Captain bats for 51 straight hours
Eric Dusingizimana breaks world record after two-day net session, hopes to raise funds for cricket stadium
14 May 2016, 11:56 AM AEST
Rwanda cricket captain Eric Dusingizimana has broken a Guinness World Record, batting for 51 straight hours to set a new mark for the longest individual net session.
Dusingizimana started batting on May 11 and completed his marathon effort on Friday, with the likes of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the British High Commissioner to Rwanda William Gelling and Miss Rwanda bowling to the 29-year-old during his stint at the crease.
He faced the final ball, bowled by his wife, in front of a large crowd in the capital Kigali on Friday morning.
— Richard Kwizera (@Muzungu4) May 13, 2016
Incredibly, despite batting for more than two days, Dusingizimana still had enough energy left to perform a headstand to celebrate his achievement
Dusingizimana topped the previous record of just over 50 hours set by Virag Mare in India last year and says he is hoping to raise around $A30,000 for the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, which was set up to help fund the country's first international cricket ground.
The charity is run in association with the Marylebone Cricket Club Foundation and its patrons include current British PM David Cameron and West Indies great Brian Lara.
"I am so happy to have helped raise awareness for cricket in Rwanda and the work of the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation," Dusingizimana said.
"We need to build the future of cricket in Rwanda, which is why the stadium is important.
"But we want also want to use the new facilities to help the sport unite our country and raise awareness about the importance of health and education."
Dusingizimana was allowed a five-minute break every hour of his record net session, allowing for health checks and time to eat.
For context, the longest innings in a Test match was Hanif Mohamed’s match-saving 337 for Pakistan against the West Indies in 1958, which lasted 16 hours and 10 minutes.
The Independent pointed out that Dusingizimana batted for more than five hours longer than the entire Australian team managed during the 2015 Ashes series.
Former Prime Minister Blair, who is in Rwanda for the World Economic Forum on Africa, bowled several deliveries off a two-step run up.
"The last time I bowled was most likely at school, so it was great to have a bowl against Eric,” he said.
— Tony Blair Office (@tonyblairoffice) May 13, 2016
"What he did is an incredible feat: batting for 51 hours non-stop and breaking the world record, and, in doing so, helping raise money for Rwanda’s first cricket stadium.
"So I offer my congratulations and wish him and the RCSF all the best as they look to build a better future for cricket in the country."
The RCSF is no stranger to world record feats; in 2014, the charity broke the mark for the highest-ever cricket match, played at an altitude of 5730m on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Rwanda, a landlocked nation of around 11 million people, is part of the African Cricket Association and first became an ICC Affiliate Member in 2003.