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'Just wanted them to play dot balls' - Taijul

Taijul Islam is mobbed by team-mates after his hat-trick AFP

Bangladesh doesn't know much about Taijul Islam except that he has hit the record books twice in the last six weeks. Given that he is a person of few words and a low decibel, the wait to know Taijul will continue.

After his 4 for 11 against Zimbabwe in the fifth ODI, which included a hat-trick, he was asked if he also thinks of himself as a longer-version bowler. Taijul said he doesn't. When asked if he knew he was the first bowler in ODI history to take a hat-trick on debut, he said yes. When quizzed about the competition among the spinners in the Bangladesh team, he said: "Competition is the name of the game. I always try to give my best."

Then there was the big question. What went through his mind as he prepared to bowl the second ball of the 29th over to Tendai Chatara?

"I didn't think of the hat-trick at the beginning," Taijul said. "I just wanted them to play dot balls. It happened by Allah's grace. Mushfiq bhai kept telling me to bowl at the stumps. That's what I focused on."

Taijul hails from Narail, 196km northwest of Dhaka, and broke through the domestic ranks with a bagful of wickets in the 2013-14 season. He made it to the Test team in West Indies where he fought well with the ball, until he blew Zimbabwe away with a second-innings haul of 8 for 39 in the Mirpur Test. He finished the Test series with 17 wickets and was rested for the first four ODIs.

Called up for the fifth game, he delivered with a tight first spell of 5-0-11-0, when Zimbabwe were going great guns. Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda hardly attacked him though, and when he was brought back by captain Mashrafe Mortaza to bowl at the tail, he took it up gleefully and picked up a Man-of-the-Match winning performance.

The hat-trick came against three tail-enders who were clueless about which way his simple, tossed-up left-arm spin was going to turn. He beat Tinashe Panyangara with a ball that drifted in through his bat and pad. John Nyumbu played back to a flatter, quicker ball. What Chatara was trying to do was unclear to many, and Taijul's reaction when the ball hit the stumps said as much.

He was thumping his chest as the fielders rushed towards him. He got a special hug from Abul Hasan. When Zimbabwe's innings ended after 30 overs, he was asked to lead the Bangladesh team off the field. He looked sheepish, then someone put his cap on properly for the cameras and, at one point, he got hold of one of the match balls, too.

Mashrafe Mortaza later said that Taijul's performance had epitomised Bangladesh's professional effort in the ODI series. He said that the hat-trick was unexpected but the left-arm spinner did his job.

"Even if you play a gully cricket match, you can't expect a perfect result," Mashrafe said. "The boys performed very professionally. Taijul came for one match, the hat-trick might have been a matter of luck but he bowled well.

"He bowled in one spot. He did what the team needed him to do. Every boy worked hard that's why it was possible."