After becoming the first player to score a century in a recorded T10 match, Will Jacks said he did not even think about the milestone until he was on 98 not out, “because it all happened quite quickly”.
The 20-year-old batsman reached three figures in 25 balls for Surrey against Lancashire in the first match of a four-team T10 tournament at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
Included in his deluge of sixes were six in one over off the bowling of Stephen Parry, the Lancashire left-arm spinner.
Jacks went to his century off the last ball of the sixth over, at such a hasty strike-rate he might be forgiven for losing track himself.
“Not at all,” Jacks said when asked if he had thought reaching three figures in a 10-over match had been possible before the match started.
“We hadn’t really thought about it, but Jade [Dernbach, the Surrey bowler] has played in the T10 League, so he has seen it, and we were chatting saying 120 to 130 was an average score.
“I went out to try and have fun, really, that was it, and didn’t think about the hundred until I was on 98, because it all happened quite quickly.
“It is something completely new, and I just thought I’d go out and have some fun. And it was good fun.”
Jacks said he did start to think about the perfect over once he had hit Parry, who played for England at the T20 World Cup in 2014, for four sixes in a row.
Parry had bowled a wide off the first ball, meaning his over went for 37 in all – which is the second time that has happened in the UAE this season, after Hazratullah Zazai’s effort in the Afghanistan Premier League in Sharjah.
“After the fourth sixth, I was thinking I had a real chance here,” Jacks said.
“Then the fifth one just snuck over, and I gave it everything on the last one, and that snuck over as well.”
At the start of the day, the young right-hander was a little-known player in a squad full of international cricket stars.
By 2.30pm, his was the autograph being sought most eagerly by a number of schoolkids who had witnessed his display at the ICC Academy.
“It is nice to have people appreciate that you have done well, but it was just good luck that I had done well and performed when they came to watch,” Jacks said.
Surrey eventually posted 176 for three from their 10 overs, before bowling Lancashire out for 81 to win by 95 runs.
The tournament, which also involved the UAE national team and an Abu Dhabi T20 select XI, was originally scheduled to be played in the Twenty20 format.
But it was switched to the new, 10-over version in the days leading up to it, at the request of the organisers of the T10 league.
Earlier in the week it had been announced a deal had been agreed to move the annual 10-over competition from Sharjah, where its first two seasons had taken place, to Abu Dhabi.
The competition will be played exclusively in the capital for the next five years. It is safe to assume Jacks might now be attracting the interest of the eight franchises ahead of the competition’s third campaign in October.
There was much debate last November, when a cast of world stars played at the competition in Sharjah, whether a player could score a century in a 10-over innings.
Sherfane Rutherford, the West Indian left-hander, had managed the feat in a practice match in the lead up to the event, but Alex Hales’ 87 not out was the highest managed in competition.
After achieving the feat, Jacks revealed that he had considered entering his name into the draft for the 2018 T10, only to opt instead for a winter playing club cricket in Australia.
“I thought about putting myself in for the T10 League, but we decided against it, and I went and had a winter in Perth instead,” Jacks said.
“I think that was the right thing to do. Having played well over there, I think I developed quite a bit, so that was the right decision.”