Twice as good as Wally Hammond, twice as good as Colin Cowdrey and twice as good as Geoffrey Boycott – claims that supporters of Sachin Tendulkar can now make after ‘The Little Master’ posted his 50th Test hundred on the penultimate day of the opening match of India’s series against South Africa at Centurion Park.
These claims might lead to a certain gnashing of teeth and guffawing in Gloucestershire, Kent, Yorkshire and plenty of other English counties, but in terms of making Test match hundreds, Tendulkar’s tally is now more than twice that of Hammond, Cowdrey and Boycott who each made 22 centuries during their England careers.
It`s always difficult to compare players from different eras, especially as the modern cricketer now has the chance to play far more international matches compared with the days when Hammond, Cowdrey, Boycott and many other legendary batsmen were playing Test cricket. So in order to assess Tendulkar’s milestone achievement, let’s have a look at the number of Test innings played by the Indian maestro relative to the other great batsmen in the game’s history.
His innings in South Africa was Tendulkar’s 286th in Test cricket, giving him a record of a century once every 5.7 innings. As the list below shows, only four other batsmen in Test cricket history have a better ratio of hundreds to Test match innings, and only one has a significantly better ratio – and that was Australian legend Don Bradman who had the remarkable achievement of a century every 2.76 innings.
Ratio of hundreds to innings in Test cricket (qualification – 15 or more hundreds)
The other three to surpass Tendulkar’s record are Clyde Walcott who played 44 Tests for the West Indies between 1948 and 1960, his colleague Everton Weekes who appeared 48 times for the West Indies from 1948 until 1958, and Yorkshire’s Herbert Sutcliffe who won 54 caps for England between 1924 and 1935.
But to maintain this strike-rate of hundreds in as many innings as played by Walcott, Weekes, Sutcliffe put together – as Tendulkar has done – is a truly phenomenal achievement, One will never know if these two W`s, and one of Yorkshire’s finest, would have maintained their hundred-making ratios had they played in more Test matches. The same could be said about Bradman, but everything about his glittering career either side of the Second World War indicated that he would have maintained this remarkable ratio had the Australian had an opportunity to bat more times in Test cricket.
So, with more Test match hundreds than any other batsmen in the history of the game, and a hundred-making ratio significantly surpassed by just one other batting great, Sachin Tendulkar is truly ‘The Little Master’ and, in case you were wondering, Hammond’s hundred-making ratio was 6.36, Cowdrey’s 8.54 and Boycott’s 8.77.