Will it be the MCG or SCG for Sachin’s 100th hundred?

Kersi Meher-Homji Roar Rookie

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Rookie

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    Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar walks towards the pavilion. AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

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    The argument currently going on in India is not so much as to when Sachin Tendulkar will reach his 100th international century, but whether he deserves the Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India) Award.

    Bharat Ratna is the highest award in India, originally meant to honour achievement in politics, literature, the arts and social service.

    However, the rules have been modified recently to include film actors, singers and sportsmen.

    There is no question that Tendulkar deserves consideration for this honour, but some strongly feel that if a sportsman was to be given this award on 26 January – India’s Republic Day – it should be Viswanathan Anand, the four time world chess champion.

    Now with the Boxing Day Test starting next Monday, the focus is once again on Tendulkar’s 100th international ton.

    Since April this year, he is on verge of this unique milestone, having hit 51 Test hundreds and 48 in one-day internationals (ODIs). Since then he has come close by scoring 90s, but has missed out on reaching a century.

    Will it come in the Boxing Day Melbourne Test or in Sydney, staging its 100th Test match on January 3? I can imagine Swamy Army of Indian supporters going berserk when this major unattained landmark is reached.

    Not to forget the billion Indians at home.

    We can realise the magnitude of the achievement by noting that the next best batsman is Australia’s Ricky Ponting who has registered 69 international centuries, a whopping 30 centuries less than Tendulkar’s!

    Let us compare Tendulkar statistically with Ponting, India’s Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara of West Indies, and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis at Test level; and with Ponting and Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya in ODIs. By runs scored, these five have been the most prolific batsmen in the history of the game.

    Ponting, 37, is 20 months younger than Sachin and made his Test debut six years after the Indian prodigy.

    Below are the Test statistics of the Top 4 Test batsmen (as at December 25, 2011):

    * Tendulkar has scored 15,183 runs at 56.02 in 184 Tests with 51 centuries (highest score 248 not out) and 63 fifties.
    * Dravid has gathered 13,094 runs at 53.22 in 160 Tests with 36 centuries and 62 fifties.
    * Ponting has stroked 12,656 runs at 52.2 in 158 Tests with 39 centuries (HS 257) and 58 fifties and Kallis 12,036 runs at 56.77 with 40 centuries and 55 fifties in 148 Tests.
    * Lara blasted 11,953 runs at 52.88 in 131 Tests with 34 centuries (HS 400 n.o.) and 48 fifties.

    Thus, in Test cricket, Tendulkar has scored 2089 more runs than the next batsman (Dravid) and 2527 runs more than Ponting. Also, he has hit 11 more centuries than the next man, Kallis, and 12 more than Ponting.

    Australia’s Allan Border has registered same number of fifties as Tendulkar (63). Lara’s individual score of unbeaten 400 remains a Test record. Same with Don Bradman’s Test batting average of 99.94 in 52 Tests.

    In ODIs, Tendulkar again leads with 18,111 runs at 45.16 in 453 matches with 48 centuries (HS 200 n.o.) and 95 fifties. He is followed by Ponting 13,686 runs at 42.63 in 370 ODIs with 30 tons (HS 164) and 82 fifties and Jayasuriya, 13,430 runs at 32.36 in 445 matches with 28 centuries (HS 189) and 68 fifties.

    Tendulkar thus out-scores number two Ponting by 4425 runs and number three Jayasuriya by 4,681 runs in ODIs. The Indian has also recorded the most centuries (48) and most fifties (95) in ODIs. Next best is Ponting, with 18 fewer centuries and 13 fewer 50s in 83 fewer ODIs.

    On February 24, 2010, Tendulkar became the first player to hit a double century in an ODI (200 not out vs. South Africa in Gwalior). Earlier this month his team mate Virender Sehwag smashed 219 runs against the West Indies at Indore.

    Combining statistics at Test, ODI and Twenty20 internationals, Tendulkar is the only cricketer to break the 30,000 run barrier (33,304 runs) with 99 centuries in 638 internationals. Then come Ponting 26,743 runs with 69 centuries in 545 matches and Dravid 24,014 runs with 48 centuries in 505.

    Thus the Indian maestro is a whopping 6,561 runs and 30 centuries ahead of the next most prolific batsman, Ponting, in all internationals.

    From boy wonder to elder statesman, from 1989 till now, Sachin has grown in popularity, keeping his feet on the ground.

    Aussie quicks Pat Cummins and James Pattinson were not even born when 16 year-old Tendulkar made his Test debut.

    The Bharat Ratna award is well within his grasp.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • December 20th 2011 @ 8:55am
      sheek said | December 20th 2011 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Hi Kersi,

      Nice article as usual. I never knew about the Bharat Ratna, so it’s good to learn something new today. Good name for a racehorse if ever I have an opportunity to own one!

      I note that Tendulkar’s 184 tests have been accumulated over 23 seasons – from November 1989 to November 2011. That’s an even 8 tests per season (surprisingly low).

      To date, Ponting has played 160 tests over 17 seasons – December 1995 to December 2011. That’s an average of almost 9.5 tests per season.

      Bradman played his meagre (by comparison) 52 tests over 21 seasons – November 1928 to August 1948. That’s a miserly average of less than 2.5 test per season.

      Syd Gregory, the first Australian to reach 50 tests, played 58 tests over 23 seasons – July 1890 to August 1912. That’s an average of just over 2.5 tests per season.

      It’s neither right nor wrong, but today’s batsmen, especially those who have played over the past 15-20 years, have had so many more opportunities to play more tests during their ‘core’ or ‘peak’ years. Not to mention the plethora of one-dayers.

      Bradman for example, played no tests 1939-45 (because of WW2), when he was aged 31 to 37. This is the precisely the age bracket when guys like Tendulkar, Ponting, Dravid, Kallis, etc have produced some of their most prolific form. A time when a guy is still naturally physical fit, but his accumulated experience & mental powers are at their utmost.

      Tendulkar has been a wonderful ornament both to the game & to his fellow Indians. I just hope those billion Indians don’t get carried away & lose perspective of the opportunities guys like Tendulkar have been presented compared to yesterday’s heroes.

    • December 20th 2011 @ 9:45am
      Kersi Meher-Homji said | December 20th 2011 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      You have analysed it very succintly, Sheek. You deserve Roar’s Bharat Ratna!
      Although I agree with you, I would like to put forth another viewpoint. More Tests played (and more ODIs) in case of current cricketers Tendulkar, Ponting, Dravid, Lara, Hayden… means more injuries. You have to be more physically fit to play cricket day in and day out. Imagine the strain on the body playing over 500 internationals, compared to say 52 by Bradman.
      So one just cannot compare cricketers of different eras. So what I have done is compared batsmen from the same era.

      • December 20th 2011 @ 9:58am
        sheek said | December 20th 2011 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Yes true Kersi (comparing apples with apples).

        It’s just that I’ve read some blogs where some Indians have appeared to lose touch with reality in their gushing praise of Tendulkar. Not that they’re alone – we Aussies lose touch with reality at times also!

    • December 20th 2011 @ 10:31am
      Will Sinclair said | December 20th 2011 @ 10:31am | ! Report

      “Bharat Ratna is the highest award in India, originally meant to honour achievement in politics, literature, the arts and social service.

      However, the rules have been modified recently to include film actors, singers and sportsmen.”

      Did this cause any controversy in India, Kersi?

      From a distance it looks like another bow to the Gods of Celebrity… I mean, we all like the movies, but shouldn’t these awards be reserved for those who make a meaningful contribution to society?

      • December 22nd 2011 @ 2:58am
        amazonfan said | December 22nd 2011 @ 2:58am | ! Report

        I guess it depends on how you define meaningful. If you are specifically referring to saving lives, then perhaps only doctors and scientists can be said to make a meaningful contribution to society. But if you refer to those who better humanity, then artists can also be said to make a meaningful contribution to society, and artists include actors.

    • December 20th 2011 @ 10:33am
      Will Sinclair said | December 20th 2011 @ 10:33am | ! Report

      By the way – I hope he gets the 100th ton at the SCG on Day One… for no other reason than I will be there!

      (I also hope he scores 100 in India’s otherwise disappointing 1st Innings total of 101.)

    • December 20th 2011 @ 11:08am
      Kersi Meher-Homji said | December 20th 2011 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      Will Sinclair,

      In India there are many religions, politicians and languages which divide them. Cricket unites them. Cricketers like Gavaskar, Kapil, Prasanna, Bedi, Chandra, Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS, Dhoni — especially Tendulkar — have united them. Isn’t that a meaningful contribution to society?

      Steve Waugh also deserves a Bharat Ratna for what he is doing for the poor in India.
      He said a few years ago, “Take away Don Bradman and Tendulkar is next one up.” Some one added, “Take away Mohandas Gandhi and Sachin is the next one up.”
      Sachin is indeed an inspiration, and not only to Indians.
      Ponting told me last month during the Season Launch at the SCG that Tendulkar is an inspiration to him.

    • December 20th 2011 @ 11:31am
      Seano said | December 20th 2011 @ 11:31am | ! Report

      As an Aussie (and I’m guessing your Indian) I still find it hard to fathom that we talk about Sachin an Ricky in the same breath as Lara! Lara did what he did in a rubbish team, his record is far better. Ricky had langer Hayden boof ect, Sachin had dravid, vvs, ect! Lara is second to bradman in my book an the best I have ever seen.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • December 20th 2011 @ 4:41pm
        Sind said | December 20th 2011 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

        Surprising though this may sound , Lara’s stats are actually better in the 2000s than the ’90s. The WI team were far worse in the 2000s.
        The WI team was far superior through most of the ’90s than the Indian team.In every department. (Esp. away. The Indian teams record esp. away in the ’90s is a pathetic joke).
        Actually till end 2002 Lara avg. less than 50.
        The last few years of his career, with the WI in shambles he had his best prolonged run ever.
        So much for the stats of a good batsman being affected in a poor team.

        As rgds the Indian team ,the Dravids,Laxmans etc only really came into their own in the 2000s.
        Conversely Tendulkar does better in the ’90s than the 2000s !

        Go figure.

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