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Sachin Tendulkar’s hundred international hundreds may never be bettered like Don Bradman’s Test average

Sachin Tendulkar's hundred international hundreds may never be bettered like Don Bradman's Test average

Sachin Tendulkar – First man to register hundred international hundreds © AFP

Sachin Tendulkar reached his 100th international hundred on March 16, 2012. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at how significant this number is, and why the number will, in all likelihood, will remain elusive for generations of cricketers to come.

History was rewritten as Sachin Tendulkar clipped Shakib Al Hasan to square-leg and ran through for a single. He became the first man to register a hundred international hundreds. A new page was turned over in the annals of the sport as yet another landmark — one that may never be emulated in future — was achieved.
 
But exactly how great is Tendulkar’s record when compared to the other records in the history of the sport? Let us dig deep into the magnitude of Tendulkar’s achievement.
 
How long would it take some of the other batsmen to reach that incredible mark? Let us have a look at the hypothesis:
 

Table 1 All cricketers              
Player First
match
Last
match
Date
of
birth
Career Span (days) Runs 100s Days per
100
To score 100 100s
Needed to play till (date) Needed to play till (age)
Sachin
Tendulkar
15/11/89 5/3/13 24/4/73 8,511 34,182 100 85    
Ricky
Ponting
15/2/95 3/12/12 19/12/74 6,501 27,483 71 92 11/3/2020 45
Jacques
Kallis
14/12/95 17/2/13 16/10/75 6,275 25,292 61 103 11/2/2024 48
Brian
Lara
9/11/90 21/4/07 2/5/69 6,007 22,358 53 113 19/11/2021 53
Rahul
Dravid
3/4/96 28/1/12 11/1/73 5,778 24,208 48 120 18/3/2029 56
Mahela
Jayawardene
8/2/97 23/1/13 27/5/77 5,828 22,991 47 124 21/1/2031 54
Kumar
Sangakkara
5/7/00 12/3/13 27/10/77 4,633 22,287 46 101 31/1/2028 50
Sanath
Jayasuriya
26/12/89 28/6/11 30/6/69 7,854 21,032 42 187 8/3/2041 72
Matthew
Hayden
19/5/93 7/1/09 29/10/71 5,712 15,066 40 143 23/6/2032 61
Mohammad
Yousuf
26/2/98 8/11/10 27/8/74 4,638 17,300 39 119 18/9/2030 56
Shivnarine
Chanderpaul
17/3/94 14/3/13 16/8/74 6,937 19,843 38 183 9/3/2044 70
Sourav
Ganguly
11/1/92 6/11/08 8/7/72 6,144 18,575 38 162 17/4/2036 64
Virender
Sehwag
1/4/99 5/3/13 20/8/78 5,087 17,253 38 134 24/11/2035 57
Mark
Waugh
11/12/88 22/10/02 2/6/65 5,063 16,529 38 133 3/6/2025 60
Graeme
Smith
8/3/02 10/3/13 1/2/81 4,020 16,662 36 112 2/10/2032 52

As is evident, Tendulkar is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the batsmen on the list. Not only has he started playing at an age younger than most have and has continued playing up to an age older than most have, he has also scored a hundred every 85 days. The number is phenomenal. Ricky Ponting follows him scoring hundred every 92 days, the duration of his career is nowhere close to what Tendulkar has.
 
To emulate Tendulkar’s feat, Ponting should have gone on to play till the age of 45, and Jacques Kallis needs to play on till the age of 48. None of the others are below the 50-mark, and some others need to play above the age of 60, and in the case of a few others, more than 70.
 

Table 2 Current cricketers            
Player First
match
Last
match
Date
of
birth
Career Span (days) Runs 100s Days per
100
To score 100 100s
Needed to play till (date) Need to play till (age)
Sachin
Tendulkar
15/11/89 5/3/13 24/4/73 8,511 34,182 100 85    
Jacques
Kallis
14/12/95 17/2/13 16/10/75 6,275 25,292 61 103 11/2/2024 48
Mahela
Jayawardene
8/2/97 23/1/13 27/5/77 5,828 22,991 47 124 21/1/2031 54
Kumar
Sangakkara
5/7/00 12/3/13 27/10/77 4,633 22,287 46 101 31/1/2028 50
Shivnarine
Chanderpaul
17/3/94 14/3/13 16/8/74 6,937 19,843 38 183 9/3/2044 70
Virender
Sehwag
1/4/99 5/3/13 20/8/78 5,087 17,253 38 134 24/11/2035 57
Graeme
Smith
8/3/02 10/3/13 1/2/81 4,020 16,662 36 112 2/10/2032 52
Tillakaratne
Dilshan
18/11/99 12/3/13 14/10/76 4,863 13,561 31 157 30/10/2042 66
Kevin
Pietersen
4/11/04 10/3/13 27/6/80 3,048 13,044 31 98 6/10/2031 51
Michael
Clarke
19/1/03 5/3/13 2/4/81 3,698 15,120 30 123 18/10/2036 56
Hashim
Amla
28/11/04 10/3/13 31/3/83 3,024 9,343 29 104 16/6/2033 50
Alastair
Cook
1/3/06 10/3/13 25/12/84 2,566 9,777 29 88 22/5/2030 45
AB de
Villiers
17/12/04 10/3/13 17/2/84 3,005 12,426 29 104 1/5/2033 49
Younis
Khan
13/2/00 10/3/13 29/11/77 4,774 14,119 27 177 11/7/2048 71
Ian
Bell
19/8/04 10/3/13 11/4/82 3,125 10,084 20 156 31/5/2047 65
Gautam
Gambhir
11/4/03 27/1/13 14/10/81 3,579 10,191 20 179 8/4/2052 70
Ramnaresh
Sarwan
18/5/00 26/2/13 23/6/82 4,667 11,942 20 233 7/4/2064 82

 
Given that a lot more matches are played these days, and given the fact that the general batting average and rate of scoring hundreds has gone up significantly, the targets should have been achievable for some of the current crop.
 
However, if we look at the numbers, it is evident other than Kallis, the only others who have a chance to reach the mark are AB de Villiers and Alastair Cook. Cook is the best bet, but even he has to play on till the age of 45, assuming Tendulkar does not score any more hundreds. Like the previous table, there are players who need to play past an age of 50, 60, 70, and even 80 to emulate Tendulkar.
 
All in all, it can be safely concluded that Tendulkar’s record is as safe as Muttiah Muralitharan’s tally of 1,347 international wickets, or Mark Boucher’s record of 1,000 international dismissals – or even the grandest of all world records – Don Bradman’s career average of 99.94.
 
(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ovshake and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42.)

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