Saqlain Mushtaq, former Pakistan off-spinner, featured in a plethora of iconic Indo-Pak encounters during his career, and while he had his moments to savor, he too was at the receiving end of two of the most memorable knocks played by Indian batsmen against Pakistan- Sachin Tendulkar’s defiant but eventually heartbreaking 136 in Chennai  and Virender Sehwag’s blistering 309 at Mutan, five years later.
According to the veteran off-spinner, he rates Sachin Tendulkar’s 136 in Chennai over Sehwag’s record-breaking triple-ton as he thinks the former in much tougher conditions and also at a time when the tension around Indo-Pak relations was palpable.
Battling with back injury, Sachin scored a breathtaking 136 on the final day at Chepauk, taking India inches closer to what would have been a memorable victory. Saqlain, who claimed five-wicket-hauls in both innings of that Test, broke Sachin and Indian dreams after his dismissed the Master, with the home side still needing 16 runs to win.
“I rate the 130 odd runs that Sachin Tendulkar scored in the 2nd innings in the Chennai Test match ahead of the triple century scored by Virender Sehwag. Because we had gone with full preparation that time. It was a fight, there was a battle,” Saqlain Mushtaq said on the Cricket Baaz talk show on YouTube.
‘Some good deeds of his parents or his own good deeds worked for him’- Saqlain Mushtaq on Virender Sehwag scoring a triple-hundred in Multan
Five years later, Saqlain Mushtaq and his fellow Pakistan bowlers was at the receiving end of a whirlwind assault at the hands of Virender Sehwag.
Sehwag became the first Indian to score a triple-hundred but Saqlain Mushtaq, who went for more than 200 runs for a solitary wicket, does not rates that innings much as, according to him, when Pakistan cricket was going through a rough patch, both on and off the field, adding that there was no preparation on their side and that him and Akhtar were injured.
“Here (Multan 2004), there was no fight or battle. And it was the 1st innings of the Test match, not the 2nd innings. It was the 1st innings, first day pitch, no preparation. Some good deeds of his parents or his own good deeds worked for him.” Saqlain Mustaq reckoned.
“I feel it was a tailor-made situation for him. Nature was kind on him. I am not saying that he is not a good player, he is a great player, he is a very good player. Not because I was injured and Shoaib Akhtar was also injured, wicket was flat, conditions were tough for the bowlers, the whole bowling unit had collapsed. There were issues in the Board, Inzamam was accidentally made the captain, someone else was the captain,” Saqlain pointed out.
“Lot of things were changing, the mind was not set, focus was not there, the preparations were not good. When you have the Ashes, they prepare for that for one year. We were having a series against India and we had no planning, no preparation. Sehwag is a very destructive attacking player but I won’t rate that triple hundred. I will say that nature has given that to him on a platter. He has played lot of good knocks. You enjoy when you have prepared well and the bowling unit is working fine and conditions are tough for the batsmen.” Saqlain Mushtaq added.
Riding on Sehwag’s 309 and Sachin Tendulkar’s unbeaten 194, India went on to win the Test match and eventually the three-match series 2-1.