Birthday special: Damien Fleming – An outstanding pacer, unfulfilled talent

If you grew up in the 1990s, then Damien Fleming, for you will be someone who you know as a former Australian cricketer and current broadcaster. But back in the day, Fleming was one of the quickest bowlers in Australia. His career was injury prone, which limited his span in international cricket, but he made an impact.

The injuries during his career was not a coincidence considering his side-on bowling action which put more strain on his body. But, when he made his Test debut in 1994, he was destined to make a mark for Australia. He became only the third player in history to pick up a hattrick on his Test debut, a feat which he achieved against Pakistan. However, in his next few years, he managed to play only a handful of Tests.

Damien Fleming’s best time with the red ball was when he played in the Australian summer when he took 31 wickets in six matches against Pakistan and India. He ended with 75 wickets at 25.89 from his 20 Tests. Fleming’s white-ball career was even more impressive. He was an important member of two consecutive World Cup squads. In 1996, Australia ended as the runners-up and he was important in taking them to the final. In the semi-final, he bowled the last over against West Indies when he defended five runs.

Even in the 1999 semi-final against South Africa, he once again bowled the crucial last over when Allan Donald’s run out took Australia into the final. He ended his ODI career with 134 wickets from 88 matches. He retired from all forms of cricket in 2003. Fleming went on to take up many gigs as a commentator or a cricket expert. He now turns 52 on April 24.