtaq is a former cricketer from Pakistan, born in Lahore on 29 December 1976. He was a right arm off-break bowler and is one of the best spinners cricket has ever seen.
He has a mean spin control and is renowned for his ‘doosras’. In fact, he was one of the first spinners to have discovered this method of bowling where the batsman is tricked into feeling that the ball will spin one way, but spins the other way.
Saqlain was not good enough with the bat, but his bowling abilities gave him a place in the national side for over nine years.
Being born to a clerk in Lahore, Mushtaq and his brother Sibtain (who played first-class cricket for Lahore) had a hard time seeking development through academies. Saqlain started playing cricket at the Zareef Memorial Cricket Club Second Eleven at an age of just 13.
He had declared that he wanted to be an off-spinner ever since he began playing the sport. Mushtaq went on to play for the Government M.A.O College, Lahore and won the cricket championship for three successive years.
Saqlain has represented the following teams - Ireland, Islamabad Cricket Association, Lahore Badshahs, Pakistan International Airlines, Old Whitgiftians CC, Surrey, and Sussex.
Saqlain Mushtaq made his international debut on 8 September 1995 in a test against Sri Lanka. He picked up two wickets in the first innings and two more in the follow-up where Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs. He had a total of nine wickets in the series.
On 29 September 1995, Saqlain made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at Gujranwala. He ended up wicketless in a nine wicket win for Pakistan.
Rise to Glory
Saqlain Mushtaq’s career was a glittering one for the time he played. At his time, he broke the world record to become the quickest to reach 100 ODI wickets (which was broken by Australian pacer Mitchell Starc).
His big break came in the next test series against Sri Lanka where he picked up a remarkable 14 wickets in just two tests. A string of top performances followed, including a nine-wicket haul against the West Indies and a five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe.
The highlight of Mushtaq’s career came in 1999, in a test series against India. He picked up his first 10-wicket haul in the first test which included a second innings thriller, where Sachin Tendulkar fell for 136 against Mushtaq. In the second test, he once again picked up 10 wickets, but could not help his team to a win.
Saqlain’s test career continued on the same path as he picked up 10 wickets in 2 tests against Australia in 1999, and 8 wickets against England in 2000.
He has two hat-tricks to his name, both coming against minnows Zimbabwe. He is also the first Pakistani player to claim a hat-trick in a World Cup.
Saqlain’s domestic career began at Pakistan International Airlines at the age of 17. He picked up 52 wickets in the first season which effected a selection for the Pakistan A team. Saqlain then moved on to Surrey, where he played eight consecutive seasons.
In 2007, he signed for Sussex in a two-year deal and then returned to Surrey in the same year. He was released by Surrey in 2008, which effectively ended his domestic career.
Saqlain has 833 first-class wickets from 194 matches, and 478 List-A wickets in 323 matches.
Saqlain Mushtaq retired from international cricket around 2004-05 due to constant injuries and the emergence of other spinners for the national team. He played his last test in 2004 and his last ODI in 2003.
In domestic cricket, he played his last game for Surrey in 2008 and ended his cricketing career in the same year.