January 01, 1984, Sylhet, Bangladesh
Right hand bat
Alok Kapali has a cult following in Bangladesh, but not so much for his Test hat-trick, though. There are people who would travel miles to see his wristwork which produces strokeplay steeped in élan. But for all his elegance as a batsman, he has underperformed mightily with an international batting average below 20 over the better part of a decade.
The promise of a luminous career began in 2002 when, in his first year at the highest level, Kapali carved an unbeaten 89 in an ODI against West Indies, followed by two more half-centuries in the Tests in the next two weeks. It had the Brian Lara-esque pulls, wristy flicks and the daring drives on the off-side.
An indifferent 2003 World Cup was hardly a warning sign, but his laziness in footwork should have been worked at. Instead, he struck 71 against South Africa and followed it up with two half-centuries and a Test hat-trick (the first by a Bangladeshi) against Pakistan. But in the next four years, Kapali only had a 55 against Kenya to show for as his career dwindled. Part of the problem was missing too many first-class matches for Sylhet, who also suffered due to his absence. Maybe Kapali isn't to blame for the scheduling of international matches, but a more practical approach could have helped his cricket.
He struck a century against India in an Asia Cup match in June 2008, but within months would take a hiatus from Bangladesh cricket by signing up with the rebel Indian Cricket League. There he scored the first century of the tournament, a 60-ball 100 in Hyderabad that won him a scooter. But the novelty wore off as the players from Dhaka Gladiators lost fans for choosing club over country. They were banned by the BCB before he quit the ICL and was available for selection.
His return happened in April 2011 but lost his place within eight months after failing against Pakistan at home.
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