286 Runs In A Ball
Cricket is all about amazing stories of amazing records set regularly throughout the cricket history along with many supernatural activities happened on the field. It is all about myths and tales from different countries like the rule of no change of seat in the team box while anyone on the field is batting well, or, bowler performing the same gesture after he gets two wickets in two balls and expecting a hat-trick. There are also tales like Hitler killing his entire team when, at the time of Nazis, there was no national team of Germany. Anyone who enjoys watching this sport knows that some myths and superstitions are actually there, which were started by famous players or coaches, and are still followed.
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Did you ever get curious why David Shepherd and many other umpires raise their leg or lift their heels from the ground every time a team or individual scores 111 or multiples while crowds noticed that and cheer his leg-raising? Nelson is a piece of cricket slang terminology, and a superstition which is believed to be for Lord Nelson’s lost eye and an arm during a battle. But, the historical facts are completely different. But, on the opposite side, many myths are actually genuine, like the story of CK Nayudu, who is the first captain of the Indian cricket team, who really did hit a ball across a river into the next county of England.
Many myths exist and plot questions in human head about scoring how many run is actually possible in a single ball. There are many records from late 1800 to the starting of 1900 about highest run scored in a single ball. The official first-class record is 10 which was set by Albert Hornby in 1873, and equaled by Samuel Wood in 1900. In Fore’s Sports page in 1894, Somerville Gibney writes: “Without doubt, the biggest hit of the year was one for 93!”. One such story is of a mind blasting 286 runs scored in a single ball. An English newspaper, Pall Mall Gazette from London, published an unbelievable story on 15th January, 1894.
It was Western Australia playing against Victoria in an Australian First Class match, way back in 1894. The first ball of the match was a heavy strike by the batsman into a three-pronged branch of a tall Jarrah tree which was inside the field. The home team appealed for lost ball because it was absolutely out of the reach by hand. But, the umpires disagreed because it was in sight which meant it could not be lost, and everybody could see the exact place where the ball actually got stuck. But, the intelligent batsmen didn’t stop running between the wickets for making as many runs as possible.
When the West Australians sent for an axe to cut down the tree, no axe was obtainable. Then, the team came up with a brilliant idea, and somebody from the home team brought out a rifle and tried to shoot the ball from the tree. After several attempts, the ball was finally dislodged by a bullet of that rifle from the tree and it fell onto the outfield. No one from the fielders was even bothered to catch it out of their frustration. And, by the time the ball traveled back to the wicket-keeper, the super intelligent and hardworking opening pair for Victoria completed running between the wickets 286 times. When 286 runs were given by the umpire, Victoria declared their first inning. That again made a record for the fewest balls played in one inning. Later, Victoria won the match.
The same news was published in the Inquirer & Commercial News in Perth on 2nd March, 1894 and even traveled far to the US, when the Lowell Daily Sun in Massachusetts published the news later as a fact on 15th May in the same year. But, some controversies rose up when the Western Mail in Perth referring to it as ‘that enormous fairy tale’ and published a story about the imaginative mind of the Pall Mall Gazette behind 286 runs scored in a single ball. While no other local newspaper published the story before the Pall Mall Gazette, it was a bit ridiculous to believe the news they published in UK first while the match was played in Australia. So, it is technically very challenging to prove the reality behind the story.
Because of the shortage of evidence, this record couldn’t make it to the Guinness Book of World Records. But, what is the current record? It is one ball for 17 by Garry Chapman in a club match in Australia. The Banyule CC website features a collection from the club’s history written by Chapman himself, where he wrote, “Vinny umpired against Macleod as Borrie and I ran, walked and, finally, staggered our way to the world record of 17 runs from a single ball (p. 247 Guinness Book of Records 1992).
We were enjoying ourselves. ‘Twelve…’ we’d shout as we headed back for another. “Thirteen…” and so on. At the end of it all Vinny had the final say. He turned to the scorers and, in his wonderful Yorkshire voice, he announced, ‘Scorers, that be seventeen!’ Turned to me and confided, ‘Aven’t got signal for seventeen!’ He then proceeded to lecture the Macleod blokes on the intricacies of the Lost Ball rule.” This was 286 Runs In A Ball.