Hat-trick and out, the tale of Jalal-ud-din
Pakistan’s coach Waqar Younis stopped and smiled, and even raised his hand in greeting, when someone asked him a question at the press interaction after a magical night. It was a stout balding and bearded man, Jalal-ud-din — the man inked in history as the first to take a hat-trick in ODI cricket — who asked that question.
We shall come to his joy at the hat-trick against Australia but his version of how his career ended is more interesting. It’s a pure Pakistan cricket moment. A pure Imran Khan moment.
Jalal-ud-din is at a party with cricketers from Pakistan and India. It’s a series in Pakistan and there was this party where cricketers from both countries were having fun. Jalal-ud-din says sheepishly that Imran had wanted them to leave early but that he had stayed behind for more fun. And that was it. A miffed Imran had made up his mind. Or so Jalal-ud-din claims. “Imran Khan was a firm man. It’s difficult to change his mind once it was made up. I did have a talk with him later and tried to patch up but he had made up his mind, I guess. People also misguided him I think. Politics of a different kind! We have settled the matter, though, and now meet now and then. He is a busy man
His international record is decent, if not spectacular and perhaps that also played a big part in Imran’s decision. Who knows. He played six Tests and eight ODIs but for a day, Jalal-ud-din felt like Imran Khan himself. For a day, he got to be a world beater. It was against visiting Australian team.
And he has to thank Imran for it. Jalal-ud-din wasn’t even supposed to play but Imran pulled out on the evening before the game. “It was very hot in September in Karachi where we were at a camp. Pakistan had just returned from England tour and Imran decided that he won’t play. Mana kar diya tha.” In a tour game against the Aussies, or “side game” as he calls it in a throwback to that era, Jalal-ud-din had grabbed a five-for.
Within the stumps
Jalal-ud-din was in Karachi and he took the flight to Hyderabad on the morning of the game and went straight to the ground. Zaheer Abbas was the captain. He didn’t take any wickets in his first spell from the pavilion end, he says. “But from the far end, when I came back, things started to change.” He first removed Allan Border and soon, his moment under the sun arrived. That over when he would feel how a champion bowler feels. The first to go was Rod Marsh, bowled. The second was Bruce Yardley, “that allrounder”.
No one plans a hat-trick of course but bowlers plan the hat-trick ball. What to bowl, where to pitch and what field to set. “We had a discussion and I decided that I would bowl it within the stumps and see what happens. I was getting some reverse swing that day.” And so he hurled it across. Geoff Lawson came forward and “he was just trying to defend” but the ball sneaked through a tiny gap to bowl him.
“It was a clean hat-trick. No lbws,” he says with a laugh. The reference, no doubt, was towards any sniggering suggestion that a local umpire could have helped him. Pakistan umpiring, much like most of the umpiring then, wasn’t known for its impartiality.
He was happy with the hat-trick but hadn’t realised that it was a world record. That it hadn’t ever happened before. Only when he saw the newspapers the next day did he realise. More joy.
The story has a lovely ending too. Next day when the team was going by bus back to Karachi, where they were slated to play next, Jalal-ud-din asked the manager and the former player Intiqab Alam about what he should do. He wasn’t in the original team and wasn’t staying at the hotel. Alam told him that he can go home.
Jalal-ud-din slapped his thigh (he replicates the gesture!) and says he asked for the bus to be stopped. He got down, hailed a rickshaw (“Auto as you in India call it”) and went home. “It can only happen in Pakistan. You take a hat-trick and get off the team bus and go home in auto”.
It was just his second ODI and it didn’t strike him that he can pocket that ball. “It wasn’t a done thing those days, at least I didn’t know.” Twenty years afterward, the Pakistan Cricket Board felicitated him in a function. Fast forward to a decade and Geoff Lawson, his third scalp, was in Pakistan as the national coach. Meanwhile, Jalal-ud-din had retired from his job in Customs department as an appraiser, in the valuation of goods, and was now a coach. He meets Lawson and reminds him about the hat-trick.
“He said he remembers it and I told him, ‘bhoolna nahi, Yaad rakhna!” He will always be the first man to take an ODI hat-trick, a part of trivia and history. No one can take that from Jalal-ud-din.
Source:: Indian Express