Saqlain Mushtaq is a former Pakistani cricketer who was born on December 29, 1976, in Lahore. He was a right-arm off-break bowler who went on to become one of the greatest spinners in cricket history.
He is known for his ‘doosras’ and has excellent spin control. He was one of the first spinners to invent this form of bowling, in which the batsman is fooled into thinking the ball will spin one way but then spins the opposite way.
Saqlain was not a decent enough batsman, but his bowling skills secured him a spot in the national team for more than nine years.
Mushtaq and his brother Sibtain (who played first-class cricket for Lahore) failed to find growth through academies since they were born to a clerk in Lahore. At the age of 13, Saqlain began playing cricket for the Zareef Memorial Cricket Club Second Eleven.
When he started playing cricket, he had mentioned that he wanted to be an off-spinner. Mushtaq went on to play cricket for the Government M.A.O College in Lahore, where he won the championship three times in a row.
Ireland, Islamabad Cricket Association, Lahore Badshahs, Pakistan International Airlines, Old Whitgiftians CC, Surrey, and Sussex are among the teams that Saqlain has played.
Saqlain Mushtaq made his international debut against Sri Lanka on September 8, 1995. In the first innings, he took two wickets, and two more in the second, as Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs. In the series, he had a total of nine wickets.
Saqlain made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in Gujranwala on September 29, 1995. In Pakistan’s nine-wicket victory, he went wicketless.
Rise to Glory
For the time he played, Saqlain Mushtaq had a dazzling career. He set a world record by becoming the fastest player to cross 100 ODI wickets at the time (which was broken by Australian pacer Mitchell Starc).
His breakthrough came in the next test series against Sri Lanka, where he took 14 wickets in just two matches. Following that, he had a series of excellent performances, including a nine-wicket haul against the West Indies and a five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe.
Mushtaq’s career high point came in a test series against India in 1999. In the first test, he took his first 10-wicket haul, which included a second-innings thriller in which Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed for 136 by Mushtaq. He picked up 10 wickets in the second test as well, but his side was unable to score.
Saqlain’s test career followed a similar course, with 10 wickets in two tests against Australia in 1999 and eight wickets against England in 2000.
He has two hat-tricks to his credit, all against Zimbabwean minnows. He is also the first Pakistani player in World Cup history to complete a hat-trick.
At the age of 17, Saqlain started his domestic career with Pakistan International Airlines. In his first season, he took 52 wickets, earning him a spot in the Pakistan A side. After that, Saqlain went on to Surrey, where he spent eight seasons.
In 2007, he signed a two-year contract with Sussex before returning to Surrey the next year. Surrey released him in 2008, effectively ending his domestic career.
In 194 first-class matches, Saqlain has 833 first-class wickets and 478 List-A wickets in 323 matches.
Due to frequent injuries and the rise of other spinners for the national team, Saqlain Mushtaq retired from international cricket in 2004-05. He last appeared in a test match in 2004 and an ODI match in 2003.
He played his last game for Surrey in domestic cricket in 2008, and his cricketing career came to an end in the same year.