Australian allrounder Sean Abbott has been left astonished by his own record-breaking exploits after equalling the fastest-ever hundred hit in English T20 cricket.
The Surrey player simply destroyed Kent’s bowling at the Oval in the T20 Blast competition, thundering to three figures in just 34 balls on Friday night to match the competition record set by his late, great compatriot Andrew Symonds for Kent against Middlesex 19 years ago.
Yet the modest Abbott, who has quickly become a popular figure with the county champions, paid tribute to one of Australian cricket’s old heroes afterwards, shrugging: “I don’t think people should be talking about me and ‘Roy’ in the same breath… but that was a lot of fun!”
It was an astounding knock which featured 11 sixes and seven fours, including 30 coming in the 17th over - 6-4-6-4-4-6 - off his luckless Australia pace colleague Kane Richardson.
Even more remarkably, the 31-year-old Abbott, who rescued a difficult situation for Surrey after coming in at 4-64, had previously never scored a fifty - his best had been 41 - in 76 T20 innings.
Instead, his 110 not out off 41 balls completely transformed the match, taking Surrey to 5-223 before they went on to limit Kent to 7-182 and seal a 41-run victory.
“Have to have a chat with Moises Henriques (his captain at the Sydney Sixers) back home - maybe I’m batting too low!” laughed Abbott, when asked on Sky TV about the transformation from a man who’d only made 51 runs in seven innings in the entire 2022-23 BBL.
“No, we’ve got a class side back home at the Sixers, so I can’t ask to bat too much higher. Just grateful for this opportunity,” said Abbott.
“This isn’t going to sink in for a while. First (Blast) game at the Oval in front of a home crowd (of 17,000), I haven’t batted that well, nice to go out there and make the most of it. I had a little bit of luck - but, boy, that was a lot of fun.”
The luck came when, after being shunted up the order to No 6 and racing to his half-century off 23 balls, including three sixes bludgeoned over long-on off George Linde, he got dropped by the same player off Joey Evison when he’d powered on to 87.
But Abbott couldn’t be stopped and reached the landmark with two more back-to-back sixes off another Australian, Kent’s 41-year-old veteran Michael Hogan.
Abbott’s rude form with bat and ball have him firmly on the radar for the upcoming Ashes series against England and the World Test Championship against India at the Oval on June 7.
Abbott and fellow fast bowler Michael Neser were called in to Australia’s pre-Ashes training camp, as fears grow pace spearhead Josh Hazlewood will not be fit for duty. Hazlewood has not played any red-ball cricket since injuring his Achilles in the Sydney Test against South Africa in January and only recently made his comeback in the Indian Premier League.
Neser was controversially omitted from Australia’s 17-man squad for the World Test Championship final and first two Ashes Tests, but selectors left the door open for the final three matches.
Source: The Guardians
BDST: 1200 HRS, May 27, 2023