The first English cricketer to be given a Peerage was Colin Cowdrey. He was also the first cricketer to make it to the 100-Test men list.
While the first Test match was played in 1877, it took 91 years before a cricketer would play 100 Tests – Cowdrey reached this mark playing against Australia in July 1968.
In the next 48 years,however, there have been 65 more cricketers to achieve this monumental feat.
Quite obviously, many legends of the game, including several from India, feature in the list. Let’s have a look at them and also some more aspects of this huge achievement of cricket longevity.
England, Australia Lead 100-Test Men List
It may be noted that all the eight major cricket playing countries have cricketers with 100 Tests. The two traditional powerhouses England and Australia lead the pack with 14 and 12100-Test men respectively.
The 14 Englishmen on the list are:
The 12 Aussies who have played 100 Tests are:
Indians Who Have Played 100 Tests
India has produced 10 such “centurians”. They are:
Test “Centurians” From Other Countries
India are followed by West Indies and South Africa who have nine and eight “centurians”.
The nine West Indians are Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, Courtney Walsh, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle and Carl Hooper.
South Africa’s 8 “centurians” 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 five, five and three 100 Test-men respectively.
Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad, Inzamam ul Haq, Saleem Malik and Younis Khan are the five from Pakistan with 100 tests. Interestingly, talismanic captain and their current Prime Minister Imran Khan played 88 tests and is hence not in the list.
Mahela Jayawardhene, Kumar Sangakkara, Murali, Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas are the 5 Sri Lankans while Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Brendon Mcullum are the three Kiwis.
The 100-Test Men By Numbers
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, and number of Tests.
Batting: I am looking at four widely accepted parameters, here, namely, number of Tests, number of hundreds, number of runs and the batting average.
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 played 161 Tests was expected to take this record but he retired 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 again leads with 15,921 runs and is followed by Ponting (13,378), Kallis (13,289), Dravid (13,288) and Cook (12,472). Cook overtook Sangakkara (12,400) in the last Test match 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 firstas well as 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. Among batsmen who played more than 20 Tests, only he and Sutcliffe share this record, which even the Great Don does not have.
A cursory look at all these criteria shows that middle-order batsmen are dominating. Clearly, opening the innings is a more arduous task.
Bowling: Acceptable parameters are number of tests (longevity), number of wickets and the number of tenners/fivers.
Longevity:Shane Warne with 145 Tests leads the pack with Jimmy Anderson (143) Murali (133), Walsh and Kumble (132 each) following him.
Definitely, Jimmy will soon 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.
Number of Wickets: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.
100-Test Men: More batsmen than bowlers
Not surprisingly, there are more batsmen than bowlers in the list of 100-test men. 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 certainly 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 four 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 was the only current player with 90 plus tests. He had played 92 so far but he is 40 and the three-Test series versus England in November 2018 was his last test series. He retired after the First Test which left him 7 short of 100.
Hope you liked this statistical analysis of cricket’s 100-Test Men.
(Ritesh Misra is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer currently based in Mumbai. A man of varied pursuits, his interests include sports, films and music. The views expressed are personal. He tweets @riteshmisra and blogs at thesportsmanwritesaway.wordpress.com)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the authors’ personal views.