A look at Cricket’s 100 Test Men
The 1st English cricketer to be given a Peerage was Colin Cowdrey. He was also the 1st cricketer to play 100 Test Matches. While the 1st Test match was played in 1877, it took 91 years before the 1st Cricketer played 100 tests and it was Colin. However, in the next 48 years, there have been 65 more cricketers to achieve this monumental feat.
Quite obviously, some legends of the game feature in the list. Let’s have a look at them and also some more aspects of this huge achievement of longevity.
It may be noted that all the 8 Major cricket playing Countries have cricketers with 100 Tests. The 2 Traditional powerhouses England and Australia lead the pack with 14 and 12.
The 14 Englishmen on the list are Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Graham Gooch, David Gower, Mike Atherton, Colin Cowdrey, Geoff Boycott, Kevin Pietersen, Alec Stewart, Graham Thorpe, Andrew Strauss, Jimmy Andersen, Stuart Broad and Ian Botham.
The 12 Aussies who have played 100 Tests are Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Allan Border, Mark Waugh, Michael Clarke, David Boon, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Mark Taylor, Shane Warne, Glen Mcgrath and Ian Healy
They are followed by India, West Indies and South Africa with 10, 9 and 8 “centurians”.
The ten Indians are Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Virendra Sehwag.
The 9 West Indians are Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Des Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, Courtney Walsh, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle and Carl Hooper
South Africa has 8 “centurians”. They are Graeme Smith, Gary Kirsten, AB De Villiers, Makhaya Ntini, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Mark Boucher.
Rounding off the list are Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand with 5, 5 and 3.
Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad, Inzamam ul Haq, Saleem Malik and Younis Khan are the five from Pakistan with 100 tests. Imran Khan played 88 tests and hence is not in the list. Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Murali, Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas are the 5 Sri Lankans while Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum are the three Kiwis.
Now before analysing the composition of this 66 let us quickly look at the top 5 batsmen and bowlers in this club taking into consideration some acceptable criteria such as number of centuries, wickets, number of tests etc.
Batting. I am looking at 4 parameters, here, namely, number of Tests, Number of hundreds, number of runs and batting average. I am restricting only to the 100 Test Men.
Longevity. Sachin Tendulkar is the leader with an astounding 200 Tests, followed by Ponting and Waugh with 168 each, Kallis with 166 and Dravid/Chanderpaul with 164 each. Alastair Cook who retired after playing 161 Tests was expected to take this record but he bowed out at the end of the recent India-England series.
Number of Hundreds. Sachin with 51 is followed by Kallis, Ponting, Sangakkara and Dravid who have 45, 41, 38 and 36 hundreds respectively.
Number of Test Runs. Sachin leads with 15921 and is followed by Ponting (13378), Kallis (13289), Dravid (13288) and Cook (12472) Cook overtook Sangakkara (12400) in the last test of his career. Creditably, he had announced his retirement at the end of the previous test, and went out with glory, being the 5th cricketer to score a century in his 1st and last test.
Average. Sangakkara with 57.4 leads the list ahead of Kallis with 55.37 and Sachin with 53.78. Younis Khan is 4th with 53.06 ahead of Lara with 52.88 who just edges out Miandad with 52.57. Interestingly Miandad is the only player in the club whose Batting average never fell below 50 in his career and among batsmen who played more than 20 Tests only he and Sutcliffe share this record, which even the Great Don does not have. Cursory look at all these criteria shows that middle-order batsmen are dominating. Clearly, opening is a more arduous task.
Bowling. Acceptable parameters are Number of tests (longevity), Number of wickets and Number of Tenners/fivers
Number of Tests. Warne with 145 Tests leads the pack with Jimmy Anderson (143) Murali (133), Walsh and Kumble (132 each) behind him. Definitely, Jimmy will be on top as regards the longevity test. Stuart Broad who has played 123 Tests so far is also expected to cross Kumble, Walsh and Murali.
As regards number of wickets, Murali at 800 is ahead of Warne (708) Kumble (619) Jimmy (564) and Mcgrath (563).
Murali also leads the Fivers and Tenners’ list with 67 and 22, followed by Warne with 37 and 10. Kumble, Mcgrath and Botham follow. Interestingly, however, the great Kiwi, Sir Richard Hadlee is 3rd on the list with 36 Fivers and 9 Tenners even though he with 86 Tests is not in the 100 Test list.
More batsmen than bowlers
Not surprisingly, there are more batsmen than bowlers in the list. If we loosely divide the list into 4 categories of batsmen, bowlers, all-rounders and wicketkeepers, we see that there are only 4 wicketkeepers, 5 all-rounders, 11 bowlers and as many as 46 batsmen on the list. Does this mean that longevity of batsmen is more? It would seem so.
Only 4 wicketkeepers in the list would suggest that keeping is a tough job. Mark Boucher, Ian Healy, Brendon Mccullum and Alec Stewart are the 4 on the list. Kumar Sangakkara too is of course, but I have put him in the batsman category as quite often he has played as a specialist batsman.
Currently, no player is near this milestone of playing 100 tests. Rangana Herath is the only current player with 90 plus tests. He has played 92 so far but he is 40 and he has indicated that the 3 Test series versus England in November 2018 will likely be his last test series and even if he plays all 3 Tests that would leave him 5 short of 100.
Hope you liked this statistical analysis of cricket’s 100 Test Men.
The blogger, Ritesh Misra, is an IRS Officer currently based in Mumbai. He tweets @riteshmisra. His hobbies are sports, films and music.
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