As a nation waits for Sachin Tendulkar to play his 200th Test at home, opponents West Indies are silently exploiting a Pakistani 'link' to play spoilsport. Former spin great Saqlain Mushtaq is 'coaching' Caribbean spinners to ensnare the Little Master as the milestone approaches.
Saqlain, famous for bowling the 'doosra' (the off-spinning delivery that turns away from the batsman), was known for troubling Tendulkar and the Caribbeans now want their bowlers to outfox the legendary Indian batsman. (Also read: Blog - Shenanigans aside, Sachin Tendulkar's 200th is a mouth-watering prospect)
According to a report in a national daily, Saqlain is part of a high performance camp in Barbados where he is sharing tips on how to breach the defenses of Tendulkar in the upcoming series in India in November.
On previous tours in India, West Indies have suffered from an inexperienced line-up. This time the Caribbeans are banking on Saqlain's tips to look the Indians in the eye.
"Touring India is always a challenge for any team and now that Sachin will be playing his 200th Test, the pressure will be more on the bowlers. At the moment, I'm assessing our (West Indian) spinners keeping all these factors in mind," Saqlain was quoted as saying.
A veteran of 49 Tests and 169 ODIs for Pakistan, Saqlain retired from international cricket in 2004 and has since been helping bowlers around the world. While he has often said he cherishes his rivalry with Sachin and that the two had good relations off the field, Saqlain continues to work on strategies to keep Tendulkar on a tight leash.
"Read his body language and have patience. You need to judge him well and while bowling to Sachin, you will have to allow him to go for shots and then you need to counter back. That's all I will be sharing with these spinners," Saqlain said when asked about tips that he has been sharing with West Indies' bowlers like Shane Shillingford, Devendra Bishoo and Ashley Nash.
Apart from three one-dayers, India and the West Indies will play two Tests between October 31 and November 27. Saqlain is unlikely to tour India as he will be Bangladesh's spin doctor by then.