Former India fast bowler Chetan Sharma believes that the effects of Mohammed Shami's hat-trick against Afghanistan go beyond the team's campaign at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019.
Sharma, whose feat Shami emulated when he snared the hat-trick, said that the fast bowler's feat would acquaint the current generation of cricket fans with himself.
Shami, defending 15 runs in the final over of the game on Saturday, 22 June, grabbed the wickets of Mohammad Nabi, Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman off successive balls to seal a famous win for India. In the process, he became the second Indian bowler, and ninth overall, to bag a hat-trick at the World Cup. Sharma, who was the first bowler ever to achieve this feat at the flagship event, against New Zealand in 1987, was taken back to his own moment of glory watching Shami.
"It is always a great feeling when your own countryman achieves something you did so many years ago," Sharma told The Times of India. "When Shami got his third wicket, I was immediately transported to Nagpur's VCA Ground 32 years ago.
"The current generation may not know what I achieved three decades ago, but now they will know, thanks to Shami. The young generation will now know that the first World Cup hat-trick was taken by an Indian.
"I had the world at my feet back then. The next day, when I boarded the flight with the team for the semi-final, all the passengers stood up and applauded me as I made my way in. It was a memorable moment, I still get goose bumps thinking about it. To top that, the front page of Times of India too had my photo in it and it just made my day."
Sharma, who had Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield as his victims, pointed out to certain other similarities between the two events. "We both are right-arm fast bowlers and both got the leg-stump uprooted to get to our hat-tricks," he said, before adding, "and yes, we both sport beards too."
Reflecting on his own accomplishment, Sharma, who is more widely known as the bowler who was hit for a last-ball six by Javed Miandad in the final of the Austral-Asia Cup in Sharjah in 1986, said that the hat-trick helped him erase the scars of the heart-breaking defeat. "People began to see me as a bowler who could perform on the big stage," he said.