By Simon Sweetman
Records, they say, are made to be broken. In his first six first-class innings, Baheer Shah of Speen-Ghar Region in Afghanistan has scored 841 runs. That’s 256* (just short of the record score on debut of 260), 34, 11, 111, 116 and 303*.
He’s 18 years old and also played recently for Afghanistan U19 against Nepal. Does this mean he will be a superstar if and when Afghanistan get enough Test fixtures? Not necessarily, but he might have some interesting times.
It’s more than anyone has scored before after four games, the previous record holder being Bill Ponsford, the heaviest scoring Australian batsman before Bradman and still the only man with two first-class innings of over 400 to his name.
Then the list reads H Rock, W Carson, and R Pant. Not household names.
Harry Rock played for NSW in the mid-20s, but played only six matches, ending with a career average of 94.75 and actually averaging over 100 in Sheffield Shield matches. Following his tremendous start, in December 1925 he played for The Rest against Australia in a Test trial for the 1926 tour of England, scored 12 and 35, but played only one more first-class match: he qualified in medicine and his career kept him away from any more first-class cricket.
Bill Carson played for Auckland and in his second and third matches scored 290 against Otago and 194 against Wellington. On the strength of this he was picked for the 1937 New Zealand tour of England, but was not a success and did not play in the Tests. He then decided to concentrate on rugby and won caps for the All Blacks.
Rishabh Rajendra Pant is a coming man, just 20 years old. He has played two T20 games for India and in the last U19 World Cup, but very much is expected of him in years to come. With a top first-class score of 308 and two seasons of the IPL under his belt, he has the form, but will he carry on to be a top Test batsman?
And in the totally implausible section, a lad called Akash Choudhury, playing for Disha Cricket Academy against Pearl Academy in the Late Bhawer Singh T20 tournament in Jaipur, returned a perfect set of T20 figures: 4-4-0-10.
He said: “I can not thank God enough for this. A five-wicket haul in a T20 is possible on a good day, but a 10-wicket haul, without giving away a single run, is all luck. I took two wickets in the first over, another two in the second over, another two in the third over and four wickets in my last over, which included a hat-trick off the last three balls,” he added. As well he might.