‘I don’t rate Sehwag’s 309 at Multan, Sachin’s 136 much better: Why Saqlain holds Tendulkar’s Chennai epic in high regard
Saqlain Mushtaq rated Sachin Tendulkar’s fighting knock at the Chepauk over Virender Sehwag’s brutal triple century in Multan, saying Sachin’s 136 came in much tougher conditionsUpdated: Jul 11, 2020 12:48 IST
Former off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq was at the receiving end of two of India’s finest Test innings ever played against Pakistan – Sachin Tendulkar’s 136 in Chennai in 1999 and Virender Sehwag’s 309 in Multan 2004. As contrasting as the two innings may be in nature, both hold tremendous values in terms of individual performances in India-Pakistan Tests.
Saqlain, who bowled to both batsmen in those two innings, rated Tendulkar’s fighting knock at the Chepauk over Sehwag’s brutal innings in Multan, saying Sachin’s 136 came in much tougher conditions and also due to the fact that the atmosphere surrounding the India-Pakistan Test series in 1999 was palpable.
“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 said on the Cricket Baaz talk show on YouTube.
“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.”
Sehwag scored a blistering 309, becoming the first Indian batsman to score a triple century in Tests, in an innings where Saqlain was hammered and taken for 204 runs from 43 overs with one wicket. On the contrary, the former offspinner had picked up a five-wicket-haul in each innings of the Chennai Test. Saqlain said Sehwag had the benefit of certain things such as a flat deck, injuries to players and discord between the board and players.
“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 accidently 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.”