Fresh from becoming the first male cricketer to take a hat trick on their T20 International debut, Nathan Ellis doesn’t have to reach back very far to recall a time when as a struggling up-and-comer he barely had enough money to pay rent and fill up the fuel tank.
Ellis’s feat in Dhaka on Friday night has become somewhat of a shining light on Australia’s otherwise dismal tour of Bangladesh, with Australia currently down 3-1 with the final match of the five match series to be played tonight.
It was hardly the fairytale beginning, with him conceding eight in his first over.
When Australian captain Matthew Wade brought him back on it was more carnage, with Bangladeshi batsman Atif Hossain doing most of the damage as Ellis went for eleven runs in his second over.
In his third over — the final of the Bangladesh innings — with captain Mohammad Mahmudullah on 52, Ellis fired in a full delivery which went past the bat, pushing back off stump.
Next delivery, Ellis had left-hander Mustifizur caught in the outfield after a big swing.
With the final ball of the innings, with Bangladesh at 8 for 127, Ellis bowled to Shoriful who pulled a catch to the fieldsman near the boundary.
With his 3 for 34, Ellis became the first to achieve a hat trick — three wickets in successive deliveries — in the T20 International competition’s history.
Damien Fleming is the only other Australian to have taken a hat trick on debut, against Pakistan in a Test match in 1994.
Speaking after the match to Cricket Australia, Ellis described his joy at the feat.
Less than four months ago, Ellis was turning out for local side Lindisfarne in the Tasmanian Club cricket competition.
Originally from New South Wales, Ellis has joked that “I like to say I am 6-feet tall, but I reckon I am 5’11” — having been told on numerous occasions throughout his junior career his height was a barrier.
The fast-bowler missed out on selection in every single New South Wales underaged sides he trialed for.
In 2017, Ellis took the plunge and moved to Tasmania with no guarantees of a contract or even a job.
“The first two years were pretty tough to get enough money to pay rent and put a tank of fuel in the car,” he told Cricket Australia in 2019.
“It helped me grow up really fast – it’s been a blessing in disguise in a way, helping to mature and grow up.”
Since then Ellis has carved his way into both Tasmania’s and the Hobart Hurricanes’ starting sides and has featured 50 times in professional fixtures.