Sachin’s 10,000-run Test milestone breached by Cook: Can his record for highest runs also be broken?

No marks for guessing, Kohli is one of the probables
Sachin’s 10,000-run Test milestone breached by Cook: Can his record for highest runs also be broken?
Sachin’s 10,000-run Test milestone breached by Cook: Can his record for highest runs also be broken?

A 11-year record held by Sachin Tendulkar, of being the youngest batsmen in Tests to reach the 10,000-run mark was broken this week by Alastair Cook.

The England skipper achieved the mark aged 31 years 159 days to Sachin’s 31 years 326 days.

So naturally, the question arises whether Cook can go the distance and break Sachin’s all-time record for maximum runs in Test cricket.

Reacting to Cook’s achievement, former English cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham was hopeful about him coming close to and even crossing the pinnacle of 15,921 runs scored by the little master.

Currently, Cook is 31 and has taken 128 matches (229 Innings) to score 10,042 runs at an average of 46.69 after making his debut in 2006.

At the current rate, Cook would take roughly 134 innings (about 80 matches) to cross Sachin’s mark if he maintains his current average. In terms of time, Cook would need around seven years to play the required number of matches considering that England plays about 10 to 12 matches every year.

Known for his fitness and endurance, playing at 38 does not seem unreal.

Here’s a look at other batsmen who could challenge the record:

Joe Root

The youngest of the lot, another Englishman to look out for is 25-year-old Joe Root. So far in over three years since making his debut, his 41 matches (74 innings) have yielded 3,486 runs at an average of 54.46.

Going by Root’s career path so far, Root will take roughly 264 innings i.e. close to another 146 matches to reach the milestone. This implies that Root should breach the landmark in close to 14 years or so. The biggest advantage that Root enjoys is that he has age on his side. So, provided he keeps fit and scores runs consistently, he has a good chance of getting close to the record if not going past it.

Virat Kohli

India’s test captain Kohli aged 27 is in red-hot form this season having emerged as the leading run-scorer with four centuries in the just concluded Indian Premier League. However, his test record is not all that great.

In 41 tests (72 innings), Kohli has made 2994 runs at an average of 44.02.  

Kohli has been around for five years now, and is likely to take another 315 innings (about 180 matches) according to his career graph. This will take at least another 18 years if not more considering that India is only playing 8-10 test matches every year.

So, for Kohli, it looks like an uphill task since he will be well into his forties, if he is still around for that long.

Steven Smith

Aussie skipper Steven Smith is 27 and is another probable contender. He currently has 3,852 runs from 41 matches. He has the best average of the lot at 60.18.

Going by his career progression so far, Smith will take close to 235 innings i.e. 130 matches to score the required number of runs.

Considering that he is playing an average of 6-8 matches every year, he would take at least another 16 years to get to the mark, by which time he would be 43. So for Smith as well just like Kohli, it seems a tall order.

Kane Williamson   

Williamson like Root is only 25 years old and boasts a batting average of 49.23, having made 4037 runs in 89 innings, after playing in 48 tests.

At the current rate, Williamson will take a little more than 260 innings to reach the mark which equates to roughly over 140 matches. Playing nine test matches a year, he would have to wait another 16 years or so to play as many matches. By then, Williamson would be 41 years old and his chances look slim.

Note: All these are hypothetical projections which have been made going by current career averages of the batsmen in question. For all batsmen, their arithmetical average excluding not outs, has been used.

Two important things to consider are form and fitness, which start declining with age. As batsmen start approaching their forties, the three key components of batsmanship i.e. footwork, reflexes and hand-eye coordination become slower, thereby making run-scoring that much more difficult.

For all the contenders, the required number of tests has been arrived at, by dividing the current number of innings by the number of tests played and then dividing the number of innings required by that figure. So while Cook looks most likely to break the record by virtue of being the closest to it, the others still have a long way to go.  

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