It was on this day, way back 1990 when Pakistan’s ‘Sultan of Swing’ Wasim Akram recorded his second hat-trick at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. It was a deadly spell in the final of the Austral-Asia Cup that gave Pakistan a 36-run win over Australia.
When Akram did it the first time in Sharjah a few months before on October 14, 1989 in the Champions Trophy against the West Indies, all fans were shell shocked to see such a destructive spell.
I was fortunate to report both these matches. The only difference between the two was that when Akram produced his second hat-trick, fans were not exactly surprised because by then they knew that Akram could do wonders with the ball.
Hat-tricks in cricket are unforgettable moments and whoever has done it remains as a hero forever. I have been lucky to meet many hat-trick heroes and recall those moments from their spell years later after their cricketing days. They have talked with pride and joy about their feat.
The first man who produced a hat-trick in One Day Internationals was Pakistan pacer Jalal-Ud-Din on September 20, 1982, against Australia at the Niaz Stadium in Pakistan. He was the most unassuming cricketer that I had met and carries the honour of being the first hat-trick man with utmost humility.
In 2005, he was in Sharjah as the Chief Guest for the Nissan Gulf Cup. When I asked him to recall that historic moment, Jalaluddin said: “Due to the tense situation of that match, no one realised that I had bagged a hat-trick until I read it in the next day’s newspaper. Today I feel proud to see my name first on the list whenever anyone bags a hat-trick,” he said.
Since then, whenever I met him, I enjoyed asking him about that moment. In the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s, I was seated next to him in the press box - he was reporting for a Pakistan daily.
In 1989, Akram spoke at length soon after his first hat-trick, and that interview is one among my prized collection in which he thanks Pakistan skipper Imran Khan profusely as the man behind his success.
A year after Akram produced his second hat-trick, Sharjah saw yet another one from Pakistan pacer Aaqib Javed on October 25, 1991, in the finals of the Wills Trophy against India. The enormity of that hat-trick can be gauged from the batsmen who were his three victims: Ravi Shastri, skipper Mohammad Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar. He had trapped them all leg before with both Azharuddin and Tendulkar falling for a duck!
Years later, Javed became the coach of the UAE national team. While recalling the moment, he once said: “If the focus is on line and length and the desire is to win the match for your country, magic spells like these can happen.”