Australian Don Bradman is unquestionably the greatest batsman of all time (52 Tests, 80 innings, 6,996 runs, highest score 334, 29 centuries, average: 99.94) with an average that may never ever be surpassed in Test cricket.
West Indies’ Garry Sobers is unarguably the greatest all-rounder of all time. Batting (93 Test Matches, 160 innings, 8,032 runs, highest score 365 not out, 26 centuries, average: 57.78; first player to hit six sixes in one over in first-class cricket), bowling (235 Test wickets, average: 34.03; bowled left-arm orthodox spin and wrist spin, and left-arm fast-medium) and fielding (109 catches/stumping) exceptionally. The chances of an all-rounder reaching the dizzy heights Sir Garry did are remote, given the heavy toll modern cricket (T20, One Day, Tests) extracts from players.
With Bradman and Sobers being legends in their own lifetimes, it seemed improbable another cricketer could ever match their exploits. …Until the rise of a baby-faced cricketer, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
In a career spanning two decades – and still going strong! – Tendulkar has scaled new peaks to script a 21st Century legend. In 166 Tests and 271 innings, he has 13,447 runs at an average of 55.56 with 47 centuries and 248 not out as the highest. In 442 ODIs, he has 17,598 runs at an average of 45.12 with 46 centuries and 200 not out as his highest – the first time in 39 years of ODIs that any player has reached the 200 mark. Tendulkar also bowls offbreak and legbreak, with 44 wickets in Tests and 154 wickets in ODIs and 3 for 10 his best Test Innings effort and 5 for 32 his best in ODIs.
With 93 international centuries, it’s only a question of time before he completes 100 centuries. How many centuries Tendulkar adds before retiring time will tell. But one thing is certain – any batsman who surpasses Tendulkar’s century of centuries will be a dead-tired cricketer.