Gujarat’s 26-year-old opening batsman Samit Gohel today broke a 117-year-old record in first-class cricket by notching up the highest score while carrying his bat through the innings of 359 not out during his team’s Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Odisha.
While Hanif Mohammed’s epic 499 remains the highest score by an opener in first-class cricket, no one has scored more than Gohel while remaining not out in his team’s score of 641 here.
Gohel in fact eclipsed the previous best of 357 by Surrey’s Bobby Abel against Somerset way back in 1899 at the Kensington Oval ground.
Gohel’s 723-ball-knock had 45 boundaries and a six but the shy boy from Gujarat’s dairy hub Anand was very unassuming. While the match was dead as a contest on final day but nothing can take away from his effort.
“I did not know it was a World Record. The idea was to bat as long as possible. Coach sir (Vijay Patel) and Parthiv bhai (skipper Parthiv Patel) ne bola thaa lamba khelo. I just tried to do that. I am happy that I could bat this long.
Obviously this is the greatest day of my life. I am actually still not able to express myself,” the right-handed batsman told PTI after his knock.
His father Bhanubhai Patel is a real estate property dealer and till now Gohel is happy to call himself a “professional cricketer”.
“My father has a small-time property business. Not very big. Till date, I have only concentrated on cricket. But yes, I am searching for a government job. I have applied for sports quota job in Income Tax department as well as Dena Bank. Let’s see what happens,” said Gohel, who lives with his parents and wife.
“Actually, I have not yet been able to call my family and inform them about the world record,” said Gohel, who is the first triple centurion opener in last 81 years in first-class cricket to carry his bat through.
One of his teammates Priyank Panchal has been the top scorer in this season’s Ranji Trophy and Gohel said Panchal has been an inspiration for him.
“Priyank’s performance and Parthiv bhai’s show against England were an inspiration for all of us. Also I love to bat long. Even in the nets, I love to bat on and on. This lengthy duration at the nets also helped me in the middle. My childhood coaches Devang Desai and Hiren Patel always told me that temperament is key in first-class cricket,” he said.
“The innings may seem to be a tad slow but the reason is Odisha in the end had put all fielders at the boundary circle. Getting boundaries became a difficult job,” Gohel explained.
His Ranji Trophy coach Vijay Patel is also proud of Gohel’s achievement.
“He is a defensive batsman as the stats will suggest. But he is now slowly increasing his repertoire of shots. Also one has to take into account that facing 723 balls (120.3 overs) speaks about his power of concentration. Also Gujarat today posted their highest first-class score of 641.”
For the record, Gujarat made it to the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy.