New Delhi, July 1: Former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq has revealed that he had to hide his wife in a cupboard at the team hotel after Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) asked the players to send their wives back home half-way through the 1999 Cricket World Cup.
Apparently, the board took the decision in the middle of the tournament which surprised many, including Mushtaq. In an interview with Raunak Kapoor in the show 'Beyond The Field', Mushtaq recalled how he was stunned by the diktat and how he dealt with the situation.
"Actually I got married in December 1998. My wife used to stay in London so in 1999 World Cup I stayed with my wife and there was a set pattern - work hard and train like a true professional with the team during day time and in the evenings I used to spend time with my wife. But suddenly they said that our families will be sent back home. So I told our head coach Richard Pybus, that everything is going so smooth then why this sudden change. I am someone who likes to keep the things as they are and don't feel the need to try out new things for no reason. I decided that I'm not gonna follow this," Saqlain said.
Recalling how team management used to visit every player's room to check whether the players are complying to the orders or not, Saqlain reveale it was during one of those routine checks when he had to ask his wife to hide in the cupboard.
"The manager, coaches used to come and check our rooms. Some players also used to come for a chat. So one day when I heard a knock on the door, I told my wife to go and hide inside the cupboard. The manager came, had a look and went back. Another official came and went back. And all this while my wife was inside the cupboard. Then Azhar (Mahmood) and Yusuf came to have a chat with me about the new rules. They suspected that my wife was in the room. After they insisted I gave in. So I asked my wife to finally come out of the closet.
"I managed to get away with it as after we lost the final to Australia, the atmosphere was very heavy, everyone was down. I went back to my hotel, checked out and told my wife to go to my apartment which was also in London. I used to play county cricket so they had given me an apartment there," added Saqlain.
Pakistan made it to the final of the 1999 World Cup but were outclassed by Australia in a one-sided contest.