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Virat Kohli Is Up Against History In Matching Sachin Tendulkar’s 100 Hundreds

The way he is batting these days, Virat Kohli makes hundreds for breakfast. On November 20, he became only the eighth batsman in the history of the sport to reach 50 international hundreds. The next two innings he played in the ongoing test series against Sri Lanka, he added two more—that too double hundreds.

He is in imperious form. He is hungry to write and rewrite history. He has the focus. He has the fitness.

Still, the summit of hundreds, on whose perch Sachin Tendulkar sits alone by a long, long way is a long and arduous journey away. And, in order to reach there, Kohli will have to do things that most others who have tried to make that journey have failed to.

It comes down to a tale of two halves. These top centurions were more productive in the first half of their career than their second. All barring one, and we will come to this exception.

The graph below shows the age at which the top three centurions (Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Kumar Sangakkara) and two current players (Kohli and Hashim Amla) have scored their centuries.

Look at Tendulkar’s line (colored blue). It starts before everyone else’s: he debuted the youngest. It extends beyond everyone else: he played the longest. It rises the highest: he has the most hundreds. It is always above everyone else’s: at every age, Tendulkar had more hundreds.

Virat Kohli is 29 today. At that age, Tendulkar had 65 hundreds, 15 more than Kohli. Tendulkar played for nine more years, during which he amassed another 35 hundreds—a lower rate of accumulation. Similarly, Ricky Ponting, who finished with 71 hundreds, added 36 hundreds between the age of 29 and 37, when he retired.

The one exception to this was Kumar Sangakkara. He was a rare top batsman who became more prolific with age and went out in considerable style. Sangakkara played till the age of 37. And between 29 years and 37 years, he racked up 43 hundreds.

For Kohli to overhaul Tendulkar’s record of 100 hundreds, he will need to play as long as Tendulkar and do so with the accumulation prowess of a Sangakkara.

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Why Virat Kohli stands alone at 8,000 ODI runs

In the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy, Virat Kohli etched his name on one more batting record in one-day internationals (ODIs): fastest to 8,000 runs. His journey to this milestone is impressive, as shown by a comparison with AB de Villiers (second on the list) and Sachin Tendulkar (fourth). In the climb to 8,000 runs, Kohli has been above de Villiers and Tendulkar all along. To get here, de Villiers took seven more innings than Kohli and Tendulkar 35 more.

 

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Of the three, Kohli was the quickest off the blocks. By match 13, his ODI average had crossed 40 for good. By comparison, de Villiers achieved that in match 95 and Tendulkar—who wandered in the middle order in the first quarter of his ODI career before finding his groove at the top—in match 187.

 

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Another factor going for Kohli is his command of the run chase: 63% of his ODI runs have come chasing, at an average of 66—a cut above de Villiers and Tendulkar. Yet, Kohli has fewer man-of-the-match awards at 8,000 runs (22, against 23 for de Villiers and 33 for Tendulkar), which is not a knock on his ability to win matches but a testimony to his greater consistency.

 

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Alastair Cook best placed to cross Sachin Tendulkar in Test runs

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

If the England and Wales Cricket Board keeps scheduling Tests at the same rate, if he keeps playing them and if he even maintains his current below-elite clip, Alastair Cook can surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s haul of 15,921 Test runs in about five years. Cook debuted five years after Tendulkar. Yet, he has played 12 more Tests and scored 554 more runs more than Tendulkar at 31 years. He leads other top run-getters by more.

 

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Cook, who is number 11 among run-getters and is the only active player challenging the game’s most prolific, owes his place here less to productivity: he has the lowest batting average among this set. He is more about scheduling, selection and batting spot. An England regular since debut, Cook is averaging 12 Tests a year, against 8-10 for others. Being the only opener in this set, he bats more innings. At his current hit rate of 1.8 innings per Test and average of 46.87, he will need 62 Tests for those 5,233 more runs to the summit.

(Data Source: ESPNCricinfo)

 

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Sehwag, Speed and Simplicity: Five charts from Test cricket that defined the ‘Sultan of Multan’

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

On his 37th birthday on Tuesday, former opening batsman Virender Sehwag announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket, and also the Indian Premier League.

“I hereby retire from all forms of international cricket and from the Indian Premier League. A statement will follow,” Sehwag tweeted on Tuesday.

Nicknamed the Sultan of Multan for his triple century against Pakistan in April 2004, Sehwag was known best for his brilliant hand-eye coordination, and became the most destructive opening batsman for India in all three formats of the game.

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In a career spanning 14 years, Sehwag scored 8,586 runs in 104 Test matches at an average of 49.34, including 23 centuries and 32 50s.

In One-day Internationals (ODIs), he scored 8,273 runs in 251 matches at an average of 35.05, including 15 centuries and 38 50s.

In T20s he scored 394 runs in 19 matches.

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He was usually the one who gave the Fantastic Four of the Indian middle order—Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman—the platform to build their innings on.

But the biggest highlights of Sehwag’s career were the two triple centuries he scored in Tests against Pakistan in Multan (April 2004) and against South Africa in Chennai (March 2008), says senior sports writer Ayaz Memon, who is also a columnist for Mint. “Those two innings showed us it was not only about hitting. Sehwag made it look easy but it also told us about the temperament of the man.”

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It was in 2007, according to Memon, that Sehwag began losing his touch. First against England in April and then against Australia, he did not get many runs and that was the first time he started looking out of touch.

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