What's common between run machines Samit Gohel and Karun Nair?

Updated: Dec 29, 2016, 09:48 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

Gujarat's 26-year-old opening batsman Samit Gohel rewrote the record books on Tuesday and in doing so joined another youngster Karun Nair. Here are some similarities between the two cricketers...

Samit Goehl has rewritten the record books with his innings of  of 359 not out during his team Gujarat's Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Odisha
Samit Goehl has rewritten the record books with his innings of  of 359 not out during his team Gujarat's Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Odisha. Pic courtesy/Twitter

Who is Samit Gohel? Well, before Tuesday, virtually a limited few in India would have heard his name. But now Gujarat's 26-year-old opening batsman has become a household name and enjoying his moment in the sun after breaking 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 in Jaipur.

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.

This is the second world record set by an Indian cricketer in two weeks. Only last week India's rising star Karun scored 303 not out off 381 balls with the help of 4 sixes and 32 hits to the boundary against England at Chepauk. In doing so, Nair became the first Indian batsman and the third in world to convert his maiden century into a triple hundred. 

By the way, Gohel's innings and Karnataka's Karun Nair 303 not out share a lot of commonalities. Like nair, Gohel converted his maiden double hundred, though his was in first class cricket, into a triple hundred.

Both are young -- while Gohel is 26, Nair is 25. Thus the two are the future of Indian cricket.

Both Gohel and Nair come from middle-class background.

Gohel now has the seventh highest score in first-class history. Those above him on this illustrious list include some cricket legends like Hanif Mohammad, Don Bradman and Brian Lara. His score itself is an improvement on WG Grace’s 344 made in 1876. He is also tied with legendary Vijay Merchant for the fourth highest individual score in Ranji history. It is also the first time in 81 years that an opener scored a triple century and carried his bat through an innings apart from being the highest unbeaten total by an opener in first-class cricket.

Nair during his epic knock also achieved some phenomenal records. He became only the second Indian to score a triple ton after Virender Sehwag. It was the highest individual score by an Indian at number 5 or lower, beating the previous best of 224 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It was the highest individual maiden Test ton score by an Indian beating Vinod Kambli's 224, also against England. The triple century was achieved in only his 3rd Test innings - the least to get to 300+. The previous best was England's Len Hutton, in 9 innings He is only the the 3rd batsman in Test history to convert a maiden ton into a triple century. West Indies' Garry Sobers (365 not out Vs Pakistan in Kingston, 1958) and Bob Simpson (311 Vs England in Old Trafford, 1964) of Australia were the others.

His effort saw Gujarat score 641, which is their highest-ever total in Ranji history. They went past 640 they made against Maharashtra in 1995-96.  

Karun Nair celebrates his century against England at Chepauk. Pic/ AFP
Karun Nair celebrates his century against England at Chepauk. Pic/ AFP

Similarly Nair's effort saw India achieve their highest ever Test total of 759 for 7 against England on the penultimate day of the fifth and final match at Chennai.

While some may question the link between these two unassuming Indian cricketers. It must be noted that the link is just an effort to highlight the rise of 'Young India' and about two cricketers who play the game with passion. The duo have also rewriten the record books and taken the world of cricket by surprise.

While it remains to be seen how the duo do in the future, we can only hope that they go from strength to strength.

Gohel didn't know about world record

"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 723-ball-knock, which had 45 boundaries and a six at a strike rate of almost 50. 

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 the shy boy from Gujarat's dairy hub Anand, 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. 

For the record, Gujarat made it to the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy.



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