Recent Newcastle University graduate Alby Shale batted for 26 hours at the Kia Oval to set a new world record, Guinness have now confirmed.
The 22-year-old faced over 6,000 balls in 26 hours at Surrey’s home ground on July 15-16, beating the previous record by an hour, as he raised over £12,000 for the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, a charity set up to build the first proper cricket ground in the country.
Under stringent Guinness rules, any world record attempt requires supporting documentation to be sent off and verified before it can be confirmed. A series of volunteers acted as independent witnesses throughout the 26 hours, and a video of the whole attempt was sent to Guinness as proof.
"I am pleased to officially call myself a Guinness world record holder, but even more so that I have helped a wonderful country towards its vision for a new cricket stadium,” said Shale.
“It is very exciting time for Rwandan cricket. In 10 years time I will almost certainly not be a Guinness world record holder, but Rwanda will have an international cricket pitch to be proud of. That is what's important."
Shale's attempt began at 6.45am on July 15 and ended at 8.45am on July 16. For it to be recognised, he was not allowed more than a five-minute break for every hour completed. All breaks were meticulously recorded by a team of volunteer witnesses before being sent to Guinness for verification.
Around 200 people turned up to bowl, including the charity's patrons David Cameron, Jonathan Agnew, Andrew Mitchell MP and Lord Chadlington, as well as Ravi Bopara, Steve Elworthy, Tom Moody and Paul Allott.
A keen amateur cricketer, Shale has coached the sport in Rwanda on the Conservative Party's annual social action project 'Umubano'. His father Christopher Shale, who died in 2011, was the inspiration behind the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, which was formed later that year.
The new ground will be the home of Rwandan cricket, enabling the country's eligibility to host international matches and tournaments, as well as encouraging club, school and university touring teams from abroad. The ground will also be used by the Rwanda Cricket Association for the continued development of cricket in the country, and among some of Rwanda's most disadvantaged young people.
The world record surpasses the 25-hour record set by Australian Jade Child in October 2012. He faced 15,701 deliveries from local bowlers and a bowling machine and raised $2,000 for the Save the Tasmanian Devil programme.