An unknown entity among Bangladeshi cricket lovers, 22-year-old Aliss Al Islam bagged a brilliant hat-trick under pressure in his debut Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match, which initially seemed likely to end as a bitter and hollow experience.
Things started badly when he dropped Mohammad Mithun twice in the eighth over of the Rangpur Riders innings. He revived himself by bagging the wicket of the dangerous Rilee Rossouw before his hat-trick in the 18th over. Asked to bowl the last over, he then successfully defended 14 runs to repay the faith shown by skipper Shakib Al Hasan.
Only last year, he was playing first-division cricket and had been playing second division cricket for a few years prior to that. He started this BPL as a net bowler for Dhaka Dynamites and impressed coach Khaled Mahmud sufficiently to enter the first eleven. Informed just a day prior to the match, he was ready for the challenge.
“Sir told me to be mentally and physically ready.I was ready but playing in this big a stadium and in such a big tournament, I was naturally nervous, but recovered later,” the youngster, who became the first cricketer to bag a hattrick on BPL debut and only the second player to achieve the feat in the tournament, remarked.
“After the dropped catches, the teammates and coach supported me a lot and encouraged me. That helped,” said Aliss after his first match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
There was, however, a dark cloud hovering. According to BPL governing council technical director Jalal Yunus, he was in a list of bowlers with suspect actions but had been cleared. Even so, Rangpur Riders brought his action into focus following the match in an official press release: “It seems his arm bends more than the tolerance limit of 15 degree, especially when he is bowling his “Dusra” [sic] deliveries.”
All that aside -- from dropped catches to turning the match on its head – yesterday Aliss was really in 'wonderland'.