Tendulkar's retirement a big loss to world cricket: Saqlain
Former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq said Sachin Tendulkar's retirement from Test cricket is a "big loss" to world cricket.
"Sachin's retirement is a big loss to world cricket. He is not only an amazing player but a great human being as well. I have a lot of respect for him," Saqlain said.
Tendulkar will bid adieu to the game after playing his 200th Test against the West Indies in Mumbai next month.
Saqlain, who would always be remembered for his 10-wicket match haul that was instrumental in his team handing a 12-run defeat to India in the 1999 Chennai Test match, said it was an "honour" playing against Tendulkar and he enjoyed bowling to the legendary batsman.
"I am lucky to have played against him. It's been an honour to have bowled to Sachin...sometimes I got the better of him," he said.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Reuters
'India is a very tough team at home'
Saqlain, famous for inventing the doosra, had been training the West Indies slow bowlers on the art of bowling the delivery at a special camp in Barbados ahead of their tour to India.
Saqlain was part of a high performance camp in Barbados, where he shared tips on how to breach the defence of Indian batsmen. However, Saqlain, a veteran of 49 Tests and 169 ODIs, will not be travelling with the Caribbean team to India as he will take up the job of spin coach with Bangladesh.
"India is a very tough team at home and this series will be an emotional one for them. To be able to win in India, you must be mentally and physically fit. You need to know your game very well. Playing against Sachin, our bowlers must have the confidence to beat a player of his stature," he said.
"India, at this time, is the best team in the world. They have a winning mentality. It's difficult to beat them at home," he added.
Image: Indian team
Photographs: Pal Pillai/Getty Images
'Ind-Pak rivalry is bigger than the Ashes'
On spin bowling scenario, Saqlain admitted the retirements of Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan has left a huge vacuum.
"But bowlers like Saeed Ajmal, R Ashwin,Graeme Swann and Shane Shilingford are performing well."
Saqlain said the on-field rivalry between India and Pakistan is bigger than Ashes and that they should play each other on regular basis.
"India and Pakistan should definitely play each other on regular basis as this rivalry is bigger than the Ashes. I feel not having Pakistani players in the IPL is a loss for cricket. I don't know why they are not allowed to be a part of it. IPL should support the sport by giving all the players a chance to play," he said.
Image: Shahid Afridi and Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Graham Crouch/Getty Images