Saqlain Mushtaq was one of the few bowlers who changed the complexion of cricket with his artistic and astute off spin bowling. He was the inventor of the most talked about variation in bowling that is the ‘Doosra’ which bamboozled the batsmen for many year. His successors also took a leaf out of his book and added that variation to their armory such as fellow countryman Saeed Ajmal and so on.
Saqlain who turned 39 today made both his test and ODI debut came against Sri Lanka, at home, in September 1995 and he immediately made an impact of sorts by picking up 4 wickets in his first ever test match.
Saqi took 208 wickets in 49 test matches while picking up 288 wickets in 169 ODI outings. His track record in the 50 over format was splendid and bowling in the death overs was his forte. A economy rate of 4.29 and average of 21.78 depicts a glimpse of his fantastic skill set. He would not let the batsman dominate him even in the later part of his innings which is why he bowled the last few overs even in the presence of fast bowling greats such as Wasim, Waqar and Shoaib Akhtar.
Saqlain would ball a variety of deliveries during his bowling spells and never allowed the batsman to figure out what he was planning to do. This helped him bowl successfully and pick up regular wickets whenever he featured in the Pakistan’s side.
The talented bowler was also the quickest to 100 ODI wickets as he achieved that milestone in just 53 matches in the colored clothing.
The off spinner also had two ODI hat-tricks to his credit and interestingly both came against Zimbabwe in 1996 and 1999 respectively.
Apart from his bowling credentials Saqlain also came in handy with his batting skills. He scored a hundred and 2 fifties in his test career and a decent average of 14.48 for a lower order batsman.
Although Saqlain had a patchy career which ended in a rather subdued manner but he still manged to inscribe his name as one of the best the game has seen.