Variations key to Al-Amin's feat
Al-Amin Hossain's clever use of pace and length helped him become the first bowler in Twenty20s to pick up five wickets in one over.
After bowling three tidy overs for UCB-BCB XI in their Victory Day T20 Cup match, he was tasked to bowl the final over, with Abahani on 143 for 5 in 19 overs. Al-Amin started with a slower ball that Mehedi Maruf hit straight to deep point, where Arafat Sunny took the catch. After a dot ball, he had big-hitting Nazmul Hossain Milon caught by Imrul Kayes at deep midwicket, the batsman having struck a six and two fours in his 11-ball 21.
Suhrawadi Shuvo timed a length ball to Muktar Ali at mid-off before Naeem Islam jnr carted one straight to Marshall Ayub at long-on to give Al-Amin the hat-trick. The icing on the cake came when Nabil Samad top-edged the last ball, a short of length delivery, to third man to make it five wickets in one over.
The five batsmen, three of whom are considered good by Bangladesh's domestic standards, went after him but couldn't time the ball because the bowling remained unpredictable.
"I wanted to make sure the batsmen didn't know what was coming," Al-Amin said. "I bowled different deliveries and they kept hitting it to fielders. Even when I tried the short ball, they didn't find the gaps. I think luck played a big part but I was happy that the things I have worked at in the nets have helped me."
"I have worked hard with Shane Jurgensen [the Bangladesh coach], who has taught me a few new things. It is certainly working for me. I feel a lot more comfortable bowling in Twenty20s, which otherwise is a big challenge compared to other formats of the game."
A pace bowler in Bangladesh is not only up against the hot weather but also the slowness of the pitches. He is also a victim of generalised attitude of decision-makers - captains, coaches and officials - which favour spin bowlers.
Bangladesh coach Shane Jurgensen recognised this issue and is in the process of addressing one problem after another. Al-Amin, Jurgensen believed, was a shining example of how attitude can make a difference.
"He has a fantastic attitude towards the requirements needed by an international bowler off the field," Jurgensen said. "In T20s, he has all the attributes, including a unique action that gives the batter no room, particularly if the ball is swinging and [there is] subtle natural variation and changes of pace. And to finish off he has a very good yorker, and most importantly the confidence to bowl it."
Jurgensen pointed to a recent Bangladesh A tour of the UK, which gave Al-Amin confidence. It led to him performing better in domestic cricket, and a Test and Twenty20 international debut in the last three months.
"He has certainly brought his confidence from the UK in the A tour. It had an immediate impact with the national side in his opportunities so far. He also brings his own brand of aggression and self-belief, which is very much needed [and is] an extremely important make-up for all young fast bowlers."
The Bangladesh management is desperately looking for players with T20 ability. So far, Al-Amin has been one of few players who have shown improvement in their skills, attitude and confidence. His gangly build may not look impressive, but he could be a contender to play the World Twenty20 in March.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here