Had to hide my wife in the cupboard of my hotel room: Pakistan’s Saqlain Mushtaq narrates hilarious story from 1999 World Cup
The Pakistan Cricket Board had suddenly asked the players to send their family back in the middle of the tournament during 1999 World Cup. Saqlain, who refers to himself as someone who doesn’t like to change things much, had decided not to follow that particular rule.Updated: Jul 01, 2020 20:04 IST
Apart from enticing the batsmen with his loopy off-spinners and foxing them with deceptive ‘doosras’, former Pakistan cricketer Saqlain Mushtaq is also an impressive story-teller. He knows how to keep the audience hooked to his words, exactly the way he used to keep the crowd and sometimes even the batsman guessing about his next move. In a recent interview, Saqlain narrated how he hid his wife in the cupboard of his hotel room during the 1999 World Cup in England.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had suddenly asked the players to send their family back in the middle of the tournament during 1999 World Cup. Saqlain, who refers to himself as someone who doesn’t like to change things much, had decided not to follow that particular rule.
“True! This is absolutely true,” said Saqlain replying to a fan’s question about the incident during an interview with Raunak Kapoor in the show ‘Beyond The Field’.
“Actually I got married in December 1998. My wife used to stay in London so in 1999 World Cup I stayed with my wife and there was a set pattern – work hard and train like a true professional with the team during day time and in the evenings I used to spend time with my wife. But suddenly they said that our families will be sent back home. So I told our head coach Richard Pybus, that everything is going so smooth then why this sudden change. I am someone who likes to keep the things as they are and don’t feel the need to try out new things for no reason. I decided that I’m not gonna follow this,” said Saqlain, who had taken a hat-trick against Zimbabwe in that World Cup.
The crafty off-spinner, who is widely known as the inventor of ‘doosra’, narrated how he hid his wife in the cupboard when Pakistan team’s manager and officials came to check.
“The manager, coaches used to come and check our rooms. Some players also used to come for a chat. So one day when I heard a knock on the door, I told my wife to go and hide inside the cupboard. The manager came, had a look and went back. Another official came and went back. And all this while my wife was inside the cupboard. Then Azhar (Mahmood) and Yusuf came to have a chat with me about the new rules. They suspected that my wife was in the room. After they insisted I gave in. So I asked my wife to finally come out of the closet.
“I managed to get away with it as after we lost the final to Australia, the atmosphere was very heavy, everyone was down. I went back to my hotel, checked out and told my wife to go to my apartment which was also in London. I used to play county cricket so they had they had given me an apartment there,” added Saqlain.
Saqlain Mushtaq has represented Pakistan in 49 Tests and 169 ODIs picking up 208 and 288 wickets respectively.