Speaking exclusively to PakPassion.net, former Pakistani Off Spinner Saqlain Mushtaq spoke at length about the resumption of cricket ties between India and Pakistan and the retirement from one day cricket of Sachin Tendulkar.
The Resumption of India and Pakistan Cricket
It’s fantastic news that India and Pakistan are on the verge of a limited overs series and I sincerely hope that this is the start of regular cricket between the two teams. Cricket can help to ease relations between the two countries and there’s nothing quite like the Indo-Pak cricketing rivalry. The Ashes is also a huge rivalry but I think India versus Pakistan is a bigger cricketing rivalry.
Benefit of Indo-Pak Matches for Young Cricketers
India and Pakistan have produced many great young cricketers over the years and playing against each other will only help in the development of cricketing talent in both India and Pakistan. The levels of passion, intensity and pride in these matches is second to none and competing against each other in these kind of matches can be a great boost for young cricketers from both countries and definitely help young cricketers from both nations in their development.
A Future Test Series between India and Pakistan
Test cricket is the real deal. Limited overs cricket is entertaining but cannot be compared to Test cricket. Connoisseurs of the game know that Test cricket is the number one format and that is the format that India and Pakistan need to start playing against each other in regularly.
I have nothing against T20s or the fifty over format but Test cricket is the special format of the game and this is the format that I would like to see the Pakistani and Indian cricketers facing each other in on a regular basis soon. Fans from both countries will be happy to see their teams competing in the shorter format in India in the next week or so, but ideally we all want to see Test cricket between India and Pakistan.
Playing Cricket in India
I always enjoyed playing cricket in India. It was always a fantastic experience, the passion of the crowds in India and Pakistan is second to none. Whenever I played in India the crowds were noisy and of course supported the home team, but also at most venues the Indian fans appreciated good cricket from the opposition. I’m sure the current crop of Pakistani cricketers in India at the moment will really enjoy the experience of playing in India. I would urge the Pakistani cricketers to soak up the atmosphere at the grounds in India and to savour the occasions.
Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from ODIs
The world of one day cricket has suffered a huge loss with Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from one day internationals. There will never be another cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar. He’s been at the top of the game for twenty three years which is simply amazing and the way he has conducted himself throughout his career has been exemplary and a lesson to all young cricketers around the world.
Tendulkar has been an icon not just in India but all around the world and I’ve always held him in high regard and have always had the utmost respect for him. But all good things come to end, nothing goes on forever. It’s like weather seasons, summer replaces spring and is subsequently replaced by autumn and then winter arrives and the winter of Sachin’s career has now arrived. He will not be forgotten though when he does call it a day from all formats.
Sachin leaves one day cricket with some great memories for fans all around the world, some brilliant and unforgettable moments that his fans will always cherish. His array of stroke play has been phenomenal, he has had every shot in the book and wherever he has played he has been quite rightly adored.
Sachin’s retirement from one day internationals must have been a well thought out decision involving team mates, friends, family and of course the selectors. I think it’s the right decision and it will benefit Sachin in Test cricket and also the Indian one day cricket team as a whole in one day internationals. Sachin has served his country well and he can bow out from one day cricket with his head held high. He has been Indian cricket over the years and he can look back at his one day career with great pride.
I feel honoured to have played cricket in an era when Sachin Tendulkar has been playing cricket. It’s been an honour to have bowled to Sachin. I’ve dismissed him, been hit for four, hit for six by Sachin, beaten him with deliveries. He’s out thought me at the crease and sometimes I’ve got the better of him and it’s always been an absolute pleasure.
I’ve always got on very well with Sachin and when I was playing for Sussex alongside Mushtaq Ahmed, the touring Indian team was playing a three day match against the County. Most of the Indian squad had dinner at Mushtaq’s house every night during that match and I was present too. We had a few great evenings with the Indian squad in Sussex, all sat on the floor eating and talking about past matches that we had played in and it was an honour to be in the company of Sachin, memories that I still cherish.