Sharif's hat-trick gives Gazi the upper hand
Mohammad Sharif, the Gazi Group Cricketers' medium pacer, recorded a hat-trick in a Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League fixture against Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club in Mirpur on Wednesday. He became the third bowler after Rubel Hossain and Tapash Baisya to achieve the feat since the tournament was granted List A status in 2013.
Sharif's hat-trick lit up a leaden day and changed the course of Dhanmondi's innings on a day when the match was forced into the reserve day. In the 34th over, Mahmudullah holed out to Saeed Anwar jnr at deep midwicket. Off the next ball, Zabid Hossain was bowled. Sharif had is third wicket when he trapped Nazmus Sadat lbw. Muktar Ali's dismissal off the next ball made it four wickets in four balls in the over, with Sharif effecting the run out. Dhanmondi were restricted to 168 for 9, with Sharif finishing with 4 for 43 in eight overs.
"I am the highest wicket-taker in first-class cricket among the pace bowlers. The culture in our country is to call a player "old" when they reach the age of 30. In other countries, a 30-year old is said to be experienced. I don't think I am over with my career. As long as I can keep my fitness, I still dream of playing for Bangladesh," said Sharif, who played the last of his 10 Tests in 2007.
"Two years ago I was the third highest wicket-taker and had also scored some runs. I was called up and told that I will be playing for Bangladesh A, but I was dropped in the last minute. I wasn't told the reason. I want this culture to go away from our cricket. Guys like Misbah-ul-Haq and Ashish Nehra are still playing so why can't Bangladeshi players of the same age?"
Since his last international outing, Sharif has taken 210 first-class wickets and hasn't finished a single season without at least 15 wickets. "I don't think I was at fault (for being dropped early in his international career). I was sent quite late to Australia after my first injury," he said. "I would have returned to cricket three or fourth months earlier if I was sent there on time.
"I couldn't play in the 2003 World Cup. I became an example because Mashrafe was sent to Australia soon after his injury that year. I will keep performing, and my wish is to continue playing. The rest is up to the selectors. I can't forcefully make it up there but performance speaks itself."
Sharif, who made his Test debut during Bangladesh's first-ever Test tour, in Zimbabwe has 14 wickets in 10 Tests, and nine wickets in 10 ODIs.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84