For 26 long years Damien Fleming has worn the honour of being the only Australian cricketer to take a hat trick on Test debut – and he’s had enough.
The former swing bowler has written in jest of becoming tired of gathering solo with the “Australians with Hat-tricks on Test Debut Club” and is hoping Cameron Green can make it a party of two.
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Fleming posted a letter to his social media platforms on the eve of today’s First Test between Australia and India that appears originally drafted for Moises Henriques when he first wore the baggy green in 2013 but has now been edited for the West Australian 21-year-old.
Expectations couldn’t be much higher on Green, who has been labelled Australia’s best young cricket talent since Ricky Ponting and a solution to a decade-long search for a quality all-rounder.
But Fleming has upped the stakes, calling on Green to go one better than Nathan Bracken, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson – who took two wickets in two balls on their debuts – and join the “AWHOTDC”.
Fleming, now a popular commentator, detailed the events that led up to him joining England’s Maurice Allom and New Zealand’s Peter Petherick as the only cricketers in the world to achieve the feat on a memorable day at Rawalpindi in 1994.
“I think on that Pakistan tour I was sort of picked as a swing bowler Terry Alderman type, probably not there for the test matches, more about the tour games, there was a full one-day series,” he told SEN a couple of years ago.
“And then Glenn McGrath tore his quad – how good was that? So Pigeon (McGrath) tears his quad and lucky enough we had a centre wicket and we bowled on a green pitch and I had a Duke ball.”
Australia batted first and posted a huge score of 9/521 declared before knocking Pakistan over for 260 and enforcing the follow-on.
But the hosts dug in during their second innings to secure a draw and the stakes weren’t exactly high when Fleming was thrown the ball with Pakistan at 4/460-odd.
“When I got the ball eventually, the game was over. There wasn’t a lot of interest and the Aamer Malik wicket was just a half volley on leg stump,” he said.
“And then comes out Inzamam-ul-Haq and he’s a beautiful player, but he wasn’t a great starter, and I tried a yorker first ball and hit him dead in front.
Cameron Green has been issued a challenge. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)Source: Getty ImagesDamien Fleming celebrates his hat-trick after taking the wicket of Saleem Malik. (photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
“We appealed, but we’re not thinking about getting an LBW in Pakistan. That’s the other thing that fell into place. The umpire put his finger up. He was the neutral umpire.
“So I’m on a hat-trick, we take drinks, there’s no real interest in this game besides this hat-trick, I don’t want to bowl to Saleem Malik who’s on 237, but the last ball of the over he gets a single and he’s on strike.
“It was funny, I’ve got the ball in my hands, Mark Taylor says ‘what do you want, let’s get a few slips in’ – they’re 5/478.
“I just bowled the ball and unbelievably, outside edge, Ian Healy took the catch and everyone’s celebrating and all that sort of stuff.”
Over to you, Mr Green.