Hitting a century is the most delightful feeling that a batter can experience. Over the years, some of the batters like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Joe Root etc made touching three figures their habit. But sometimes, a mixture of lack of form, pitch conditions, bowling attack, luck, personal belief deprive a batter of the ecstasy that comes with touching three figures for too long. 2022 was the year that saw some of the sport’s best go all guns blazing and break this century drought, much to the pleasure of the audience. As we near the end of 2022, let us look at the batters who finally managed to hit three figures after a prolonged period of time.
1) Virat Kohli
22 November 2019 was the day Virat scored his 70th century, against Bangladesh. With just 30 tons to go, fans expected the star batter to continue his consistent services as usual and race to his 100th century in next few years and possibly, break legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 centuries.
But following that, a period of inconsistency followed. After months of battling the first wave of COVID-19, cricket resumed in late-2020. Indian fans had to wait till November to see their favourite stars in action in Australia. Everyone was happy with cricket back in their lives, but something was missing. Runs did not flow out of Virat’s bat like they used to. Centuries did not come every week, every month from his willow. With each passing month, questions were raised over Virat’s form and so increased the pictures of him standing surprised, smiling dejectedly after his dismissals.
Year 2020 saw him score 842 runs with seven fifties in 22 matches at an average of 36.60. The next year saw him score 964 runs iin 24 matches at an average of 37.07, with ten fifties in 30 innings. Though these figures are not exactly disappointing, but such were the standards this star had made for himself that everyone expected him to score tons every time he came out.
Virat was more than halfway of 2022, battling perhaps the leanest phase of his life, which saw crossing the 50-run mark become a struggle as well. At the end of July, he had not even crossed 500-run mark across all formats. At this time, ahead of Asia Cup 2022 in August, he decided to take a break focusing on his mental health. He did not even touch his bat during this month-long break, as he admitted in a Star Sports interview.
Come Asia Cup 2022, Virat showed some glimpses of his older self, raising his fans hopes. September 8, 2022 turned out to be the day when Virat displayed his peak form, thrashing Afghan bowlers all over the work. He ended the match with 122* off 61 balls to his name, consisting of 12 boundaries and six sixes. Finally, Virat had broken the 1,021-day long century-drought and brought up his first in T20Is. This was his 71st century in international cricket.
In November, Virat followed it with a 91-ball 113 against Bangladesh. This was his second of 2022, his 44th in ODIs and his 72nd in international cricket. This hundred proved to be a landmark one as he surpassed Australian legend Ricky Ponting in terms of centuries scored. Though he did not score any more tons this year, these two quickfire tons gave fans a trailer of what could follow in 2022.
2) Steve Smith
This Australian batter is one of the leading Test cricketers of this generation, in conversation with likes of Virat Kohli, England’s Joe Root, and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, with who he collectively forms this “Fab Four”. But this flashy, unorthodox batter also struggled for century for a long time.
After smashing 131 against India in January 2021, Smith’s numbers faced a dip. In 26 innings that followed, Smith scored 863 runs at an average of 35.95, with eight half-centuries. The man who is perhaps Australia’s greatest Test batter after legendary Donald Bradman was proven to be invincible.
However, the eighth day of July 2022 was different. Smith was battling Sri Lankan bowling attack in subcontinent conditions. With other batters struggling to score, it was Smith who stood tall. He brought his 39th international century. This was his first century in over 1 and a half years. Though Australia lost the Test by an innings and 39 runs, Smith had resumed his normal service. Since then, he has hit two more centuries, including a double ton, bringing his ton tally to 41.
3) David Warner
Warner registered his 43rd international century on January 14, 2020 against India, scoring an unbeaten 128*. Following this, he went 67 innings without scoring a century. During this time period, he scored 2,171 runs at an average of 33.92, with 20 half-centuries, which also included many chances to get his 44th ton.
Finally on November 22, 2022, Warner broke his century brought after 1,043 days. He scored a fluent 106 against England in the 3rd ODI of the series, which the Aussies won.
4) Cheteshwar Pujara
This is the longest century drought in the list, which has a lot to do with the fact that this middle-order veteran plays only Test cricket. Pujara had last hit a century on January 3, 2019, smashing 193 against Australia. Following this marvelous innings, Pujara’s century drought started. For the rest of the 2019, he scored 314 innings in 10 innings at an average of 31.40, with four half-centuries.
Pujara struggled for most of 2020 and 2021. In 18 Test matches in this time period, he scored 865 runs in 34 innings, with seven half-centuries at a sub-par average of 26.21.
After two years of sub-par form, Pujara had a stint in county cricket for Sussex this year. In his eight matches for Sussex during the County Championship, he scored 1,094 runs at an average of 109.40. He scored five hundred-plus scores in the championship in 13 innings, with the best score of 231. He was the fourth-highest run-scorer in the championship.
The day of December 14 this year, Pujara finally brought his 1,443 day long century drought, scoring 102* against Bangladesh, which was his 19th international cricket ton. Though his stastistics consisting of over 7,000 Test runs and 19 tons do not capture his full greatness, fans of Indian cricket will be hoping to see this batter in full flow in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy next year. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.