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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gujarat's Samit Gohel makes history - highest unbeaten score while carrying bat through !

We have seen some big innings ~ and only recently Karun Nair made Chepauk memorable by scoring a 303* against England in the 5th Test – Dec 2016. I remember buying that Sportstar that captioned ‘Hick, Hick, Hick, Hick’ – in 1988 - Graeme Hick, Worcestershire's 21-year-old (then)  prodigy, finished on 405 not out against Somerset at Taunton. That was the  highest championship score since Archie MacLaren's 424 for Lancashire in 1895, also at Taunton.

Records are meant to be broken and Lara, who had a 400 in Test went on to score an unbeaten 501 for Warwickshire against Durham  in 1994.   Prior to that the record, held by Hanif Mohammad for 35 years, always appeared as unattainable as Gary Sobers' Test record had.

Not many of us would have been following the 3rd QF of Ranji played at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur and the feat of Gujarat winning by the 1st innings lead and entering the Semis.  In the first essay, they lost the openers SB Gohel and PK Panchal before 10 was on board ! – and do you know them ?  Jusprit Bumrah’s 5/41 ensured their lead – then came the 2nd innings essay of Gohel.

Samit Gohel  reportedly had been portrayed as  a ‘strokeless wonder’ in Gujarat cricket circles. He had a strike rate of 36.01 in 27 First-Class matches before the ongoing Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Odisha.   “He used to defend even half-volleys during the early part of his innings. He could play all the shots but hardly used his full repertoire. He had a kind of mental block. I’m happy that he has managed to get over it,” Gujarat coach Vijay Patel told The Indian Express on a day when Samit scored his maiden double hundred in First-Class cricket, hitting 33 fours and a six, at a strike rate of 47.02.

At stumps on Day Four, he was batting on 261, all but securing Gujarat’s passage to the semifinal – for the first time since the 1950s, according to the team coach. Lot more was to happen as he finished unbeaten on 357 – becoming the highest scorer by an opener who carried his bat in first-class history. Bobby Abel achieved this for Surrey against Somerset in 1899. Gujarat's Samit Gohel carried his bat during the 359 not out against Odisha to set a new record in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final in Jaipur. WG Grace (318* in 1876) and Bill Ashdown (305* in 1935) are the only others triple-centurions to carry their bat. The highest by an Indian who carried his bat prior to Tuesday was Dheeraj Jadhav, who made an unbeaten 260 for India A against Kenya in 2004.

BB Nimbalkar's 443 not out in 1948-49, Sanjay Manjrekar's 377 in 1990-91 and MV Sridhar's 366 in 1993-94 top the list. Gohel equalled Vijay Merchant's score, made in 1943-44.  He faced 723 balls and spent 964 minutes at the crease.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Dec 2016.


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