ISLAMABAD: Former off-spinner and pioneer of Doosra Saqlain Mushtaq turned 39 on Tuesday. Born on December 29,1976 in Lahore, Saqlain played 49 Test matches and 169 One Day Internationals (ODIs) for Pakistan, between 1995 and 2004.
He took 208 Test and 288 ODIs wickets.He also scored Test Match century, against New Zealand, in March 2001.Saqlain was the quickest bowler in history of ODI to reach 100 wickets. Saqlain is best known for pioneering the “doosra”, a leg break delivery bowled with an off break action.
Saqlain started his first-class career in 1994-95 at the age of 17. In his first season, he took 52 wickets, and was selected to play for Pakistan A in a one-day tournament at Dhaka. In September 1995, he got international recognition, taking seven wickets for the PCB Patron’s Eleven against the visiting Sri Lankans.
Saqlain’s international career got off to a splendid start – he was the fastest bowler to 100 one-day wickets, and his phenomenal control meant that he regularly bowled at the death.
But his finest moment arguably came in a Test match, at Chennai in 1998-99, when his ten-for allowed Pakistan to sneak nerve-tingling 12-run win against India.
He was selected as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year for 2000. A statistical analysis conducted by Wisden in 2003 revealed Saqlain as the all-time greatest ODI spinner, and sixth greatest of all ODI bowlers.He was the fastest to reach the milestones of 100, 150, 200 and 250 wickets in ODIs.
He was the first of only two spinners to have taken a hat-trick in an ODI (the other being Abdur Razzak of Bangla Desh ), and the second of only four bowlers to have taken two ODI hat tricks (Wasim Akram, Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga being the others),the second of his hat-tricks which was only the second hat-trick in a World Cup match.