Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group/Delhi
Cheteshwar Pujara has now become the second Indian and the 17th player in the world to score the fastest 1000 runs in Test cricket. This would surely do his confidence immense good. But going forward, more than celebration there is a lot to learn and unlearn from the exalted company Pujara now keeps.
One, the young Gujarat batsman must not take his eye off a key stat: none of the top 20 batsmen in the world who collected quickest 1000 runs have so far scaled the 10,000 runs mark in Test cricket. Interestingly, while run-machine Sachin Tendulkar does not feature in the list of top 20 cricketers to score fastest 1000 runs in Test cricket, he sits by far and wide, on the top of the order with 15,746 Test runs to his credit. Another great Brian Lara too does not feature in the top 20 to score 1000 runs in Test cricket but has the distinction of being the only batsman in the world to score 400 runs in a Test inning.
Second, there is so much to learn and unlearn from Vinod Kambli, the only Indian to feature in the list of cricketers to score the fastest 1000 runs in Test cricket. Sure Kambli would have egged Pujara to scale the 1000 run peak but a closer look at the career stats of yesteryear’s swashbuckling cricketer holds an important lesson: Fifth on the world list of fastest to get to the 1000 run mark, in mere 14 innings, the former Indian left handed batsmen ended up playing just seven more innings in Test cricket. He scored 1084 runs in 17 Test matches he played for India.
Third, apart from his sterling record book, Tendulkar holds the mirror to the world of cricket with his amazing longevity at the crease. This is where the list of cricketers who made it fastest to the 1000 runs mark need to learn from the master: only three of the top 20 world batsmen (Graeme Smith –still playing, Andrew Strauss and Mark Taylor) in the 1000 run club ended their career playing 100 matches or more. In contrast, the little master has already played in 196 Test matches and is unwilling to hang his boots!
Fourth, there is more evidence to suggest that a crackling launch does not always ensure longevity: average number of matches played by the world’s top five batsmen who have scored fastest 1000 runs is only 50. Top on the list to score 1000 runs in tests is Herbert Sutcliffe of England who reached this milestone followed by Sir Everton Weekes of West Indies. While Sutcliffe collected 4555 runs in 54 matches played, Weekes scored 4455 runs in 48 matches.
The Australian legend Sir Don Bradman took 13 innings to achieve the milestone. But, credited with an all time best average, he aggregated only 6996 runs in his 52 outings in Test matches. Another Australian Neil Harvey took 13 test innings to touch the 1000 run mark. He scored 6149 runs in 79 matches.