March 11, 2010

Breaking down the double

Bat first, open the innings, dominate the bowlers, stay in the zone, be in top physical shape. But also be an exceptionally gifted player
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"I looked to put pressure on the bowlers right from the start of the match," Sachin Tendulkar wrote in his reply to my text message to him after his epic 200. Reading his text made me wonder. I have never got close to scoring a double-century in a limited-overs match. Not even against club sides in England. I have scored a few centuries in List A matches and a few doubles in first-class cricket, but to be honest, even the thought of scoring a double-century in limited-overs cricket has never crossed my mind.

What is so arduous about a double-century that only one man in the history of the game can boast of having achieved the milestone?

There are quite a few pre-requisites anyone who wants to even come close to what Tendulkar has achieved must meet. Since you need to bat the entire 50 overs, or near enough, it's almost mandatory that you either open or bat one-down. Some may argue that even the No. 4 has a chance if the team loses two wickets in the first two overs. But to score a double-century you have to be aggressive right from the outset, and if you walk in after the team has lost two early wickets, chances are you'll be restrained. You'll be required to rein in your natural attacking instincts to play percentage cricket, at least for a little while, and so you will lose out on precious time. If you are to get anywhere close to scoring a double, time is at a premium.

When Tendulkar said he looked to put pressure on bowlers, he perhaps meant that you must start hitting the ball really well from the beginning. It's equivalent to hitting the first ball for four and keeping that up for the rest of the innings. We have seen Virender Sehwag or Adam Gilchrist hit a boundary off the first ball many times. Even I have done it a few times in my career, but that, of course, has never translated into a double-century. So what it means here is that the batsman sees the ball well and his hands and feet move in sync from the moment he walks in.

When a batsman is in top form, he rarely bats against the opposition. Instead he competes with himself to prevent turning over-confident. He must forget he's in great touch and start from scratch every single time

"My state of mind was the same throughout the innings," Tendulkar said. I think he meant he got into the zone early. The zone is like a state of nirvana: a certain stillness within, when everything flows naturally and things around you don't interrupt your inner harmony. You move at your own pace. The results are a by-product of that. Most players manage to reach this state from time to time but it rarely lasts for the duration of an innings. Some achieve it for a few minutes, others for an hour or so. Then you lose concentration and are lured into doing silly things.

When a batsman is in top form, he rarely bats against the opposition. Instead he competes with himself to prevent turning over-confident. He must forget he's in great touch and start from scratch every single time. During the course of the innings he needs to remind himself not to go overboard. Most people don't achieve this level of self-realisation while batting really well.

The lack of effort required to score runs leads to boredom. When the opposition can't challenge you, you stretch yourself. You try to play a reverse-sweep or a switch-hit. And if you pull it off, you try the same against a fast bowler and usually lose your wicket. We have seen Sehwag doing so on a number of occasions. But Tendulkar managed to stay in the zone all the way through and didn't try to outplay himself, which is a very difficult thing to do. Perhaps that explains why no one got to the landmark for so long.

I think batting first is also an advantage when playing such innings because you are not distracted by a target, an asking rate or pressure. The thought of playing a few dot balls doesn't play on your mind as heavily as it would while chasing a huge target. Also, to score a double-century while chasing, the target must be in excess of 350 runs. That means you are chasing seven runs an over, and that cannot be achieved alone. Neither you nor your partner can afford to play dot balls. If he does, you have to try and make up by playing more aggressively than you already are.

"Whatever shots I planned worked for me that day," Tendulkar said modestly. What actually happened was, he lured fast bowlers into bowling full by going deep inside the crease and they obliged. Knowing that the bowlers would target the stumps, he walked across, exposing his leg stump, and dispatched them to the square-leg boundary. Tendulkar made them bowl exactly where he wanted them to.

I remember Matthew Hayden would do something similar. He would walk down the track to fast bowlers, needling them into bowling bouncers. The bowlers who fell for it were dispatched with ease. But it's an art only a few have mastered.

"I wasn't tired at the end. I could have gone on for more overs comfortably," Tendulkar wrote at the end of the text. Batting anything over 30 overs in an ODI is physically challenging. That Tendulkar still had gas in the tank for more tells us how fit he is physically and mentally.

What was most impressive about his innings was not the milestone but how he got there. Some would think a certain amount of slogging is almost mandatory to score a double, but Tendulkar proved that wrong. He started with flowing cover drives and deft touches off his pads and continued to bat that way till the end. He did improvise along the way but didn't play a scoop or a switch-hit because he didn't need to. Getting the front leg out of the way to clear the off side, walking across the stumps to hit balls outside off to leg or using the crease were enough. That indicates the freedom his impeccable technique gives him.

A lot of aggressive players have opened, batted first, dominated the bowling and been physically fit. But all of it hasn't been and will not be enough to score double-centuries in 50-over cricket. I'm not saying this record will not be broken, because it will be. Yet it won't be like the four-minute-mile barrier, which was broken many times. It needed a Tendulkar to break this particular barrier and it'll need an equally gifted and special player to do it again.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season. His website is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY waspsting on | March 13, 2010, 19:14 GMT

    big difference between SRT's 200 and Chamberlin's 100 - Chamberlin's team fed him the ball exaggeratedly so that he could get the landmark (so the accounts say). by contrast, Dhoni took most of the strike in the last few overs - there was no real attempt to 'push' Tendulkar to the mark. If he'd got more of the strike in that last portion, he could possibly have added an extra 20 runs. IMO, Sehwag is the most likely player (among the currents) to break the record. Nobody bats as consistently for 40+ overs as Tendulkar (which you have to do to get the record), but there are a few players who tend to be faster scorers (Sehwag, Gayle, McCullum). If Sehwag bats 50 overs, he'll have a good chance of breaking the record. he's not likely to bat 50 overs of course, but it only takes one innings to get it done. Someone like Afridi scores very fast but is very unlikely to bat long enough to get the record.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 13, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    IMSingular --- not sure what you are trying to say re Wilt. When he scored 100, Philadephia beat the Knicks 169-147 in a home game. Also, Wilt out-rebounded and out-assisted Russell regularly ... he once led the NBA in assists (that too when Oscar Robertson was around). SRT is quite well aware of landmarks but often puts his team first. To avoid getting killed by T20 (witness Yusuf Pathan's 37 ball 100 today), the ODI rules & standards might get revised to make the ODI's run-fests. In that case, 200 might become more attainable that it is today ... in the last WC itself, experts predicted that a top team might hit 500 vs a minnow ... easily translates to a batsman scoring 200+ (or even 250+).

  • POSTED BY IMObserver on | March 13, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    @Alex10

    My bad. Wilt was with Philadelphia, and Philadelphia loose. My point was not that Sachin's 200 was not well deserved. But Sachin tends to slow down, as Viv Richards observed, when he approaches a land mark, and that was the case with 200 as well. But that could reduce the team total. Here Dhoni did hit from other end, but that may not always be the case. Personal landmarks some times may lead to loss for the team. Not that Philadelphia lost becasue of Wilt but they did loose that game. Bill Russel won every time against Wilt when they met at NBA finals mostly because of rebounds and assists: Team play is most important.

  • POSTED BY SnowSnake on | March 13, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    Alex, thanks for mentioning Viv.'s statistics. You seem to confirm that it is not easy to cross 165 twice as only two men (Tendulkar & Richards) in the history of ODI seem to have done so. If I am correct Tendulkar has crossed it four times now. This shows his greatness. History indicates how significant this acheivement is and how difficult it is to break 200 run barrier. Tendulkar and Richards were the best players of the ODI game.

  • POSTED BY groovyboy on | March 13, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Dear Akash, No body can plan a double hundred in one day international match its all about luck. Even sachin or sehwag cannot plan a double hundred, All credit goes to sachin for this wonderfull knock and he deserve it. But it has to be your day to maka double hundred. Even in test matches batesmen never walk to the pitch in mind that he is gonna make a double hundres they plan the innings according to the situation.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 13, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    @IMSingular --- I don't know what is so controversial there ... you may prefer equating 200 with 70 points in basketball. Fine. Also, Wilt scored 100 when he was with Philadelphia (not Lakers). Had he really let himself go for it after the 187, SRT could have scored > 225. (Going by the press reports, in the later half of that game, they were just feeding Wilt the ball. If someone really special plays 170+ deliveries in an ODI on a perfect day on a perfect ground, 250+ is a theoretical possibility) Under the current regulations, I think 225 is a safe record while 250 may be unbreakable. Also, the numbers don't really capture how special SRT was during this innings: almost everything was off the middle of the bat, technically correct, and beautiful to watch.

  • POSTED BY zxaar on | March 13, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    @Alex10, no it was not a threat for the reason that he did not score double despite 146 in 35 overs. There is a difference of 54 runs , that is like hitting another half century. Even sachin himself said, he started to think about possibility of 200 when he was on 180odd and overs were there. 54 runs are too much to start believing that you will finish a milestone. Its like at the start of innings believing that half century is almost sure and it is like in 50s believing that century is sure. in ODIs sachin crossed 50 mark more than 100 times but he only has 45odd centuries. Got the point.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 13, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    zxaar & SnowSnake --- Re Gwalior, I said "venue" and _not_ "pitch". Re Sehwag, he hit 146 off 102 by the 35th over at Rajkot. If that was not a threat to break the 200 barrier, great! My remarks on the size of the Gwalior ground were not a criticism on SRT; I think the 200* was one of the greatest innings ever played. Also, Viv Richards crossed 165 twice (181 & 189*) despite playing less than 200 matches.

  • POSTED BY IMObserver on | March 13, 2010, 2:17 GMT

    @Alex10 "I think 200 is equivalent to 60 points in a basketball game .."

    Well, well, well!! Then Wilt Chaimberlains 100 point in the basket ball is like 333 runs in ODI. Wilt scores 100 points but Lakers loose the game. Bill Russel scored less many times but Celtics won due to his assists and rebounds. Team Work is essence of the games.

  • POSTED BY SnowSnake on | March 12, 2010, 20:48 GMT

    After reading the article and reading the comments, I thought about SRT's 200 once again. It is really a remarkable feat and regardless of what people say, it is very less likely to be repeated. Here are the reasons. 1. In 50/50 format, assuming 2 batsman with equal exposure, a batsman has to score 8 runs/over in 25 overs and not get out. That is impressive average. Even in T20 an average score of 8 runs per over is not very easy to attain. Now imagine doing this for 25 overs <b>without</b> losing a wicket. 2. Believe it or not T20 will make it rare for someone to score a 200 in ODI. Scoring a 200 in ODI requires combination of hitting and endurance (not getting out). 3. SRT has crossed a threshold of 165 three times before he got to 200. I don't know anyone else who has crossed 165 even 2 times.

    Believe it or not, it was a rare event. With T20 cricket encouraging lower endurance and high strike rate, it may end up becoming an unbreakable record. Thank you Tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY waspsting on | March 13, 2010, 19:14 GMT

    big difference between SRT's 200 and Chamberlin's 100 - Chamberlin's team fed him the ball exaggeratedly so that he could get the landmark (so the accounts say). by contrast, Dhoni took most of the strike in the last few overs - there was no real attempt to 'push' Tendulkar to the mark. If he'd got more of the strike in that last portion, he could possibly have added an extra 20 runs. IMO, Sehwag is the most likely player (among the currents) to break the record. Nobody bats as consistently for 40+ overs as Tendulkar (which you have to do to get the record), but there are a few players who tend to be faster scorers (Sehwag, Gayle, McCullum). If Sehwag bats 50 overs, he'll have a good chance of breaking the record. he's not likely to bat 50 overs of course, but it only takes one innings to get it done. Someone like Afridi scores very fast but is very unlikely to bat long enough to get the record.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 13, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    IMSingular --- not sure what you are trying to say re Wilt. When he scored 100, Philadephia beat the Knicks 169-147 in a home game. Also, Wilt out-rebounded and out-assisted Russell regularly ... he once led the NBA in assists (that too when Oscar Robertson was around). SRT is quite well aware of landmarks but often puts his team first. To avoid getting killed by T20 (witness Yusuf Pathan's 37 ball 100 today), the ODI rules & standards might get revised to make the ODI's run-fests. In that case, 200 might become more attainable that it is today ... in the last WC itself, experts predicted that a top team might hit 500 vs a minnow ... easily translates to a batsman scoring 200+ (or even 250+).

  • POSTED BY IMObserver on | March 13, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    @Alex10

    My bad. Wilt was with Philadelphia, and Philadelphia loose. My point was not that Sachin's 200 was not well deserved. But Sachin tends to slow down, as Viv Richards observed, when he approaches a land mark, and that was the case with 200 as well. But that could reduce the team total. Here Dhoni did hit from other end, but that may not always be the case. Personal landmarks some times may lead to loss for the team. Not that Philadelphia lost becasue of Wilt but they did loose that game. Bill Russel won every time against Wilt when they met at NBA finals mostly because of rebounds and assists: Team play is most important.

  • POSTED BY SnowSnake on | March 13, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    Alex, thanks for mentioning Viv.'s statistics. You seem to confirm that it is not easy to cross 165 twice as only two men (Tendulkar & Richards) in the history of ODI seem to have done so. If I am correct Tendulkar has crossed it four times now. This shows his greatness. History indicates how significant this acheivement is and how difficult it is to break 200 run barrier. Tendulkar and Richards were the best players of the ODI game.

  • POSTED BY groovyboy on | March 13, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Dear Akash, No body can plan a double hundred in one day international match its all about luck. Even sachin or sehwag cannot plan a double hundred, All credit goes to sachin for this wonderfull knock and he deserve it. But it has to be your day to maka double hundred. Even in test matches batesmen never walk to the pitch in mind that he is gonna make a double hundres they plan the innings according to the situation.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 13, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    @IMSingular --- I don't know what is so controversial there ... you may prefer equating 200 with 70 points in basketball. Fine. Also, Wilt scored 100 when he was with Philadelphia (not Lakers). Had he really let himself go for it after the 187, SRT could have scored > 225. (Going by the press reports, in the later half of that game, they were just feeding Wilt the ball. If someone really special plays 170+ deliveries in an ODI on a perfect day on a perfect ground, 250+ is a theoretical possibility) Under the current regulations, I think 225 is a safe record while 250 may be unbreakable. Also, the numbers don't really capture how special SRT was during this innings: almost everything was off the middle of the bat, technically correct, and beautiful to watch.

  • POSTED BY zxaar on | March 13, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    @Alex10, no it was not a threat for the reason that he did not score double despite 146 in 35 overs. There is a difference of 54 runs , that is like hitting another half century. Even sachin himself said, he started to think about possibility of 200 when he was on 180odd and overs were there. 54 runs are too much to start believing that you will finish a milestone. Its like at the start of innings believing that half century is almost sure and it is like in 50s believing that century is sure. in ODIs sachin crossed 50 mark more than 100 times but he only has 45odd centuries. Got the point.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 13, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    zxaar & SnowSnake --- Re Gwalior, I said "venue" and _not_ "pitch". Re Sehwag, he hit 146 off 102 by the 35th over at Rajkot. If that was not a threat to break the 200 barrier, great! My remarks on the size of the Gwalior ground were not a criticism on SRT; I think the 200* was one of the greatest innings ever played. Also, Viv Richards crossed 165 twice (181 & 189*) despite playing less than 200 matches.

  • POSTED BY IMObserver on | March 13, 2010, 2:17 GMT

    @Alex10 "I think 200 is equivalent to 60 points in a basketball game .."

    Well, well, well!! Then Wilt Chaimberlains 100 point in the basket ball is like 333 runs in ODI. Wilt scores 100 points but Lakers loose the game. Bill Russel scored less many times but Celtics won due to his assists and rebounds. Team Work is essence of the games.

  • POSTED BY SnowSnake on | March 12, 2010, 20:48 GMT

    After reading the article and reading the comments, I thought about SRT's 200 once again. It is really a remarkable feat and regardless of what people say, it is very less likely to be repeated. Here are the reasons. 1. In 50/50 format, assuming 2 batsman with equal exposure, a batsman has to score 8 runs/over in 25 overs and not get out. That is impressive average. Even in T20 an average score of 8 runs per over is not very easy to attain. Now imagine doing this for 25 overs <b>without</b> losing a wicket. 2. Believe it or not T20 will make it rare for someone to score a 200 in ODI. Scoring a 200 in ODI requires combination of hitting and endurance (not getting out). 3. SRT has crossed a threshold of 165 three times before he got to 200. I don't know anyone else who has crossed 165 even 2 times.

    Believe it or not, it was a rare event. With T20 cricket encouraging lower endurance and high strike rate, it may end up becoming an unbreakable record. Thank you Tendulkar.

  • POSTED BY waspsting on | March 12, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    I don't understand the critics of the 200... obviously, the highest score in just about anything will be scored on a flat pitch, small ground and against weak opposition (easier to score on flat than lively pitch, on smaller than bigger ground and against weak than strong opposition - put them all together and OBVIOUSLY the HIGHEST SCORE will probably be made when everything is in batsmens favor).

    Tendulkar's record misses one componenet - the opposition was strong. That makes his record more impressive then if it had been scored against Bangladesh.

    what do these critics expect - for him to score 200 against Australia on a green wicket with 100 yard boundaries? if he could do that, then we'd wonder why he doesn't score 220 against Bangladesh on a flat pitch and small ground!

    Its COMPLETELY ABSURD.

    I'm not a fan of the hyperbola of ranking Tendulkar greater than Bradman etc.... but his critics are being just as silly as his fanatical critics.

  • POSTED BY SnowSnake on | March 12, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    Alex10 and Hassan.Farooqui are two people who run their mouth without thinking. What does Kapils 175 has to do with Sachin's 200. Kapil did not make a 200. What does small ground has to do with Sachin's 200? Sachin only hit 3-sixes. It is not like he hit 15, where small ground size could have played a role. Someone was saying 200 in T20, that is 200 in 10 overs (assuming 50/50 division between 2 batsman). Does anyone even think before they open their mouth/type? Sachin's 200 is a true achievement for many reasons, most of them are mentioned in the article. Additional one that I can think of is the support from other batsman that kept pressure off Sachin. Scoring 200 is rare in ODI because for someone to score 200: 1) The team total has to exceed 400, 2)Team should not get all out before 400, 3) if team is chasing it should be chasing a total of over 400, 4) A batsman has to score 8 runs/over for at least 25 overs. The mathematical probability of scoring a 200 is very small.

  • POSTED BY zxaar on | March 12, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    @ Alex10 your post shows how little you know about cricket. 1. You say pitches like gwalier, do you know that previous highest on that ground was less than 300. (279 i think). Do you also know that sehwag never threaten 200 in odi because his name never occurs in list of 150+ scorers in odi. yes, 200 is breakable, but you never explained why it never happened so far??? If it is so gettable, why never happened so far. I can bet you will never see 200 in next 5 years (barring sachin repeating it).

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 12, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    Netaji_121_, perhaps you need a sotya!! I have not judged SRT or his batting, and think the 200* is a terrific achievement ... if he does match/better Bradman's record of centuries in 6 successive tests, that will be a well-deserved record. The point is that if venues for a majority of the ODI matches world-wide become Gwalior-like, we may see more batsmen crossing the 200 mark in future, esp. as T20 becomes more popular. Last year itself, that barrier was threatened twice by SRT (once on a big ground, viz., Hyderabad), once by Sehwag, once by Coventry, and once by Dilshan ... in the famous Aus-SA match, which had similar conditions, both Ponting & Gibbs were on course to shatter the 200 barrier. So, 200 is not unbreakable but needs someone really special on a near perfect day in a near perfect setting. To me, that actually makes SRT's record more meaningful unlike Lara's 400* which is as off-beat and bizzare as Chamberlain's 100 points.

  • POSTED BY SatyajitM on | March 12, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    There is a beautiful tribute from Brian Lara today for Sachin "If I had a son, I would want him to bat like Sachin". This is a great tribute from a great batsman. Unlike some of their fans, these two greats have a healthy respect for each other and are friends. When these two burst into the scene in the early ninetees the world immediately recognized them as two future greats of their era. They remained a cut above the rest in this era in terms of batsmanship. While both have been equally talented Sachin goes ahead of Lara in terms of achievements. While Lara had been the moody artist, Sachin is unparalleled in his devotion to the game. This is something Lara recognizes and appreciates!

  • POSTED BY zxaar on | March 12, 2010, 9:17 GMT

    "Ask Steven last week pointed out that ten players have broken that barrier in the past."

    have all these players scored double in men's international ODIs??? Do you understand the meaning of context??. Off course when someone says no man has done it, here i assume we are talking about men's international ODIs. Otherwise you can count numerous doubles scored at club levels. Common sense is not so common.

  • POSTED BY sotya on | March 12, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    I have read few comments over here which mention ground being small or outfield being fast.If we start to scrutinize every personal achievement like this then many achievements would be undermined. If a bowler takes 5 wickets on a Pacy Australian /SA/WI/NZ pitch no one ever even thinks of raising question of value of that five for. They go down as a excellent personal achievement and nothing else. when overcast conditions help swing bowlers, the value of wicket that they take remains same and many experts go on record saying "great demonstration of swing bowling in overcast conditions" but no one says this 5-wicket haul was not so impressive because pitch was assisting fast bowlers. Then why it should be different for batsmen? Good Batting pitch,fast outfield should not really be the factors to judge such a great inning. There are always two ways of looking at the white board with a black dot some choose to see only the black dot but that doesn't mean board is not white.

  • POSTED BY Netaji_121 on | March 12, 2010, 5:55 GMT

    Alex 10 seems to be someone with very less cricketing sense & like ian chappel he cant digest Sachin's success...but unfortunately sachin is slapping both Ian & Alex in every match he is playing mow, with a new record... :-)...Long Live Sachin tendulkar....

  • POSTED BY joey81 on | March 12, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    Who will b the next "equally gifted and special player" ?

  • POSTED BY zxaar on | March 12, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    for those who say, now it is easier to score double, what will you do if no-one scored another double in coming say 1 or 2 years. The only person who looks like capable of scoring another is sachin himself. As for those who say scoring in india is easy and have a look at how the same batsman have done outside india. For example sachin averages higher in australia than india. Are you suggesting that aussie pitches are much more flat than indian ones. And is SA has the flatest of pitches where 430+ score is not safe. I know some people are after sub-continent pitches, but same time runs on these pitches are made by some of the great batsman (sachin, dravid etc etc) and not by some average player like lara ponting etc (i know some will burn of this line, but shoe is on other foot now).

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 12, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    Thank you for your feedback KVAM. I was not trying to find excuses, but adding further reasons as to how and why double hundreds will be scored in the future. Tendulkar's achievement is great and he himself is a great cricketer. I am very glad he was the first to break the record rather than someone who didn't even play Test cricket or some pinch hitter sent to open the innings.

  • POSTED BY rogues13 on | March 11, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    Awsm article Aakash... @ Hassan.Farooqi... how saeed anwars inning was in any way greater is confusing to me....the bowling faced by Anwar was mediocre, with only Kumble as a world class bowler...compared to what sachin faced....most of his runs came with shahid afridi as runner...i m in no way saying it was not a gr8 innings, coz it was...but to say it was better than Sachins 200 wld be wrong....

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2010, 19:33 GMT

    I think this is comming from some one who is true Tendulkar FAN, delighted to read article. very nice obseravtions

  • POSTED BY gmoturu on | March 11, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    sachin is greatest batsman the world have ever seen period

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    "...only one man in the history of the game" to have scored a double century in limited overs cricket? Ask Steven last week pointed out that ten players have broken that barrier in the past. Not to disrespect Tendulkar's innings at all, but he's not the first player (male or female) to have scores 200*, and he won't be the last.

  • POSTED BY skumarpp on | March 11, 2010, 18:49 GMT

    Only a couple of months ago there was a discussion in this very site I think,who will be the first to get double in ODI and many names came up like Sehwag,Dhoni,Yuvraj etc.Nobody even doubt Sachin will get there,and with a perfect cricket innings he got it at the age of 36 with playing 50 overs! You might see somebody getting there with slog hits with fewer balls faced in future by the impact of T 20,but this one is very special and sweet!And the first one always remembered!

  • POSTED BY santhoshkudva on | March 11, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    it is time icc stepped in. limited over matches in india are becoming a big joke. nothing to take away from the batsmen who cash in on batsmen friendly conditions: but odis played in india tend to give them misguided confidence. to me he is THE REAL batsman who is capable of such feats at the gabba or MCG.

  • POSTED BY Rex_Y on | March 11, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    Akash I liked all your articles until now. I never miss out on a single one of yours. You give a different insight. Your points elaborating state of mind during an innings, how people play rash shots when they are comfortable and how using the crease is an art and only few have mastered.... I am waiting for your next article...

  • POSTED BY Hassan.Farooqi on | March 11, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    Alex-10 is absolutely right. I witnessed Kapil's 175 and it was a far greater inning than that of Tendulker's 200. It was a do-or-die situation for Kapil as India faced ouster from WC. Kapil had played a gem of a captain's inning to not only win the lost match, but to march on to win the WC. Even Saeed Anwar's 194 was performed under great pressure. Comparitively, Tendulker was under no pressure to score that 200 or even a 100. Rules are changed everyday and pretty soon you will see many more hitting 200's. Then the bar will be set for 250, 300, and so on. Actually I am waiting for a 200 in T20.

  • POSTED BY crikkfan on | March 11, 2010, 16:18 GMT

    Not sure why Laras 400 is mentioned in the same breath as Sachins ODI 200 in the comments! It belongs in a different league (not necessarily better)- with different set of challenges. If anything for comparison sake, there are no over restrictions like ODI or a need for 140+ strike rate. I would argue that with Sehwags speed of scoring 200 in a day, 400 in tests is certainly MORE achievable than double ton in ODIs. Also personally I devalue a 300 or 400 in test cricket that does NOT lead to a win and ends up as a boring draw. Sehwags triple ton against pakistan ranks MUCH higher than Lara's 400 or even Sehwag's triple ton on a really flat wicket in chennai or Hayden's 375 against the minnows.

  • POSTED BY SatyajitM on | March 11, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Good one Aakash! In fact I am yet to see any bad piece of writing from Aakash! (The best was where he talked about close in fielder's plight). As Akash points out, even in the era of small fields and powerplays a double ton in ODI is not easy and that's why it didn't happen for so long. Yes, it is more likely now than earlier. But history shows there were big ODI centuries (starting with Glen Turner's 171 in 1975) but somehow double was never touched. It will take a mighty effort for whoever does it. The bottomline is Sachin is the first to do it, so others will only be followers ;-)

  • POSTED BY ironmonkey on | March 11, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    Good article again, Aakash. You write very well, and I do hope you will someday compile these CricInfo articles into a book. I would, however, like some insight into some things I have heard cricketers say over the years, but never quite understood : How do you decide if a given shot (an on-drive, say) is playable on the current surface, or against the current opposition? Many players have said that shot-selection is a very scientific process, and I would like to hear your opinion/breakdown of it. Thank you.

  • POSTED BY Sam_Singh on | March 11, 2010, 14:53 GMT

    @ Alex10 If ur trying to say that the ground on which Gibbs made 175 was in any way substantially bigger than the one in Gwalior,or that the outfield was slower than this one, u must be out of ur mind. South Africa has probably the smallest grounds in world cricket, with New Zealand giving them close competition.

  • POSTED BY tapishkushwaha on | March 11, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    BillyCC does mention a new perspective but im not sure mi convinced by those. Heres why,

    1. Tiny Ground - There are plenty of grounds smaller than Gwalior, yet we havent had a higher score earlier. Quick scoring and powerplays have been around for hundreds of matches now. Moreover, it does not even happen (single digit number of times?) in domestic cricket where the bowling is much weaker.

    2. Better bats - Sachin's bat is no more technologically advanced than any other bats in international cricket. Neither is it the heaviest or widest. There is no evidence to say that it has the widest sweet spot.

    3. Bowlers not attacking - Again, this isnt a new feature. Infact there are a lot more slower balls, slow bouncers and reverse swing now than ever. Dont forget, this south african lineup is arguably the best bowling side in the world right now with steyn, morkel and co.

  • POSTED BY bestbuddy on | March 11, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    Gibbs' 175 was hardly at a small ground; the wanderer's is one of the bigger grounds in world cricket, certainly the overall biggest in South Africa. But yes, it was a perfect pitch on a perfect day with a perfect outfield, and if he hadnt been chasing 434 he may have taken a few less risks and gotten to 200...that said, tendulkar did it on a pitch which wasnt as good, and certainly required far less risks than Gibbs took...

  • POSTED BY endzone36 on | March 11, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Thank you for your article Aakash - Here in Australia we didn't get the game on TV, but I just watched extensive highlights of Sachin's beautiful innings. Yes someone will pass the 200 barrier again, but only because they are standing on the shoulders of this batting giant.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 11, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    desibabu90: Kapil came in quite early, a bit before 5/17, during that 175. And it was scored in a 60-over game (WC matches were 60 over affairs until 1987). A lot has changed since then. As of now, looks like a batsman must face at least 120 deliveries to score 200 (going by Ponting's 100 ball 164 and Gibbs' 110 ball 175). That means he must reach the crease by the 10th over, latest --- so, most likely, only a Top 4 batsman has a chance at this record. Still, this is not as out of reach as Lara's 400*, which may stand for eternity.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 11, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    This 200* had a relatively small ground (not unlike that for Lara's 400* or Gibbs' 175) and, more important, quite fast outfield. Under these conditions, it could be argued that, in future, T20 trained top tier batsmen might be able to clobber 200 as regularly as batsmen clobber 150 these days. However, absolutely gem of an innings, no doubt!

  • POSTED BY desibabu90 on | March 11, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    awesome article but as we have seen Kapil Dev come 6th down and score a blistering 175 i don't think only openers are the only players capable of reaching the milestone. Probably 9 out of 10 it will either of the top three batsmen but you cannot rule out some oddity - after all its cricket!

  • POSTED BY Rara_Avis on | March 11, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    @BillyCC.. Well done your the only one thinks differently. And you praise an appeal for that.

  • POSTED BY KVAM on | March 11, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Akash it a wonderful article undoubtedly. It was a like one of your beautifully paced innings. Good job. Reading pleasure for many of the Tendilia fans. Now BillyCC was mentioning about the influence of T20 exposure, small grounds, tech advanced bat etc etc. Let me tell you these advancements did not happen recently. We have been exposed to these factors for quite some time. Recently no batsman has come near to a 200 in ODIs. As fas as Tendulkar is concerned he is the least T20 exposed batsman in circuit. So instead of finding excuses, let us appreciate this mans greatness.

  • POSTED BY manasvi_lingam on | March 11, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    Well, even though the pitch was batting friendly and small, there have been many such pitches before. As Akash mentions, it requires a combination of aggressiveness, discipline, endurance and being in the zone. No better and deserving batsman to get to the 200. Apart from Coventry, every other batsman who has crossed 180 against a non-minnow team is a giant: Tendulkar, Anwar, the peerless Richards, Ganguly, Dhoni, Hayden, etc

  • POSTED BY sld1963 on | March 11, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Dear Akash, What an article? I would say the quality of this article is as good as the vintage 200 the Little Master scored.

    Please keep them coming Sanjay

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 11, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    I think 200 is equivalent to 60 points in a basketball game ... given a really special top order batsman on a near perfect day, a team might possibly plan for his 200 (esp., batting 1st) _and_ win the game ... Viv Richards farmed the strike in the second half of his 189*, arguably the greatest ODI innings ever.

    Even an ODI 250 is a possibility vs quite top class teams ... SRT reached 187 by 43rd over, and Gibbs once hit 175 (in a chase!) by 32nd over itself. In the 200* itself, SRT had a shot at 225 if he had taken more strike (he faced only 12 deliveries after 43rd over) and let himself go for it.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 11, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    I would like to add a different and more tongue-in-cheek slant to this article although I agree with everything Aakash Chopra has to say about how to score a double-century in a 50 over game. I personally think that future double centuries are very likely in this form of the game, and as a result, Tendulkar's will be the first of many. Aside from the author's criteria of breaking down Tendulkar's double century, I would also like to add the following: small grounds (Gwalior is tiny), the introduction of further field restrictions and powerplays (in the past, the first 15 overs had restrictions, now it's a total of 20), technologically advanced bats (everyone knows about Tendulkar's bat), bowlers not focusing on getting their opponents out, and more and more T20 experience leading to quicker scoring in the 50-over format. Tendulkar's double century was good, but history will most likely show other greater, more mighty performances due to a confluence of events that i have mentioned.

  • POSTED BY prasanth.kongati on | March 11, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Very well compile Aakash, But i am sure that no one can implement the same recipe to get that 200 again. They can only follow the recipe for aroma once cooking is done and a good is dish out there ready to eat...

    What i mean is people should only start thinking about it only when they are done with 165+ .

  • POSTED BY Jenilkarthick on | March 11, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Good description of the little master - Good work Chopra. You have got a good writer in you man.

    By the way Mr. Akash Chopra could stop his self appraisal like 'I too have started scoring boundary of the first delivery'. It doesn't make sense. You were a good player with good technique and solid defence. I accept. You did the job of taking shine from the ball while Sehwag was at the crease. But you have never dominated any bowlers in your life time. So please stop your self appraisal.

  • POSTED BY Bharadwaj on | March 11, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    Aakash Chopra's writing is very insightful. Reading such a thorough and complete examination of the nuances and intricacies of the game is pleasurable. There is a flow in his writing which keeps you looking forward to the next line.

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  • POSTED BY Bharadwaj on | March 11, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    Aakash Chopra's writing is very insightful. Reading such a thorough and complete examination of the nuances and intricacies of the game is pleasurable. There is a flow in his writing which keeps you looking forward to the next line.

  • POSTED BY Jenilkarthick on | March 11, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Good description of the little master - Good work Chopra. You have got a good writer in you man.

    By the way Mr. Akash Chopra could stop his self appraisal like 'I too have started scoring boundary of the first delivery'. It doesn't make sense. You were a good player with good technique and solid defence. I accept. You did the job of taking shine from the ball while Sehwag was at the crease. But you have never dominated any bowlers in your life time. So please stop your self appraisal.

  • POSTED BY prasanth.kongati on | March 11, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Very well compile Aakash, But i am sure that no one can implement the same recipe to get that 200 again. They can only follow the recipe for aroma once cooking is done and a good is dish out there ready to eat...

    What i mean is people should only start thinking about it only when they are done with 165+ .

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | March 11, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    I would like to add a different and more tongue-in-cheek slant to this article although I agree with everything Aakash Chopra has to say about how to score a double-century in a 50 over game. I personally think that future double centuries are very likely in this form of the game, and as a result, Tendulkar's will be the first of many. Aside from the author's criteria of breaking down Tendulkar's double century, I would also like to add the following: small grounds (Gwalior is tiny), the introduction of further field restrictions and powerplays (in the past, the first 15 overs had restrictions, now it's a total of 20), technologically advanced bats (everyone knows about Tendulkar's bat), bowlers not focusing on getting their opponents out, and more and more T20 experience leading to quicker scoring in the 50-over format. Tendulkar's double century was good, but history will most likely show other greater, more mighty performances due to a confluence of events that i have mentioned.

  • POSTED BY Alex10 on | March 11, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    I think 200 is equivalent to 60 points in a basketball game ... given a really special top order batsman on a near perfect day, a team might possibly plan for his 200 (esp., batting 1st) _and_ win the game ... Viv Richards farmed the strike in the second half of his 189*, arguably the greatest ODI innings ever.

    Even an ODI 250 is a possibility vs quite top class teams ... SRT reached 187 by 43rd over, and Gibbs once hit 175 (in a chase!) by 32nd over itself. In the 200* itself, SRT had a shot at 225 if he had taken more strike (he faced only 12 deliveries after 43rd over) and let himself go for it.

  • POSTED BY sld1963 on | March 11, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Dear Akash, What an article? I would say the quality of this article is as good as the vintage 200 the Little Master scored.

    Please keep them coming Sanjay

  • POSTED BY manasvi_lingam on | March 11, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    Well, even though the pitch was batting friendly and small, there have been many such pitches before. As Akash mentions, it requires a combination of aggressiveness, discipline, endurance and being in the zone. No better and deserving batsman to get to the 200. Apart from Coventry, every other batsman who has crossed 180 against a non-minnow team is a giant: Tendulkar, Anwar, the peerless Richards, Ganguly, Dhoni, Hayden, etc

  • POSTED BY KVAM on | March 11, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Akash it a wonderful article undoubtedly. It was a like one of your beautifully paced innings. Good job. Reading pleasure for many of the Tendilia fans. Now BillyCC was mentioning about the influence of T20 exposure, small grounds, tech advanced bat etc etc. Let me tell you these advancements did not happen recently. We have been exposed to these factors for quite some time. Recently no batsman has come near to a 200 in ODIs. As fas as Tendulkar is concerned he is the least T20 exposed batsman in circuit. So instead of finding excuses, let us appreciate this mans greatness.

  • POSTED BY Rara_Avis on | March 11, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    @BillyCC.. Well done your the only one thinks differently. And you praise an appeal for that.

  • POSTED BY desibabu90 on | March 11, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    awesome article but as we have seen Kapil Dev come 6th down and score a blistering 175 i don't think only openers are the only players capable of reaching the milestone. Probably 9 out of 10 it will either of the top three batsmen but you cannot rule out some oddity - after all its cricket!