When Saqlain hid his wife in cupboard

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Karachi, Feb 16 (PTI) Former Pakistan off-spinnerSaqlain Mushtaq has revealed that he had locked up his wife ina cupboard the night before the final against Australia in the1999 World Cup in England to avoid disciplinary action.

Narrating the incident, Saqlain recalled that he had tohide his wife Sana in the closet as the team management hadinstructed all players to send back their wives and childrenafter the team qualified for the super sixes stage of theWorld Cup.

"I had just got married to Sana who is a British citizenand she was with me in the initial part of the tournament. Butin the super sixes stage the management told us we needed tojust focus on the cricket.

"Since I wanted to be close to her I gave her a list ofthe hotels where the team was to stay and she used to check inbefore our arrival at every hotel," Saqlain recalled.

He said the night before the final while he was chattingwith his wife in his room, team manager Dr Zafar Altaf andassociate manager Masood Chisty knocked at the door to checkif all the players were adhering to the curfew timings.

"Since I did not want to face any disciplinary action Itold my wife to hide in the cupboard and locked the door fromoutside. Unfortunately her wait to come out become a long one.

"After the manager left, team coach Richard Pybus came tomy room for a chat and after he left Muhammad Yousuf and AzharMehmood walked in. I felt sorry for my wife and was forced toask her to come out of the cupboard leaving the playerssurprised," Saqlain, who took 208 Test and 288 one-day wicketsbetween 1995-2004 before a knee injury cut short hisinternational career, said.

Talking about the final which Pakistan lost by ninewickets to Australia, the off-spinner admitted the decision tobat first after winning the toss in wet conditions was a wrongone.

"Playing as a youngster in the 1999 World Cup I hadnothing to do with the decisions made or strategies followedby the seniors or team management at that time, but I believethat we should not have batted first after winning the toss atLord''s where the ball is known to swig during the firstinnings," he said.

Saqlain, whose brilliant international career ended inthe Multan Test against India in April 2004, is settled inEngland and is also part time bowling consultant to the NewZealand team.

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