Cricket Thought of the Day #2: Is Sachin Tendulkar’s 15921 Test Runs Record in Danger?

by Jun 8, 2022India, Thought of the Day0 comments

Joe Root Sachin Tendulkar

31 Years, 157 days.

The number of days it took both Sir Alastair Cook & Joe Root to break the 10,000 run barrier, incidentally the only two English two cricketers to do so. In comparison, it took the great Sachin Tendulkar 31 years & 326 days to breach that mark.

What a moment. 10,000 runs with the same shot as his 100 at Lord’s. Nasser Hussain, as he always does, chose the best possible words to sum it up,

“10,000 Test Runs for Joe Root. He joins the pantheon of all-time great batters and he does it, as ever, with a smile on his face.”

– Nasser hussain

The Tale of Three Legends—Joe Root, Sachin Tendulkar, and Alastair Cook

By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 06/08/2022

Root’s Run

What’s better? Since his debut, it has only taken Root 9 years & 171 days to achieve this landmark. In comparison, Jayawardene-Tendulkar-Gavaskar took about 14-15 years after their debuts and Younis-Chanderpaul about 17-18 years (And yes yes, you’re right. Root took 218 innings, Cook took 229, and England play more Tests than anybody else, but that is another story).

Joe Root is definitely in the prime of his career. There was a time when Root was going to be uprooted from the Fab 4. With Root inability to convert fifties into hundreds, Babar Azam’s glorious entry, Kane Williamson’s prime, & the god-level cricket Steven Smith & Virat Kohli were producing between 2016-2018, surely Root’s status was being questioned.

Post the pandemic, Smith, Kohli, and Williamson’s needles have barely moved, both in terms of runs and hundreds.

Joe Root, on the other hand, has been on a different level. 21 Tests, 41 innings, 9 hundreds, 4 fifties, 56.23 average since January 2021. And these 9 hundreds include 5 daddy hundreds—228, 218, 186, 180*, and 153. The fact that he did this as England’s Test captain, when they only won 1 out of 17 Tests, in conditions such as Sri Lanka, India, West Indies, and Australia makes his run even more unbelievable.

So naturally the question arises. In the prime of his career, relieved of captaincy pressure, with possibly another 5-10 years ahead of him, can Joe Root break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 15,921 Test runs?

Sir Alastair Cook

Let’s come back to Alastair Cook for a moment.

Cook scored his first hundred at at the age of 21. In the next 7 years, he racked up 25 total. In his prime, his record read:

  • 2009: 3 Tons
  • 2010: 5
  • 2011: 4
  • 2012: 4
  • 2013: 2

Tons in overseas Ashes win & subcontinental hundreds, Cook was at the top of the world. Even though he slowed down after 2013, by the time he climbed the 10K runs mountain, he had already amassed 28 Test centuries. And he was still young.

It looked like he was meant to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 51 Test hundreds.

But then he didn’t.

He fell short. In fact, very, very short. Not by one, or two, or even 10 hundreds. By 18 hundreds.

Alastair Cook would only score 5 more centuries and retire from international cricket at the age of 33.

Sachin Tendulkar

In comparison, when Tendulkar was about 31 years & 157 days old, he had 33 centuries already.

However, his form was about to take a dip. Between December 2004 & May 2007, Tendulkar only scored one Test century, a 109 vs Sri Lanka in 2005.

Questions were asked. Retirement calls surrounded the media. He couldn’t seem to go past the nervous nineties in ODI cricket. Tennis elbow injuries, Greg Chappell controversy, 2007 ODI WC horror—you name it, it looked like the end for legend Sachin Tendulkar.

But then Sachin Tendulkar had a second wind (almost as long as other people’s entire career). From 2008-2011, he scored 14 Test centuries. That is 14 hundreds after the age of 35.

The rest, as they say, is history.

There is still a long way to go.

As Mark Puttick pointed out, Trescothick scored 5825 runs in his entire 76-Test career. Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh’s most prolific Test run-scorer, has scored 5235 runs after 82 Tests and 15 years.

Root needs 5906 more.

He either needs to continue his golden touch for couple more years or needs to have a Tendulkar-esque final phase.

So, Can Joe Root Overtake Sachin Tendulkar’s Test Run Tally?

Cook retired early not because cricket had left him. He retired because he had given his everything to the game and achieved what every aspiring English player would dream of. He might even have been burnt out.

It was just a personal choice. Maybe he just wanted to give back to the roots at Essex. He is still going strong at County Cricket. Currently standing at 72 first class tons and having a stellar season.

Life is nonlinear.

Unlike statistics on a chart, real-life will have its share of twists and turns. There will be bumps on the road. Us armchair critics just jump to conclusions too quickly. No individual can continue to be at the peak of powers infinitely.

Add COVID-19, bio bubbles, media pressure, mental health, and overkill of cricket, how much can a modern cricketer take?

Only time will decide if Root can overtake Tendulkar. We can just hope to enjoy this legendary presence while it lasts.

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Records are meant to be broken…or are they?

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From the heavens, Don Bradman smiles.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 06/08/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

About Nitesh Mathur
I dreamt of being a No. 3 batsman saving test matches and hitting winning runs. Well, that did not exactly go to plan, but I have since become an avid follower of the game. As long as there is a live cricket, you can guarantee that I will be checking the scorecards, watching the game live on TV, and certainly, discussing the game and statistics with family and friends.

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