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10 December 2023

Pakistan's Saqlain admits hiding wife in hotel room


Former Pakistan spin bowler Saqlain Mushtaq revealed on Wednesday he smuggled his wife into his hotel room and hid her in a cupboard the day before the 1999 World Cup final in London.

"It was a double trouble for all of us because the management had barred us from keeping our wives with us and on the other hand people accused us of going out with girls, so I breached the code by asking my wife to stay with me," Saqlain told AFP.

"My wife Sana was with me in the room when the management decided to have a check on the players whether they were in the room or not, so I had to lock Sana in the cupboard, but I had to do that otherwise I would have been punished."

Saqlain was one of the top off-spinners in his prime and was credited with inventing the "doosra" -- a delivery which spins the opposite way from normal off-spin.

Pakistan lost the 1999 Wold Cup final against Australia by eight wickets at Lord's.

Saqlain said he was forced to keep his wife with him as a lot of people accused the Pakistani players of going out with girls.

"At one point of time my wife, because she was with me in the hotel during the World Cup, saved me from a group of women who was alleging that they saw me with another girl, so keeping wife in the hotel came out to be a blessing," he said.

Saqlain said the current World Cup is open and any of the top six teams can lift the trophy.

"My prayers are always with Pakistan which is a very dangerous team, but any of the top six teams can win the trophy," said Saqlain, 34.

The off-spinner, who took 208 wickets in 49 Tests had notched up a tally of 288 in one-day cricket, is now involved in preaching Islam.