Murali's retirement July 9, 2010

Murali the best of his generation - Saqlain Mushtaq

Cricinfo staff

Former Pakistan offspinner Saqlain Mushtaq, widely regarded as the inventor of the doosra, hailed the retiring Muttiah Muralitharan as the "best spinner of his generation".

"I have no doubt in my mind he was the best spinner of his generation," Saqlain told PTI. "A champion bowler no matter what some people say. I am sure many batsmen would have heaved a sigh of relief knowing he is going to retire now."

Saqlain confounded batsmen from the late 90s onwards with the doosra that spins from leg stump to off, the offspinner's equivalent of the googly. He was particularly effective in ODI cricket, where he was one of the rare spinners operating in the slog overs. Over the years, his surprise element waned as he tended to over-use the variation, and he played his last match for Pakistan in 2004. Saqlain was generous in heaping praise on Murali, who is credited with having perfected the mystery ball, now a regular fixture in an offspinner's repertoire.

"You can learn a lot from just watching him bowl and his videos are a must see for young spinners. To be honest I don't think in the next 100 years, cricket is going to see a spinner of his calibre," Saqlain said.

"The best thing about him is that he had no pretensions or airs about him and I am sure even after retirement he will be around to help and guide the youngsters aspiring to be successful slow bowlers."

Saqlain also said there was no room for debate on Murali's bowling action since the ICC had cleared it. "In all fairness I don't think his action is suspect. The fact is that when the ICC cleared his action why should anyone have even raised questions about his action."

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  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2010, 15:20 GMT

    Saqlain Mushtaq was a great spinner.... i dont what pakistan did with him.... he is still 33. and how come he played his last test in 2004... he was da best spinner pakistan had... thats crazy!!!

    Tharaka SRI LANKA

  • Dummy4 on July 11, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    EngineerKhan I agree with u , Pakistan,PCB, has wasted few players undernoted mentioned after making developments 1. Saqlain Mushtaq( could have now 600 wickets in ODI) if he played ODI cricket since 2003 2. Mohammad Yousuf( no respect whatsoever for him, by banning him life time) he is classy player and wasted by PCB 3.Rana Naveed ( newly developed Al rounder and played exceptionally well in ICL) 4.Nasir Jamshed( 19 years old, played all around the grounds , much much better player than Salman But in term of overall AVERAGE and Strike Rate), he is being wasted since last 2 years, and now he is 21. but very good player i saw him batting with maturity. 5. Danish Kaneria ( Leg Spinner) being wasted but utilitized by county cricket England

  • Talha on July 10, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    I always feel that biggest player which Pakistan has ruined is Saqlain Mushtaq. Having played his last test match in 2004 (at the age of 27) means Pakistan wasted his atleast 8 years. The biggest invention in Cricket post Reverse swing is the Doosra. He used to bowl so regularly at the death in the prescence of Wasims, Waqars, Aqib Javaid and other masters of reverse swing yorkers.

    Its very nice to see the spirit he shown by having so much big-heart in the praise of Murali. Even his action, which eveyone talks about, he dismissed the allegations about it by simply saying that: "The fact is that when the ICC cleared his action why should anyone have even raised questions about his action."

    Above words may seem normal, but they really show how much big heart Saqlain has. He himself used to bowl the Doosra with the cleanest of the actions (in the days when there was only 5 degree permitted for a spinner), while Murali bends it at 14 degrees. So really great of Saqlain!!

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    Yea.... Totally agree.......... sad that he didn't play regularly

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2010, 17:45 GMT

    Saqlain Mushtaq himself is very good bowler, and inventer of dosra. Murli was without dosra until 1999. If u look at murali record from 1992 to 1998, his record was not as impressive as today. He took atleast 500 test wickets from 1999 to 2010 after using DOSRA effectively and as many as 300 ODI wickets from 1999 to 2010. Murali's dosra has been very effective because he's big wrist spinner and also big turner of the ball, his doosra is almost leg spinner in off spinner's action which is difficult to pick besides his delivery sometimes skid of the pitch in which the batsmen have been less time to face those mystery balls.

    On the other hand, Saqlain and harbajan singh are not big turner of the ball, but they make variations such as dosra,sliders, top spins, off spin(less turn),with speed variations and length variations.

  • Shaz on July 9, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    I still feel had Saqlain played for a few more years, he would definitely been in the league of being regarded among the Warnes and Muralis.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    one champion spinner is all praise for another champion spinner ... that's the Spirit of Cricket ! :)

  • Kasun on July 9, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    saqlain was a great bowler too.And was very competitive in the field.So sad he couldn't continue in the highest level and get the respect he deserved.I am a Sri Lankan.But I have to say I always enjoyed watching him bowl.As far as I think he is the closest to Murali when it comes to offspinners are concern.Although I have to admit I didn't have the privilege of seeing JIM LAKER.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2010, 10:03 GMT


    my friend i havent seen prassanna. but harbhajan singh is no where close to saqlain mushtaq. if pakistan hasnt wasted saqlain mushtaq after ONE bad season who knows what saqlain could have achieved.murali started off poorly compared to saqlain in tests. both players didnt really start achieving consistent perfomances in tests till 5-6 years into their career. murali kept playing, but after the peak saqlain achieved between 1999 and 2001 he had 3 bad matches and was dropped FOREVER. when it comes to ODIS , SAQLAIN MUSHTAQ WAS THE GREATEST SPINNER EVER IN ODIS.

  • Milan on July 9, 2010, 8:12 GMT

    Saqlain - The best spinner Pakistan produced after Kadir is totally wasted in Pakistan. Looking at his average and strike rate if he had played regularly for Pak one can imagine what his record would have been?

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