Teacher bats his way into Guinness Book

Published: Thursday, May 3, 2001, 18:40 [IST]
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The feat gave Speak an opportunity to figure in the Guinness Book of World Records. He says no such record currently exists. "They say that some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, well I was born with a cricket bat in my hand," Speak, who undertook the same marathon batting effort last year but managed only 12 hours then, told IANS. The English native is a second-grade teacher at St. Mark's Elementary School in the city of Downey in southern California, where the event was held. The United States Junior Cricket organization co-sponsored the event. Speak said he also hoped to raise the visibility of cricket in the area. For the past four years, between 30 and 40 students have been playing annually among each other under the tutelage of Speak. Speak started his batting odyssey at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and continued through till 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. He was allowed only two 15 minute breaks During the 24 hours. Speak said he took precautions in advance to answer the call of nature because he knew he couldn't ask for bathroom breaks. He also carried water on his back that he could drink using a long straw. Everyone who wanted to bowl to Speak got an opportunity to do so, including the mayor of Downey, Robert Winningham, who pitched the first ball. When there was no one left to pitch, a bowling machine got the job done. The event, which included exhibitions of Kanga Cricket and a silent auction, raised about $ 3,000 for US Junior Cricket, St Mark's School and the Lord's Taveners, a group for underprivileged children in England. A bat autographed by Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar of the 70s and 80s according to Speak, was one of the prizes in the auction. Speak said he is still waiting to hear if his performance will count as a world record.

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