Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Indian legend Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar had rivalries with several great bowlers during his time. However, his face-offs against Pakistani great spinner Saqlain Mushtaq are highly underrated.

Saqlain had upper hand over Sachin a few times. In the 1999 Chennai Test, Saqlain got the better of Sachin with his ‘doosra’. Even in an exhibition match in 2015, Saqlain cleaned up Tendulkar with what he claims was the ‘Teesra’.

The rivalry between Sachin and Saqlain is seldom talked about. Saqlain has recently recalled an instance of needling Tendulkar. As per the former Pakistani bowler, his plan to get inside Sachin’s skin backfired. Moreover, Sachin had his own way of dealing with sledging.

India and Pakistan played as many as 16 ODIs in Toronto between 1996 and 1998. As per Saqlain, the first match between the two nations in Toronto was reduced to 33-overs-a-side contest. In that match, the Men in Blue chased down a target of 171 with eight wickets and 19 balls to spare with the Master Blaster remaining unbeaten on 89 and completely throwing Saqlain off his game.

Saqlain has recently revealed how the same evening after the match, the two players caught up and discussed what had transpired on the ground.

“My needling to Sachin didn’t affect him at all. Rather he became more determined and kept hitting at least one boundary in the next 4-5 overs. I began respecting him. When he finally stepped out and smashed another four, I felt a slap on my face. I then realized that he played a game with me. By then he was well set and things had gotten out of my control,” recalled Saqlain.

“Then we met in the hotel later and I said to him ‘You are a clever person’. He again started smiling. How well did he trap me? Not with the bat, but only by using his smile,” Saqlain added.