New Delhi: Delhi's young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant batted himself into the record books as he struck the fastest ever hundred by an Indian in a first-class match by hitting a 48-ball ton against Jharkhand in a Ranji Trophy encounter on Tuesday.
He was finally dismissed for 135 off only 67 balls with eight boundaries and 13 sixes in a match played at Thumba in Kerala.
The young lad has had a staggering season so far having scored 799 runs from seven innings at an astounding average of 133.16 and a strike-rate of 113.17 -- something unheard of over a period of time. This is his fourth hundred of the season. He had already hit 44 sixes this season from five matches.
His sequence of scores this season are 146, 308, 24, 9, 60, 117, 135.
En route to his record-breaking ton, Pant eclipsed a 28-year old record set by former Tamil Nadu opener VB Chandrasekhar, who reached the three-figure mark in 56 balls against Rest of India during the Irani Cup match of the 1988-89 series.
Incidentally, that knock helped Chandrasekhar greatly as he made it to the Indian team for the tour of New Zealand in 1990.
In all first-class cricket across the globe, late Australian cricketer David Hooks had smashed the fastest hundred, off 34 balls, during a Sheffield Shield match in 1982. He was playing for South Australia against Victoria at the Adelaide Oval.
The 20-year-old Pant had hit an 82-ball hundred in the first innings and scored 117 off 106 deliveries.
On Tuesday, he came in with the score at 214 for three but Delhi were trying to play out the day having taken a lead of 65 runs with seven wickets in hand.
But Pant started in whirlwind fashion and was severe on both left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and off-spinner Sunny Gupta as most of the sixes came off these two spinners.
Most of his 13 sixes were hit in the arc between long-on and long-off as he repeatedly danced down the track to attack the spinners.
Pant also had a few promising knocks for Delhi Daredevils during the last IPL, including a Man of the Match award-winning effort.
He was not picked for India A's tour of Australia earlier this season and admitted that it acted as a trigger to score tonnes of runs this season.
"I was hurt after not being picked for India A's tour of Australia. I then promised myself that I should be scoring so much runs that no one can ignore me," the stockily-built Pant had told PTI after his triple hundred against Maharashtra last month.
Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad, during a post-selection conference, told the media that they are looking at grooming Sanju Samson as Dhoni's understudy in limited-overs cricket.
The manner in which Pant has been scoring runs, one will find it extremely difficult to ignore him.