Razzak bowls into history | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 04, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 04, 2010

Micromax ODI CupBangladesh Vs Zimbabwe

Razzak bowls into history


Bangladesh's left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak (L) just saw the umpire raise the finger to complete his first international hattrick as his victim Chris Mpofu looks befuddled in the second ODI at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday. PHOTO: Anisur Rahman

Probably the expectation of fending off the hattrick ball got to Christopher Mpofu. The tall strapping paceman from the small town of Plumtree in southern Zimbabwe looked ill at ease wearing pads and helmet as he traipsed to the middle. The noise at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium was a deafening cacophony as skipper Shakib Al Hasan moved Junaed Siddiqui to first slip and Rokibul Hasan under the helmet at silly mid-off. The No 11 took strike, unusually wearing bowling boots rather than the half-spiked options for the batsmen.
Prosper Utseya and Ray Price with Keegan Meth in between had just fallen in the space of eight deliveries late in the Zimbabwe innings. Shakib Al Hasan took one and Abdur Razzak grabbed two in consecutive deliveries -- Utseya skied one to Naeem Islam at long-off, a typical slog over dismissal, and off the first delivery of the 47th over, Price was found in front of the stumps for a first-ball duck.
Razzak, unlike Mpofu, looked confident without going over the top and took an extra second to think about the delivery. Most bowlers get into this situation to only mess it up with an overenthusiastic attempted yorker that usually gets defended or left well alone. Razzak trotted in, fired it through and though not the best yorker, it was full enough to beat Mpofu's best efforts to defend the ball. In his own words, Razzak revealed his plan for the hattrick ball saying, "It was almost what I wanted to do. I tried to hit the stumps but I was happy with the leg-before nonetheless."
The fateful ball hit low on the front pad, the batsman's leg-stump in full view of the umpire and within a moment that saw the raised finger, Razzak joined Pakistan's Saqlain Mushtaq as only the second spinner to take a hattrick in one-day international cricket.
"I am very, very happy. I think I should be extremely happy," he said, several hours after the achievement. He also became the second Bangladeshi to take an ODI hattrick (after Shahadat Hossain) and the third overall (taking Alok Kapali's Test hattrick into account).
He was probably aware of the Bangladeshi side of the feat but only learned of the real significance of his effort from the media. "I knew about all this after the match," admitted Razzak about joining Saqlain's exclusive club.
"I heard it from you guys later on about what I did. When I was out in the middle, I didn't know anything about these records."
Though he joked at the post-match press meet that he would dedicate his feat to the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium (51 wickets from 29 games), it is Mohammad Salahuddin to whom Razzak owes a lot.
"I am grateful to Salahuddin bhai. He has always backed me with small technical stuff but more importantly, he believed in me. He knows me for a long time, since I was a teenager actually so I am indebted to him," said Razzak.
For the record, Razzak also joined Bruce Reid, Wasim Akram and Chaminda Vaas, as the fourth left-arm bowler to take an ODI hattrick. If not a genius like the Pakistani, the best Razzak can do is replicate the prolific Lankan and to be safe, avoid the beanpole Aussie's fate.
The hattrick usually is the pinnacle of a bowler's career while for a few it could become a starting point, especially ahead of an important phase in their career. Definitely the latter is true for Razzak who had a terrible first half of 2010 taking only eleven wickets from 14 matches. Against New Zealand last month, he was slowly coming back to form with five wickets and now against Zimbabwe, he has already taken nine in two games.
The left-arm spinner had to resurrect his career after receiving a ban for suspect bowling action in 2008, marring most of that season and the next. Since coming back from the hiatus, he took some time to get his rhythm going.
"I have always said that it would take some time to regain what I had before, after making changes to those things. It's not easy to do everything like before in a short time," he said.

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