Indian youngster Rishabh Pant rode himself into the record books with his 48-ball century for Delhi against Jharkhand at Trivandrum, which is officially the fastest ever century in Indian first-class cricket. But former Himachal Pradesh cricketer Shakti Singh insists that the record for the fastest ever century in first-class cricket belongs to him citing his 42-ball century against Haryana at the Kangda Police Stadium in 1990.
The 19-year-old has been in sensational form in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season with his triple century against Maharashtra in October highlighting the Haridwar lad’s immense potential.
He gave a glimpse of his aggressive approach during his knock of 308 which came off just 326 balls, but exceeded expectations earlier today with his knock that bettered the feat of the fastest ever domestic first-class century achieved by Assam’s Rajesh Borah for Assam against Tripura in the 1987-88 season and VB Chandrasekhar for Tamil Nadu against the Rest of India in the Irani Trophy encounter in the 1988-89 season.
However, former Ranji Trophy cricketer Shakti Singh has now claimed that he holds the record for the fastest ever first-class century citing his knock against a Haryana side that featured Indian bowler Chetan Sharma amongst their ranks. While no official record exists pertaining to the number of balls taken to achieve the three-figure mark, Singh said that the time taken for the same has been registered officially.
"The unofficial stat is I got to my century in 42 balls. That was the time when there were no official scorers and scoring was done by the team members," Singh told The Times of India in an exclusive interview. "I remember going in at number eight and started to hit my shots and it was only when I neared by fifty that they (team members) started to count.
“I got to my fifty in 18 balls with two fours and seven sixes. I went on to hit three more fours and five more sixes and hardly blocked four or five deliveries. But the number of balls was not recorded. However, my official time registered to get to the 100 was 59 minutes," he added.
The 48-year-old former cricketer who turned to playback singing after his retirement at the end of the 2002/03 season, also sounded bullish about how he had defied health concerns on his way to the record-breaking knock and not holding back in his claims for the record to India’s fastest first-class century.
"And the interesting fact about that knock was that a day before I was admitted to the ICU (intensive care unit) owing to stomach cramps and the doctors had told me that I cannot play the next day. But our team was batting and I was sitting in the pavilion all day until it was my time to bat," Singh said.
While Pant’s knock will find its place in the history books, claims for the fastest century in the Indian domestic circuit will continue to attract potential suitors like Singh and even former Indian wicketkeeper Farookh Engineer as seen by the following Twitter post.