Dickwella and the elusive century

Updated to 30 Sep 2021

It is now common to reach various batting landmarks but miss out on making a century.

Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella now has a record 18 fifties without ever making a century.

Most fifties without a Test century:

The record had stood at 16 by Chetan Chauhan for 40 years.

And one can make 3000 runs without a century (though coming close with a 99):

Most runs without a Test century:

Dickwella is in second place to Shane Warne here. Chauhan is the only other one to cross 2000. Southee still has a chance to reach 2000.

If you look carefully, most of the players in the above list are wicket-keepers or all-rounders. Laird, Brearley and Chauhan are among the exceptions.

We can also look at the

Highest batting averages without a century.

Here we consider with a minimum of 20 innings batted.

Here, the leader is the lesser-known Pakistani batsman Asim Kamal (who made 99 on debut). Current players are TD Paine and N Dickwella (again).

Finally, we look at

Highest score 95-99:

Of these, Mitchell Starc and Dickwella may yet make a century. Other current players who have a chance include AC Agar (not a Test regular), Dilruwan (MDK) Perera and DT Tiripano.

Some scored 95-99 on debut but never made a century. They include:

MDK Perera (primarily a bowler).

VH Stollmeyer (96 in his only Test innings)

Abdul Kadir

AC Agar (At no 11). But not considered a Test regular now.

Asim Kamal (one of only 3 debutants with 99s). The other two were AG Chipperfield and RJ Christiani who also had short Test careers but did make a century apiece.

And finally:

The longest wait for a maiden century:

A Kumble (118th of 132 Tests)

C Vaas (97th of 111 Tests)

SM Pollock (51st of 107 Tests)

ADR Campbell (47th of 60 Tests)

Chetan Chauhan R.I.P.

Chetan Pratap Singh Chauhan (1947-2020) appears to be the first international cricketer to fall victim to Covid-19.

At the time of his death, he was a state minister in Uttar Pradesh. He had earlier been a member of the Lok Sabha (Parliament).

A quick look at his cricketing career :https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/27619.html

He started on a low key in 1969 against New Zealand. By 1973 he had appeared in 5 Tests without a fifty, and most cricket followers in India thought they would not see him play Tests again. However, strong domestic performances got him a place on the 1977-78 tour to (Packerized) Australia. He made a century in a tour match, 88 and 32 in his comeback Test and was then a regular in the side until 1981. Openers who followed him (such as Srikkanth) usually failed to match his consistency.

He did possess an odd record of the most Test runs without a century. He was the first to score 2000 without a century, and held this record until Shane Warne crossed it in March 2002 and went beyond 3000 until he ended with a top score of 99.

Here is a list of those who crossed 1000 without a century. Many of them are tailenders (including many regular No 10s and 11s) who played enough Tests to reach 1000:

(Up to Jul 31 2020. Does not include the ICC XI v Aus Test).

1000 without century

We can see that Warne and Chauhan are the only ones to cross 2000 without a century. The current player N Dickwella will probably join them soon. But he would probably prefer to score a century and get off this list!

The lowest average here is by JM Anderson (9.68) followed by Waqar Younis (10,20)

Waqar and NM Lyon are the only ones to cross 1000 without a fifty. Lyon has a slightly better average of 12.27.

Chauhan has the most 50s here (16) and is followed by Dickwella with 15 and Mackay with 13.

We take a look at the

Same players ranked by batting averages (for averages above 20):

1000 without cemtury, avg above 20

This table is headed by the relatively unknown BM Laird (an opener), KD Mackay (all-rounder) and TD Paine (wicketkeeper). Chauhan is 4th on this list. There are several other Indian players in this category who averaged above 20, ranging from Surti to Abid Ali.

Finally, let us look at

Indian opening batsmen (who played at least 20 innings at No 1 or 2):

Indian openers by average

The first two names are easily guessed, though you might not have expected Shastri and Gambhir to be the next two. Chauhan does not fare too well here, being 20th out of 28. However he is above some well-known names such as Pankaj Roy and K Srikkanth.

Even non-flashy openers have a place, although they often do not get a long enough run.

Cricketer-politicians at various levels

We are generally aware of international cricketers who have been in Parliament. In recent years, there have been Kirti Azad, M Azharuddin, CPS Chauhan and now Gautam Gambhir. For non-international cricketers there are:

Ashwini Minna (FC player for Punjab), who was a potential Test player in the mid-70s and was tried out against various touring teams.

Ultimately he became a journalist, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who had fallen to assassin’s bullets:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/31556.html

He did play some role in the struggle against terrorism in Punjab. And later became a BJP MP from  Karnal (Haryana) in 2014-19. He died earlier this year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashwini_Kumar_Chopra

Then there is the slightly better-known Laxmi Rattan Shukla, who played in a handful of ODIs in the late 1990s:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/34019.html

He became a TMC MLA in 2016 and is currently West Bengal’s Minister of state  for youth services and sports: http://wbcmo.gov.in/ministers.aspx

(Look around the middle of the list of Ministers of State.)

The last example may be somewhat unexpected. See this clipping from a Hyderabad paper of around 1990:

Asad Owaisi final

Asad Owaisi took 6-79 against Bangalore U.

Look more closely at this clipping:

Asad Owaisi and Prasad

You can see that Venkatesh Prasad, opening bowler of the opposing team, did not do well in this match. Anyway he was to play for India later in the 90s.

Further details of Asad Owaisi’s cricket career are not readily available as he did not play in first-class and List A matches. Some details are mentioned here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asaduddin_Owaisi

(Thanks to Abhijit Sen Gupta for the Hyderabad material).

Finally, there are a few guest appearances.

Anurag Thakur, currently a Minister of State:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/842245.html

Tejashwi Yadav, opposition leader in Bihar:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/344286.html