Mohommad Yousuf has broken a 30 year old record. With his 102 last night, he has scored 8 centuries this calendar year, breaking the record of 7, set by I.V.A. Richards in 1976. In that glorious year of 1976, Richards scored a total of 1710 runs. That record still stands. For the moment. Yousuf has one innings left this year and he needs 47 runs to break the record.
A few notes:
Pakistan has been restricted to a moderate 304 by the West Indies and no time has been lost in the match to date. It looks likely that Pakistan will bat again, notwithstanding a Calyso Collapso (they lost three, including Lara on 51 but have steadied for now).
It is good to see a level playing field for the record. Richards set the record from just 11 Tests. In this day and age, it is commonplace for players to play 15 or more Tests in a calendar year. For example, in third place for runs is Ponting with 1544 runs in 2005 from 15 Tests. Yousuf is playing his 11th Test – the same as Richards in 1976.
Richards averaged 90.00 in 1976 and Yousuf is averaging 97.88 this year.
Through injury, Richards missed the second Test against England, in England in 1976. He scored an incredible 829 runs in four Tests in that series. He could have been untouchable with that extra Test. Richards famous year includes the tail end of the West Indies disastrous tour of Australia.
Yousuf has scored just one double hundred but has had two scores of 192 and one of 191 (in the space of just four matches).
Let’s not forget Ponting. He has played just seven Tests this year so is not in the running for the aggregate (although he has already topped 1,000 runs at an average of 105.8). However, he is a chance for the centuries in a year record. He already holds down equal third place with Sobers and Compton, with 6 centuries in a year. In fact, Ponting has scored 6 centuries in a year three times (2003, 2005 and 2006). Ponting has two more Tests for the year and is up against a bowling attack that is ripe for plunder. Sorry, I could not restrain myself.
Ponting’s favourite grounds statistically are Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane where he averages 84, 75 and 76 respectively. At Adelaide and Perth, the locations of the next two Tests, he averages 54 and 56 respectively. So I guess not all is in his favour.