Jahangir Khan's legendary and iconic 555 match winning streak – acknowledged as the longest winning streak in professional sport – has been called into question in a new book.
The Pakistani star went five and a half years undefeated between 1981 – 1986 during a halcyon era for Pakistan squash, that was extended by the subsequent arrival of Jansher Khan, but in 'Jahangir Khan: 555' squash journalists Rod Gilmour and Alan Thatcher cast doubt on the hallowed number.
The pair, who have been penning squash copy for decades, claim to have trawled record books, annuals, magazines and newspaper reports during an extensive research period and believe the true figure could be significantly lower than 555.
“During that era there were no official squash statisticians recording and journalling matches and in our research we haven't once come across an actual reference to the 555 figure,” said Gilmour.
“Jahangir would have to have played over 20 world tour tournaments each year for five years, which at the time was certainly not the case.”
Khan's winning streak eventually came to an end at the 1986 World Championship when New Zealand's Ross Norman, after 30 straight defeats, recorded his one and only career win over the Pakistani star – a triumph that happened on November 11, exactly 30 years ago this Friday.
But the 52 year-old Khan himself believes the final tally could exceed 555.
“If you calculate it, it could be more. I played invitational, exhibition and challenge matches,” Khan said.
“The 555 figure should only be my tournament matches. But it could be between six to seven hundred matches if you include the others. Because I wasn't losing those either!”
Co-author Thatcher said: “It was an extraordinary era for the sport, when Jahangir Khan stood astride the game like a colossus. Unlocking the statistics that led to the title of the book, 555, proved an enormous challenge.
“His five-and-a-half-year unbeaten run is certainly not disputed. That will surely never be conquered. It's the final tally which we wanted to solve for accuracy's sake. The real figure? It's hard to say. But it could be lower than 500.”
Jahangir Khan 555 'The Untold Story Behind Squash's Invincible Champion and Sport’s Greatest Unbeaten Run' is available to purchase from Pitch Publishing Here for £12.99