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Wasim Jaffer scores 50th First-Class hundred; joins the pantheon of the greats

 

Wasim Jaffer © Getty Images
Wasim Jaffer has scored approximately at the rate of three hundreds a season © Getty Images

 

Wasim Jaffer became the seventh Indian to score 50 First-Class hundreds. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at a milestone that went almost unnoticed.

 

With the Indian team about to leave for one of the toughest tours available in international cricket Ranji Trophy has taken a backseat. As a result almost no one noticed Wasim Jaffer being the seventh Indian to reach 50th First-Class hundreds against a nondescript Vidarbha.

 

What makes Jaffer’s feat so special? With batsmen of the stature of Andy Sandham and Mark Ramprakash having crossed the magical figure of a hundred First-Class hundreds, fifty seems to be a rather paltry number.

 

What we must remember, however, is the fact that given its structure the English County Championship allows cricketers to play more First-Class matches per season than their counterparts all over the world. The Ranji Trophy, for example, used to be played in a knock-out format in its earlier stages, which meant that some players had to be content with one First-Class match per season.

 

If we consider only batsmen who have never played Championship Jaffer is not as far behind. In fact, if we do not include Don Bradman (who should anyway be excluded for any kind of cricket analysis) the next man on the list is Neil Harvey, who has scored only 17 hundreds more than Jaffer.

 

50 First-Class hundreds; never played for an English county

Batsman

M

I

NO

R

HS

Ave

100s

Don Bradman

234

338

43

28,067

452*

95.14

117

Neil Harvey

306

461

35

21,699

231*

50.94

67

Graeme Pollock

262

437

54

20,940

274

54.67

64

Vijay Hazare

238

367

46

18,740

316*

58.38

60

Bob Simpson

257

436

62

21,029

359

56.23

60

Lindsay Hassett

216

322

32

16,890

232

58.24

59

Hanif Mohammad

238

370

44

17,059

499

52.33

55

Dilip Vengsarkar

260

390

52

17,868

284

52.86

55

Warren Bardsley

250

376

35

17,031

264

49.94

53

Shafiq Ahmed

266

450

58

19,572

217*

49.93

53

Bill Lawry

249

417

49

18,734

266

50.91

50

Wasim Jaffer

215

355

35

16,451

314*

51.41

50

Note: Jaffer’s numbers are as of November 28, 2013

As stated above Jaffer became the seventh Indian to reach the fifty First-Class hundred mark. Of the other six Vijay Hazare was the only one who played cricket in an era when India’s exposure to international cricket was limited, and thanks to World War II he could not make his debut before he had turned 30.

 

Other than Hazare, however, the other five had all gone on to play over a hundred Tests (okay, make that 99). It did not stop at that: at least a third of everyone’s First-Class matches have been Tests. Over half of Rahul Dravid’s First-Class appearances came in Tests, whereas in Sachin Tendulkar’s case the count has been close to 65%.

 

Indians with 50 First-Class hundreds

Batsman

M (FC)

I

NO

R

HS

Ave

100s

Tests

Tests/FC

Sunil Gavaskar

348

563

61

25,834

340

51.46

81

125

35.9%

Sachin Tendulkar

310

490

51

25,396

248*

57.85

81

200

64.5%

Rahul Dravid

298

497

67

23,794

270

55.33

68

163

54.7%

Vijay Hazare

238

367

46

18,740

316*

58.38

60

30

12.6%

Dilip Vengsarkar

260

390

52

17,868

284

52.86

55

116

44.6%

Mohammad Azharuddin

229

343

38

15,855

226

51.98

54

99

43.2%

Wasim Jaffer

215

355

35

16,451

314*

51.41

50

31

14.4%

Note: Jaffer’s numbers are as of November 28, 2013

 

Of course, Jaffer had gone past Ajay Sharma’s tally of 31 Ranji Trophy hundreds last season. With 34 hundreds he is well clear of Amol Muzumdar, his nearest contender among contemporaries.

 

Jaffer is not even 36, and probably has at least four or five years under his belt. He has scored approximately at the rate of three hundreds a season, which means that he should be looking at the 60-mark before he hangs up his boots.

 

Jaffer should, under ideal circumstances, have won a berth on the upcoming tour of South Africa (he had, after all, top-scored with 116 in the last Test he had played on South African soil — against Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, and Shaun Pollock), but given the fact that even the in-form Gautam Gambhir has been overlooked one should perhaps not expect such decisions.

 

While we will have to remain content with watching Jaffer in only Indian domestic cricket this season, what we can do is take a trip down the memory lane and re-live Jaffer’s 50 First-Class tons:

First-Class hundreds of Wasim Jaffer

No

Score

For

Against

Date

1

314*

Mumbai

Saurashtra

Nov 4, 1996

2

106

Mumbai

Uttar Pradesh

Feb 7, 1997

3

133

West Zone

South Zone

Dec 9, 1997

4

180

Mumbai

Gujarat

Nov 23, 1998

5

173*

West Zone

North Zone

Dec 17, 1999

6

173

Mumbai

Gujarat

Dec 27, 1999

7

178

Mumbai

Baroda

Nov 29, 2001

8

139

Mumbai

Saurashtra

Jan 5, 2002

9

122

West Zone

Central Zone

Mar 12, 2002

10

103*

West Zone

Central Zone

Mar 12, 2002

11

116

Rest of India

Railways

Oct 29, 2002

12

106

Mumbai

Delhi

Nov 17, 2002

13

117

Mumbai

Railways

Dec 19, 2002

14

102*

Elite Group B

Elite Group C

Mar 27, 2003

15

218

India A

Warwickshire

July 30, 2003

16

117*

Mumbai

Delhi

Nov 15, 2003

17

143

Mumbai

Andhra

Dec 1, 2003

18

133

Mumbai

Tamil Nadu

Mar 26, 2004

19

157

Mumbai

Railways

Nov 7, 2004

20

162

Mumbai

Bengal

Dec 4, 2004

21

122

Mumbai

Delhi

Dec 31, 2004

22

133

West Zone

South Zone

Oct 20, 2005

23

267

Mumbai

Delhi

Nov 23, 2005

24

162

Mumbai

Tamil Nadu

Dec 25, 2005

25

100

India

England

Mar 1, 2006

26

212

India

West Indies

Jun 2, 2006

27

129

West Zone

Sri Lanka A

Oct 27, 2006

28

116

India

South Africa

Jan 2, 2007

29

112

Mumbai

Bengal

Feb 2, 2007

30

138*

India

Bangladesh

May 25, 2007

31

202

India

Pakistan

Nov 30, 2007

32

151

West Zone

England Lions

Feb 11, 2008

33

172

Mumbai

Gujarat

Nov 10, 2008

34

256

Mumbai

Hyderabad

Dec 2, 2008

35

108

Mumbai

Himachal Pradesh

Dec 26, 2008

36

301

Mumbai

Saurashtra

Jan 4, 2009

37

165*

Mumbai

Orissa

Nov 10, 2009

38

107*

Mumbai

Hyderabad

Decr 1, 2009

39

141

Mumbai

Tamil Nadu

Dec 8, 2009

40

138

Mumbai

Saurashtra

Nov 1, 2010

41

103*

Mumbai

Saurashtra

Nov 1, 2010

42

104*

Mumbai

Bengal

Nov 10, 2010

43

169*

Mumbai

Gujarat

Dec 1, 2010

44

110*

Mumbai

Saurashtra

Dec 6, 2011

45

171

Mumbai

Gujarat

Dec 29, 2012

46

150

Mumbai

Baroda

Jan 6, 2013

47

132

Mumbai

Saurashtra

Jan 26, 2013

48

101*

Mumbai

Rest of India

Feb 6, 2013

49

111

Mumbai

Punjab

Nov 7, 2013

50

133*

Mumbai

Vidarbha

Nov 28, 2013

The last hundred involves score only up to November 28, 2013

 

(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 Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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