Sunday, October 17, 2010

My fourth hat-trick

Those with no knowledge of the game of cricket and its terminologies may not fully understand the content of this particular post as I brag about my special "hat-tricks" on the cricket field.


A hat-trick is more slippery than wet soap.  Any bowler will vouch for it.  Many times bowlers take two consecutive wickets but the third one somehow eludes and only rarely, rarer than a blue-moon, they get stuck!  Often, the ball either beats the batsman, raps on the pads but not good enough for an 'lbw', or some snick falls short of a fielder, or it misses the stumps by a whisker... ...

In sport, to "perform a hat-trick" means to achieve a feat thrice in a row.  In football or hockey, when a player scores three goals it is termed as scoring a 'hat-trick', while in cricket, it is a 'hat-trick' when a bowler dismisses three batsmen with three consecutive deliveries, even if they are spread over two separate overs.

The term hat-trick was first used in cricket to describe H.H.Stephenson's feat in 1858 and was used in print for the first time in 1878. That only 37 hat-tricks in Test Cricket since 1877 goes to show the extreme rarity of its occurrence.  

It is said that in olden days, a hat or cap was presented to those who performed such a feat and hence it got to be known as 'hat-trick'. And a bowler has to be passing through 'his day' to achieve this feat, I must add!

All said and done, bowlers, on extremely rare occasions, can go very unlucky too. S.M.J.Woods of Brighton College in the 1880’s bowled an over in which he hit the stumps 8 times but got only 3 wickets.  The first 3 deliveries were no-balls, the 4th bowled a man, 5th touched the leg stump and went for byes, 6th an 7th bowled men and the 8th hit the stumps but failed to remove the bails and went for 4 more byes! What do you say about that?  How he would have felt!

Read only the 'cricket' part in this link for some interesting happenings.

Let me brag about some of my own hat-tricks which really got stuck.  Who does not cherish a hat-trick? In my first 20 years of league cricket, it was as elusive as a rock pigeon, but suddenly one each came in the next three years - another sort of hat-trick! 1999, 2000 and 2001!  It was during a 9-over spell (5wickets for 37 runs) against one Agraharam C Club in 1999, playing for The Mysore Gymkhana.  My team mates were happy but they were looking at the way I jumped in joy (a rare sight for them!).  I was joyous that my first hat-trick had finally come about after many 'two in two balls'! 

In the year 2000, our employer team was playing against a team from Hyderabad at the Gomtinagar Stadium in Lucknow.  The opponent team was a so so, but the feeling at that time was like feather!  Such was the rhythm which brought me my second hat-trick.  I always remember this feat with great fondness because of the fine rhythm that particular day and the ball landed where I intended to!  It gave bowling figures which are pleasant to read: 4 overs, 7 wickets for 6 runs!  The seven wickets (including the hat-trick) were claimed in the space of ten deliveries, spread over 3 overs!  I still preserve that particular ball.  We won the match by scoring their target of very paltry 32 without losing our wicket.

The third hat-trick of 2001 is more interesting.  It was the final between our HQ team (CSIR) and the host team, a good one, having some good players.  It was at Vasanth Nagar Ground in Nagpur. Again that 'feathery feeling' was on song.  It was a devastating spell of 4.4 overs in which six of them were sent back at a cost of 19 runs. Now the hat-trick: The first one was bowled leg stump.  The second, middle stump, neck and crop.  We came to know later that the hat-trick victim, one Shukla, was sent in with instructions to cover all the stumps to save the hat-trick. When I bowled, he actually covered. But my third successive in-swinger managed to curl in from in front if his pads and kissed his off stump!!  I really enjoyed that one! Our team won the match in the end.

I read about some rare incident that happened in the 19th century.  Some fast bowler in England is known to have broken all three stumps when he took an 'all-bowled hat-trick'. 

The umpire here is seen repairing the stumps after the hat-trick as a fan runs in!

Raj, had his camera and through the above twos pictures, we became friends!

My fourth came about recently and I enjoyed that one too, at that time, but not in the end because we lost the match. :(   The first victim gave an easy catch to short mid off, off the penultimate ball of the over. The last ball, an inswinger removed the new batsman.  The first ball of my next over removed another batsman with an inswinger that I loved.  It curled in nicely like I wanted it to and pitched where I wanted.   This tall batsman with a high backlift lost his leg stump before he could bring his bat down. It wasn't express.  I had taken 4-54 in the end.  On the second day of the match, another seven-wicket haul came by but we (Mysore City Gymkhana) could not win the match. 

First time in 32 years, the picture appears for a bowling feat!

There have been many instances of two in two, but the third has missed by a whisker quite a few times.  The harder we try for the third, the easier it eludes and the more 'normal' we bowl, the chances get brighter!!  The bowler has to be lucky too!

Against a strong team (Swastic Union) in the Basavanagudi Cup at Central College grounds in 1994, after a poor first spell (for The Mysore Gymkhana), my bowling turned the match from the jaws of defeat.  They were very close to the winning target with 5 wickets in hand and plenty of deliveries to spare.  I was bowling the penultimate over and they needed just 10 runs.  Just two runs came from it in two balls, but the other four  had dismissed four batsmen - all bowled - but without a hat-trick being performed.  Four wickets in six balls!  We won the match by six runs when their last wicket fell in the next over and I was given a prize for 'man of the match'.

Prajavani - reports on our match
Deccan Herald does not give the importance for it.

My first one was in tennis-ball cricket in 1970-1.  It was a friendly match against some group of boys playing us classmates.  I had sent 5 boys back in 6 balls including a hat trick.  Numerous matches later (also with the tennis ball) could not see me getting one of those rare hat-tricks.  

It had to wait till 1999 for serious league cricket!

Sir Jack Hobbs (Surrey and England) was a Master in batsmanship in the early part of the 20th century.  He scored 197 first class centuries in his career spanning 3 decades and he played until he was 60+.  Nearly a hundred centuries were scored after he was 40.  On facebook, even as nearly a century of years is past, there is a Sir Jack Hobbs Appreciation Society

You know, in Test Matches, such hats were used by batsmen for protection (as a helmet).  
It is a "hat-thick". This is just FYI.



Is that cute little boy you?

Dinakar KR said...

Yes, Raji Muthukrishnan, that's me under the hat. I think my late uncle had bought it from his Madras trip. early 60s.

Naveen said...

Dear captain ,

u r a genius.
u have born to live for cricket.

keep rocking..

all the best

Prajwal said...

Dinu - These are wonderful facts.

I would like to inform/remind all that TMG winning the 'state league' (I am not sure about 'city league')for 10+ years on the trot was due to many such devasting 'spells' by Dinu.

No wonder we call you 'Mysore Mcgrath'


shashank sehwag said...

MYSORE McGrath, I didn't know that.... It's a great honor to have known you & even more great to have played along side you.

Many a times it so happens that you hung around a true genius without realizing the geniuses geniusness, I am glad I didn't miss that...������������