By Aayush Puthran
Cricket and statistics will always have a relationship of unspoken love. In no other sport, stats and records have such a symbiotic relationship as they have in cricket. Amidst all the stories of team glory and national pride, there are some milestones that the player would wish he did not have it to his ‘credit’. Funnily, there are quite a few legends of the game who have made it to this The Extraordinary League of Gentlemen.
The cricketer who has staked his claim in most number of records-better-not-to-have is the former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne. He played innumerable handy knocks for Australia partnering their lower middle-order and the tail-enders. However, he had to face the frustration of not having scored a single century in his international career. Warne, who ended with over 700 wickets in Test cricket, has the distinction of scoring 12 half-centuries, recording a highest score of 99 against New Zealand in 2001. Warne, who ended up 3154 runs in 145 matches, eventually became the owner of the record for scoring most runs in Test cricket without scoring a hundred.
If that wasn’t enough, the master spinner is also placed third in the list of recording most number of ducks in Test cricket. His 34 ducks is surpassed only by Glenn McGrath (35) and Courtney Walsh (43).
Chetan Chauhan – so near, yet so far!
While Warne was primarily a bowler who could be handy with the bat, Indian opener Chetan Chauhan is second in the list of players to have scored most runs without registering a century. Chauhan - his highest score was 97. It is a strange statistic considering the fact that Chauhan formed one of the most formidable opening partnerships in Test history with the legendary Sunil Gavaskar. Chauhan came pretty close several times to the three-figures – twice he fell in the 90s and as many as five times in the 80s. He ended his Test career with 2084 runs in 40 Test matches.
Malcolm Marshall, West Indian bowling great and a member of the pace quartet of the 1980s, stands fourth in the list of players who have scored heavily without touching the triple-figure mark in Tests. Known for his express pace and menacing exploits with the ball, Marshall scored over ten half centuries in Tests and over 1800 runs, but had to be content with a highest score of 92.
Marvan Atapattu – the hero and his zeros!
Former Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu gives Warne a strong run for the spot of holding most number of unwanted records in cricket. Atapattu, who has recorded 22 ducks in Test cricket, also holds the record for getting most number of pairs - four. He also takes the numero uno position for being run-out most number of times - 41 - in One-Day Internationals.
Andy Flower holds the record for batting for the longest period and yet ended up on the losing side. The former Zimbabwean wicket-keeper remained unbeaten, facing 470 deliveries in 590 minutes against South Africa in 2001-02, which Zimbabwe lost by nine wickets. Herbert Sutcliffe was the previous holder of the record - 481 deliveries in a stay of 431 minutes against Australia at Melbourne in 1924-25.
While talking about greats and records in cricket, it is almost impossible to keep Sachin Tendulkar’s name away. While the master blaster reveled in each of his hundred international tons, he also had to deal with the pain of being in the losing side while scoring 24 of those tons, including the hundredth century against Bangladesh at Mirpur.
But cricket teaches us to celebrate life in its finest spirit. In success and failure, and the line blurred between the two. Records will tumble and be rewritten every new day. The good and the not-so-good, will be reveled in all its glory, leaving some stunned, some amazed and some just in love with the nuances of the cricketing moments.
(While enjoying the small joys of life, rarely has anything mesmerised Aayush Puthran more than cricket. A student of Journalism in Mumbai, he is trying to figure out two things: ways to make Test cricket a commercial hot property and the best way to beat Mumbai traffic. He has a certain sense of obsession with novelty. He might seem confused, but he is just battling a thousand demons within his mind. Nonetheless, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of coffee!)