Mike Atherton is on his knees after being run out for 99

Atherton got within crawling distance of a Lord's hundred in 1993

© PA Photos
42

Stats feature

Nervous 90s? How about calling them selfish instead?

The 90s are not as hazardous as widely imagined, but they do have an adverse impact on batsmen's strike rates - and dangers await after the three-figure mark

Tim Wigmore |

Mike Atherton clips the ball calmly to midwicket. He runs the first run hard, and then the second. He begins his third - the run he needs to make his first Test hundred at Lord's. Then he realises he is running prematurely. He turns back to the safety of his crease, but slips, fatally. On his knees at Lord's, he is run out for 99: the defining image of the pitfalls of the nervous 90s.

Yet the image is essentially a myth. Some batsmen, of course, do become more vulnerable as they approach their hundred - Michael Slater reached the 90s 23 times, but only made 14 centuries; Alvin Kallicharran was dismissed eight times in the 90s, compared to his 12 hundreds. More often, though, the motivation to reach three figures spurs batsmen on.

The real danger zone for batsmen in Test cricket is not the 90s but just after they have passed 100. In Test cricket's history, 392 batsmen have been dismissed from 95 to 99, while 423 have been dismissed from 100 to 104. While 8.85% of innings that reach 95 end by the batsman being dismissed before he has a century, 10.57% of innings that reach 100 end when the batsman is dismissed before he adds another five runs.

"In short, people are less hungry to bat after a milestone," believes Ed Cowan, the former Australian Test opener. "There's a bit of a job-done mentality."

It is not that batsmen are impervious to nerves in their 90s, but that in international cricket most of them are so good that these nerves are a help, not a hindrance

This reflects how human beings are driven by targets. It is why when people have lost weight and achieved their target, they tend to put it back on again soon after. It is why, as fund-raising targets are neared, contributions become much more generous: not because those donors feel the charity is any more worthy than those who gave earlier did, but because they are motivated to help the target be reached. And it is why teams commonly flounder once they reach No. 1: staying there is even harder than getting there.

There are clear parallels between such teams - like England after becoming the Test No. 1 team in 2011 - and batsmen finding the 100s harder to navigate than the 90s, believes Jeremy Snape, former England cricketer and founder of Sporting Edge, a life-coaching and development consultancy. "It's the same sort of psychology that when you've reached this extrinsic goal of 100 runs, it's very difficult to keep the same level of hunger that you had on the way up to a century."

It is not that batsmen are impervious to nerves in their 90s, but that in international cricket most of them are so good that these nerves are a help, not a hindrance. "Anxiety serves a motivational purpose that in skilled performers will usually lead to increased focus and effort," explains Lew Hardy from the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance at Bangor University. "Post-100, or when any major goal is achieved in life, the performer will to some greater or lesser extent experience a sense of relief and therefore relax." That's hardly the best state to be in when facing Test match bowlers.

Did Tendulkar's 100th international hundred cost his team the match?

Did Tendulkar's 100th international hundred cost his team the match? © AFP

Snape believes that the sheer adulation of scoring a century - the act of removing the helmet to soak up applause, and disruption of routine - can disorient batsmen. "You get distracted by the outcome of scoring a century and that's when you'll start thinking about what people will be saying, how this affects your record, maybe some rivalries with people, maybe what the newspapers are going to say. You start to think about other people and the longer term. The century mark becomes contamination."

This effect is even more noticeable in ODI cricket. Here, 181 batsmen have been dismissed between 95 and 99, but 261 from 100 to 104. The difference is so stark that it not only backs up the notion that batsmen are more susceptible after reaching a century than just before, it also raises the question of whether players are selfish in their 90s, costing their teams runs overall.

Consider Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international century. He took 125 balls to reach 94. Then, just as he should have been accelerating, Tendulkar started batting with all the intent of a sloth. He took 13 balls to get his next six runs - a remarkable go-slow, considering that this was from the 40th to 44th overs, and India were only two wickets down. Tendulkar then sped up, scoring 14 off his last nine balls, but it was too late to lift India up to a match-winning total. They lost the ODI to Bangladesh.

"You get distracted by the outcome of scoring a century and that's when you'll start thinking about what people will be saying, how this affects your record. The century mark becomes contamination" Jeremy Snape

It was a microcosm of how slow scoring by a batsman in the 90s in ODIs can cost his team runs and even the game, by squandering his side's overall batting resources. "I definitely think that milestones lead to errors and selfish batting," says batting coach Trent Woodhill. "The 'alpha' batters sometimes put too much value on their wicket rather than the strike rate."

ESPNcricinfo data of ODIs in the past 15 years supports this theory. In 43% of cases, batsmen in the 90s have slowed down by more than 10% of the rate at which they were scoring between 70 and 89; in some instances they may have done so because of a particularly dangerous bowler, but the numbers are still striking, as batsmen generally accelerate later on in their innings. The trend is slightly more pronounced batting first, suggesting that chasing can make batsmen less immersed in their own individual landmarks.

Some countries are particularly affected. Since the start of 2012, West Indian batsmen are far more likely than anyone else to slow down nearing an ODI century: they decelerate by more than 10% on 58% of the times they pass through the 90s, compared to 34% for New Zealand. The discrepancy hints at a demise of the team ethos - perhaps unsurprising considering that West Indies have not just had an underperforming side but a notoriously erratic selection policy and deleterious relationships between many players and the board, while international cricket has almost become a shop window for domestic T20 leagues.

Slowing down in the 90s - by team
Team 100s No. of times slowed by >10% % of times slowed by >10%
WI 76 44 57.9%
ZIM 29 15 51.7%
PAK 89 46 51.7%
BAN 37 17 45.9%
AUS 120 53 44.2%
IND 147 64 43.5%
ENG 93 36 38.7%
SA 125 48 38.4%
SL 111 41 36.9%
NZ 76 26 34.2%

The burgeoning number of T20 leagues provides one explanation for why slowing down near a hundred is becoming ever more common, even as overall totals are rising. In 2012, 28% of ODI century-makers slowed down by over a tenth compared to their scoring rate between 70 and 89 runs; this year, the corresponding figure is 54%. The statistics support the idea that cricketers believe that ODI hundreds provide greater cachet for their prospects of securing lucrative T20 contracts. Maybe ODI hundreds, and the headlines they bring, are simply a good way for players to remind franchises of who they are. As players are increasingly treated as numbers on spreadsheets by T20 sides, it's hardly surprising that they should start to view themselves in the same way.

Slowing down in the 90s - by year
Year 100s No. of times slowed by >10% % of times slowed by >10%
2012 43 12 27.9%
2013 77 29 37.7%
2014 79 32 40.5%
2015 107 44 41.1%
2016 68 32 47.1%
2017 50 27 54.0%

One conclusion is inescapable: when cricketers declare themselves unmotivated by personal milestones, some might be telling the truth, but judged on their actions when batting, most are patently lying. In the 90s in ODI cricket, many batsmen - whether consciously or not - prioritise their looming landmark ahead of their teams' best interests. And in Tests, their personal relief over reaching a hundred makes them more vulnerable immediately after.

Can this be overcome? The example of New Zealand suggests that a more selfless team culture can reduce - though not quite eradicate - the importance of milestones. "The best thought process is that every run is for the team, and regardless of how many you are or how they come - leg-byes etc - the team is better off," Cowan reflects. "The best players work in partnerships rather than personal milestones." In Test cricket, Snape advocates players focusing on batting time after reaching a century, to get them through the danger zone, and teams clapping 125, rather than 100, to try and change the batting culture, and reward those who escape the tetchy period just after reaching their century.

These steps might be easy to mock, but they recognise that any side able to stop batsmen slowing down before reaching a century in limited-overs cricket, or from losing concentration in Tests after reaching the landmark, could lift up their performance significantly. Yet, fighting the damaging impact that the 90s can have - either getting there, in ODIs, or getting out after, in both ODIs and Tests - will not merely involve battling against cricket's obsession with statistics, but something deeper in human nature.

Tim Wigmore is a freelance journalist and author of Second XI: Cricket in its Outposts

 

RELATED ARTICLES

 

LOGIN TO POST YOUR COMMENTS

  • POSTED BY victoria on | August 1, 2017, 20:02 GMT

    @PRASATH: Good you did your own research and saw for yourself, what I've been telling all you Tendulkar fans for many years now - he was "NEVER EVER" the backbone of Ind batting, before the likes of Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, et al came and made Ind batting lineup a competitive unit in test cricket from 1996/97. Here are figures for some batsmen who played with SRT between 1989/90 to 1996/97, and performed MUCH BETTER than him within that said period: Mohm'd Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar and Kapil Dev. Tendulkar was Ind 4th ranked batsman between 1989/90 and 1996/97. Azhar was Ind real backbone. In the matches Ind lost within that period, both Azhar and SRT batted in 24 inngs each. Azhar scored 839 runs with 4 (100s); at avge 35; while SRT made 700 runs with 3 (100s), at avge 29. Prabhakar (open bat & bowl all-rounder) in 16 inngs made 462 runs, at avge 29; while SRT (same 16 inngs) made 337 runs, at Avge 21. Kapil in 14 inngs made 348 runs, at avge of 25; while SRT made 287, at avge 18

  • POSTED BY Prasath on | July 31, 2017, 19:39 GMT

    VICTORIA ON: I have never lied,as per your comment I think you have read my comments in between the lines. What I meant to say was when Sachin was focussed too much by media or pundits during 1990s (say 1990-96) there were so many batters never played consistently well away India. Then came Dravid/Ganguly/Laxman from 1996 played very well and then flourished extremely well from 2000. In fact whenever Ganguly played as a two down player (that was Sachin's down) he had better average than Sachin but for the team cause Sourav /Laxman had to come further down to play. More than most of Sachin's career whether he was in form or out of form no matter he came to play 2 down. Once the great Kapil said whatever he had scored was Dravid's stuff Sachin never lived him to his so called potential.

  • POSTED BY Prasath on | July 31, 2017, 11:31 GMT

    Victoria on | July 29, 2017, 23:10 GMT = Hi I agree with you. Yes there was Dravid, Sourav and then there was Laxman who had played better cricket they never worried whether Sachin was out or not as you pointed out from 1996. What I forgot to mention was between 1991 -1995, players like Manjrekar technically rated very highlty but was always under performer, Sidhu too good on Indian pitches but was poor away subcontinent), Kamble never lived up and so on, Azhar was fine.

  • POSTED BY victoria on | July 29, 2017, 23:10 GMT

    I am calling upon Ananth Narayanan, the best cricket statistician around, to produce the necessary statistics for the cricket loving people of India, and Tendulkar worshipping fans particularly, to dispel the myth that Tendulkar was ever the batsman who carried the batting for India, between 1989 when he made the team, and 1996/97 when the likes of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid became the backbone of India batting (VVS Laxman and Virendan Sehwag came a bit later). As far as I know, India was always very well served with excellent batting for the 8 years 1989/90 to 1996/97. Tendulkar might have performed "SLIGHTLY" better than any other batsman in no more than 2 matches; but the other batsmen who played with him that time, were never ever dependent on him for a good team score. He made runs when they made runs and was out cheaply when they did. I am tired hearing the lie that people such as @PRASATH ON JULY 28TH, 2017 tell about India's batting in those times. It is all a "MYTH"!

  • POSTED BY Prasath on | July 28, 2017, 14:12 GMT

    * Saurabh on | July 22, 2017, 10:19 GMT = You are absolutely correct but even mid 90s to early 2000s his wicket would mean an eventual collapse this was because other batsmen mostly worried of Sachin's wicket like audience rather than backing their talents, skills. . In fact, from 2003 Indian team was no more a one man army, it was all changed under Sourav's and John's tenure there were number of match winners who have won so many matches from jaws of defeat. Personally, I always felt that Sachin should have retired in 2004 as there was no role for him to play in the 11.

  • POSTED BY victoria on | July 27, 2017, 21:47 GMT

    I notice lots of Tendulkar fans have been critising the author of this article, because he wrote the truth about Tendulkar. But between 2001 and 2016, lots of cricket experts/jurors have met on many occasions, in addition to many brilliant individual statisticians on other occasions, to select the best batting performances in test cricket; but on NO OCCASION has any of them been able to find a place for Tendulkar, even if it's streteched to "100 best performances"! I repeat: "No place for Tendulkar in ANY list of 100 best test batting performances"! The fact that Sachin has NEVER made it in a single list means, "one million Frenchmen can't be wrong! The reason is simple: "Tendulkar never really performed when it counted for his team"! Maybe, he had one or two performances that might have made a list, if he used to "try to WIN" by shielding the tailenders, instead of running to the next end to make sure that he comes "not out" to boost his career average. Wisden selected 54000 innings!

  • POSTED BY victoria on | July 24, 2017, 16:26 GMT

    This article I can easily identify myself with. It's authorship par excellence, when it comes to revealing the truth with the exquisite use of empirical data, to back up unvarnished facts. I still don't understand why some people thought that Mr Tendulkar was worth such high praise. Yes, he has scored more runs than any other person who played the game; but at the same time, he batted myriad more times than anybody who played the game. Yet, apart from scoring the most runs and 100s which was expected of him, based on the many games that he played more than anybody else, there is "NOTHING" in his accolade cupboard to show that he was up there among the real greats. Imagine he has batted in so many innings, yet, he doesn't record a single 'good innings" in the first "100 innings" of All Time! He has never scored a 250, much more to a triple 100 at any first class level of cricket; he has never scored 100s in each innings of a match - a great "Tendulkar" batsman - not "Indian" batsman!

  • POSTED BY raj on | July 24, 2017, 12:14 GMT

    Great article . You really hit a new bottom. This looks more like gully discussion where one of your buddy who cribs on everything. By the way how many times author was in 90's . Don't know. But he surely know that there will not be any pressure on players in 90s . How because he know that there are robots playing. And those are selfish robots. How to sell your article. Put some nonsense against Sachin,Dhoni or Kohli and get some random stats and try hard to prove your point. Anyway there will be 10 people to support ANYTHING against these players . Now Cricinfo articles are started sounding like India TV news (Sorry but I used to read some great articles and analysis earlier) . You should start moderating them like comments .Will my comment gets published .. God only knows .

  • POSTED BY cricfan09021448 on | July 24, 2017, 11:07 GMT

    Nice article. Well it's a known fact that Sachin is one of most selfish players ever. He's always been conscious about stats and numbers. In his own mind, the team has always taken a backseat. This is proven by the fact that he's hardly ever played any match-winning innings chasing. There's always been this joke doing the rounds - that the team always loses when Sachin gets to a milestone. And for a so-called legend and the supposedly greatest one ever, he's not been the one that's see his team through when chasing in a tense match. For the most part of his career, his 100s were scored either in a losing cause or in the games where India is definitely expected to win.

  • POSTED BY victoria on | July 24, 2017, 7:10 GMT

    "Did Tendulkar's 100th international hundred cost his team the match"? This should not be a question. It is instead, an inescapable fact, endorsed by every person who watched that over-hyped moment in cricket's history! Evidenced by such pathetic performances as happened on that particular occasion, and myriad more times, Mr Tendulkar has to be the most overrated sportsman of All Time! He was conspicuously and unapologetically selfish as a batsman throughout his entire career; exposing tail enders and other less capable batsmen to the wrath of ruthless opposition bowlers, on many occasions, in order to salvage a "Not Out" at the end of an innings, to protect his career average, even though his team lost the match on many occasions! I know about 100 batsmen who would have scored at least 300 hundred 100s, if they had batted in as many innings as he batted; and if they had half the hunger that he had for scoring 100s.

  • POSTED BY Nathan on | July 23, 2017, 23:26 GMT

    Not sure whether you want to categorize the article summary as personal selfish for achieving the goal of 100. Take the example of Atherton on his first test 100, if he was selfish enough, he may not have attempted the third run. So much is talked about that Sachin 100th hundred against BD. It may be true, he wanted to get that burden of his mind & shoulders, but to crucify him of being selfish and not playing for the teams interest is STUPID. The argument can be the other way, why not the other batsmen hit the runs and allowing ST to cruise thru? Remember the 175 odd runs he scored against AUS in the ODI match, which was a defining moment and India lost by 15 odd runs. Did he play that game in selfish mode?

    It is not good to argue whether players become selfish when they see the milestone of scoring 100. Rather, the players being human, may feel at that time, they may not get another opportunity to score the magic 100 runs next time, given the unpredictability nature of LIFE.

  • POSTED BY Bennett Mendes on | July 23, 2017, 14:59 GMT

    1. However the batsman has batted to get to the 90's should be continued in the same vein as it has been proven to be successful. So, why tinker with success ?

    2. There are many times when personal goals do align with team goals and that is acceptable - but when a batsman slows down to get from 2 digits to 3 digits, then it has an adverse affect on the team, the outcome and the sport.

    3. One of the reasons why the Pakistan team under Imran Khan was so successful was that he came down hard on anyone striving for personal landmarks at the expense of the team.

  • POSTED BY sriram8370239 on | July 23, 2017, 2:22 GMT

    At the other end stand Rohit Sharma, renowned for his 'big' innings. Rohit very often takes all the time in the world to kick off, taking heavy tolls on the run rate, putting pressure on the other batsmen. In one fourth of those instants he makes up for his loss of strike rate and provides heavy entertainment. But the damage in terms of shift of momentum would have already been done, and the team more often underscores. His 133 ball 150 against South Africa serves as the prime example.

  • POSTED BY sriram8370239 on | July 23, 2017, 2:16 GMT

    One of the best articles published in cricinfo in recent times. A brutal revelation indeed, especially the fact that the player and the fans feel accomplished alike when the set batsman throws his wicket away after getting to the 100, when he had the best chance of carrying his team to a totally secure position. As said here, its just human. But there really are complete exceptions. Virender Sehwag would hit a sixer to reach from 84 to 90, and then 94 to 100 and then 104 to 110, the same hit that would take him from off the mark from 0 to 6. Virat Kohli's intent is never done until he takes the team over the line. It is more evident in tests where he considers a 100 as the just a seemingly irrelevant norm , and even doesnt care to take the helmet off.

  • POSTED BY common3767636 on | July 23, 2017, 2:08 GMT

    Of course they are being selfish. Why would they suddenly become nervous after being set for so long other than the fact that they are within the reach of a hundred.

  • POSTED BY Tests-are-best.Bounderno:6 on | July 23, 2017, 0:33 GMT

    Cricket is unique amongst team games in that each player takes centre stage during the course of a match whether batting or bowling. Although essentially a team game, some place personal success above the needs of the team and can tell you their batting average to two decimal places. One such can have a detrimental effect on team spirit. Scoring centuries is fine but not at the cost of winning a game.

  • POSTED BY rivergate on | July 22, 2017, 16:19 GMT

    Supporting the point about people feeling "job done" at 100. One of the reasons Bradman's average is so incredible is that he didn't stop- 35% of all his test runs were scored after he got to 100. Comparisons- Sutcliffe 11%, Tendulkar 14.6%, Stephen Smith 16%, [fun with numbers- if you played/scored cricket more like like baseball, e.g. making it 100 and out, then Bradman's average would "only" be 65 or so, but that's much closer to others e.g. Sutcliffe ~55. The point being that in baseball there are no "not outs" and the maximum you can score is 1 (or 4 if you count RBIs)].

  • POSTED BY Vimalan on | July 22, 2017, 14:13 GMT

    how to make your articles read/famous in cricinfo? take some random topic, take some random inning/stat about Sachin, try hard to co-relate and then post with his pic on top. you are done!

  • POSTED BY Saurabh on | July 22, 2017, 10:19 GMT

    @ANIL ON : Read carefully and then reply. I have clearly mentioned "in the later days". True, during mid 90s to early 2000s, Sachin was the backbone of team. His wicket would mean an eventual collapse. So his carefulness, even towards the end of the innings was not a problem. But after 2008, Indian team was no more a one man army. In 2013, when teams were piling 300 runs with ease in Asia, a 147 ball 114 was definitely a crime, more so when you have half the batting left. Truth is, he failed so many times to achieve his 100th 100 that it was really playing on his mind in the match against BD.

  • POSTED BY saiyed mohd on | July 22, 2017, 8:40 GMT

    This is where virender sehwag and adam gilchrist come into picture putting team/ nation first rather than personal achievements

  • POSTED BY Guru on | July 22, 2017, 8:30 GMT

    That one time, Tendulkar did put the team under risk. But, it was only a slight risk. It is sad that the risk materialized. But think about it, India was batting first, against Bangladesh, and did score close to 300. You would expect India to have a wonderful 8 out of 10 times from that position (because it was Bangladesh). It definitely can't be considered selfish. It would be selfish if he had done it while chasing a big total.

  • POSTED BY Guru on | July 22, 2017, 8:19 GMT

    Cricket is played by human beings, and those whose life depends on it.

  • POSTED BY bhanu67325088 on | July 22, 2017, 6:52 GMT

    It's OK to get bogged down in the nineties but not at the cost of the team.Reaching the three figure mark is the ultimate dream of any batsman and. it is but natural for any batsman to get nervous as he approaches the magical three figure mark.

  • POSTED BY Amarjit on | July 22, 2017, 4:50 GMT

    On Sachin let us refresh our memories in 2010 when he was not very young he went on to become the first player to score a double hundred ! The first century came in 85 or 90 balls and the second in 57 balls which left a very strong bowling line up looking dazed and clueless.

  • POSTED BY Amarjit on | July 22, 2017, 4:35 GMT

    If Sachin is labelled selfish then no other player in the history of the game was unselfish. His stats speak for them selves. Had he not got howlers in nineties or late eighties the number of centuries would have been many more and he did he ever react? no never, where he could have asked the team Management to take up the poor umpiring with ICC. He brought aggression,grace and team spirit to the field and in the dressing room. He is still an idol for many many across the world.

  • POSTED BY raghu on | July 22, 2017, 3:19 GMT

    As many others i also believe Selfish is such a harsh word to use against Sachin, If he has put himself ahead of the team he would not have played for 24 years and you can easily judge by the bonding he has with the team members that it is not the case. Winning and loosing is part of a game, considering the gap he had after 99, the media attention for 100th hundred, and situation the team was in i think it was not a bad decision at all to take few more deliveries to get the monkey off his back, he could have easily accelerated after that but unfortunately neither him nor others were able to get the momentum in final overs, but still it was a defendable score so as per me blaming him for the defeat and branding him as selfish is not proper

  • POSTED BY Priyaranjan on | July 21, 2017, 23:06 GMT

    People think being selfish is wrong, the truth is that lack of selfishness in sports is dangerous and counter-productive.

    "The 'alpha' batters sometimes put too much value on their wicket rather than the strike rate." Please remind me what is Tendulkar's ODI Strike Rate again? Having played half of his cricket before a team scored 300.

    Gavaskar once said 'good batsmen makes fifties only great batsmen make hundreds'. There's nothing bigger in cricket than scoring a century. When the incentive is so great, the task becomes that much harder. The opposition steps up the game and the pressure increases to surreal levels. To overcome that takes character.

    Sehwag left stranded at 99 as Randiv bowled a no ball. Sehwag said "It often happens. When a batsman is on 99 and the scores are level, bowlers try to bowl no-balls and wides. It happens in cricket." why is this such a big deal? Because century is a pretty big deal.

    this piece is limping on a stump. Maybe Ed is on 90's.

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | July 21, 2017, 18:29 GMT

    This article is incomplete with one more stat which can prove that 100 is very selfish landmark. They might be saying 10% down in strike rate in 90s but we should also see the strike rate of batsman after 100 to 125. I am sure it will be 30-40% from what it is in 90s. Batsman get mentally free after 100 that clearly means how much 100 is important to them. Truth is 100s and 50s are part of stats everywhere and also part of record. Why there is no record of 120 90s of Tendulkar? In reality 99 is counted as 50 and 100 is counted as century. A century might be 1 more than 50 (99) but reward is high. Probably reason why batsman want to reach there.

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | July 21, 2017, 18:24 GMT

    @SATHIS9817239 On same note should MSD retire now as he is also a liability on team. Tendulkar's 100th 100 was his worst inning of life when he really put himself ahead of Country. I remember in 2008 he got out in 90s for 9 times. A 100 means so much to him in later stage that we used to consume 20 balls for his last 10 runs.

  • POSTED BY Siju George on | July 21, 2017, 18:06 GMT

    Discussion on the entire article has narrowed down to whether Sachin Tendulkar was selfish or not.. The scorecards of 18 instances where SRT got out in the 90s would give one an idea whether he was selfish or selfless.

  • POSTED BY Ajay on | July 21, 2017, 17:37 GMT

    @ sathis9817239, I'm not saying it wasn't selfish. I'm merely highlighting the fact that this particular innings shouldn't be used as an example (one of the two, the other one being Atherton's), to highlight the selfishness of the batsman when he reaches nineties. It kinda spoils an otherwise good article. It's merely used a "click n bait" to attract readers as Ravi pointed out in the previous comment. And selfishness can be highly figurative. Sehwag used to hit sixes when he reached 90's. That could mean he was so nervous staying in the 90's that he tried to cross it as soon as possible. In that process he would try to hit big thereby taking unnecessary risks and putting the team under pressure if he got out.

  • POSTED BY anil on | July 21, 2017, 17:25 GMT

    @ SAURABH ON - Your assessment? I feel so. Because Sachin putting himself first than the team has never happened. He would not have continued for 23 years. All you guys who are blaming him and the "genius" who wrote this are like looking at a black spot, size of a 1/20th of an inch on a 100000 mile white board. When Sachin slowed down, what did MSD, Irfan, Sehwag, etc etc do? Was 270 such a small score to achieve for BD? Easier said than done.

  • POSTED BY Ravi Kumar on | July 21, 2017, 17:08 GMT

    Nervous 90s? Check. Selfish? Check. Tendulkar picture? Check. All the ingredients of clickbait? Check. 'Nuff said really!

  • POSTED BY sathis9817239 on | July 21, 2017, 17:01 GMT

    @Ajay ON.. Scoring 114 from 147 was definitely a crime and selfish to the core. Sachin must have gracefully retired from all forms of cricket after 2011 world cup victory. He decided to extend his career for milestones and that left a bad taste in even some of his hard-core fans mouth. His reputation & average had decreased from 2011 to 2013 (Dhoni indirectly called him a liability in the field and was forced to rotate the openers).. Why did he even play ODI cricket when he had no interest whatsoever to play the 2015 world cup?..

  • POSTED BY John on | July 21, 2017, 16:55 GMT

    These are fascinating statistics, though incomplete. However, the headline is clearly not justified. The statistics do not by themselves show that batsmen are selfish and not nervous. Maybe they bat slowly and don't get out because they ARE nervous, then afterwards they relax, hit out and get out. You can have too many nerves, and you can also have too few. Far too many headlines include interpretation of statistics that are not justified by the statistics themselves.

    It was interesting to note that batsmen tend to get out between 100-109 rather than 90-99. But what about 80-89 and 110-119? Maybe the statistics shown are just part of the trend for batsmen that happens because they are tired, and nothing to do with that one milestone. These statistics do not tell me.

  • POSTED BY David on | July 21, 2017, 15:46 GMT

    SATRAJIT INDU : I take your point, and 99.9% of the time of course a player should put the team first. But I don't see how Tendulkar being 'selfish' enough to score 100 international centuries over the course of his career particularly harmed India. It's a question sometimes of priorities: in 50 years' time, we'll still be talking about Tendulkar's milestone - the issue over whether India qualified for the final of the Asia cup that year will be long forgotten.

  • POSTED BY Ramon on | July 21, 2017, 15:40 GMT

    Consider Alvin Kallicharran reaching the nineties 20 times in 66 tests and scoring only 12 centuries. Imagine that when he got out 8 times in the 90s he was batting in a way that best suited his team's interests. Now, imagine that he had converted those eight 90s into 100s by slowing down his scoring and taking fewer chances without regard for his team's situation. What do do you think would have brought him more cricketing acclaim, his 8 selfless 'I-put-the-team-first' 90s, or increasing his tally of 100s to 20 in just 66 tests? You know the answer; I know the answer; Alvin knows it and so does every cricketer from a test superstar to a 'hit and giggle' beach cricketer. The difference between 90s and 100s is huge in terms of reputation and rewards. In the big picture, are selfless 90s worth more than selfish 100s? The answer is the key to batsmen slowing down in the 90s.

  • POSTED BY Ajay on | July 21, 2017, 15:36 GMT

    Pointing out Sachin's innings is highly distasteful and disrespectful to him. For heavens sake, do people even know how much India scored that day? It was 289/5. What about the inability of the Indian bowlers to restrict Bangladesh of all teams? (No disrespect, but they aren't exactly Aussies). Or the inability of the captain to control his fields? Or what about Kohli who scored 66 in 82 balls? The team was to blame for that loss. And Sachin was a part of that team. And Bangladesh played extremely well and deserved to win. Sachin slowed down in 90s? Yes. For his personal milestone? Yes. But how many people even get a chance to do it or even attempt it. Nobody's close. Even with today's bats, pitches and OKish bowling. Sachin got most of his runs/centuries in an era where 250 was a par score and had to face Walsh/Ambrose/Wasim/Waqar/Murali/Saqlian/Warne/Mcgrath/Sohaib/Lee et al. Can someone honestly tell any of today's bowlers are in the same category as any mentioned above?

  • POSTED BY Satrajit Indu on | July 21, 2017, 14:42 GMT

    @David On: In cricket we definitely DO NOT celebrate the individuals over the team's success. A Virat Kohli hundred will not please an Indian fan if India end up losing a big final. As for Sachin, he was always a very milestone oriented cricketer as he always slowed down before an approaching milestone. For all his achievements and dedication towards Indian cricket, this is one negative that would always be held against him. And THAT GAME against Bangladesh was not an inconsequential game, we failed to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup, because we lost that game! NO GAME is inconsequential! Such excuses are the reasons why Indians seldom develop the Aussie mentality of winning at all costs (I don't like the sledging and mental disintegration chapter of it; but the mentality is admirable).

  • POSTED BY Saurabh on | July 21, 2017, 14:34 GMT

    In the later days, Tendulkar really became obsessed with milestones. It was as if every time he came out to bat, he was batting for milestones rather than for the team. Most visible was the match against Bangladesh. It would be interesting to see his stats before and after 90s. Thankfully this culture has reduced substantially in India these days. There are still few players who concentrate on milestones, but the nos have gone down substantially

  • POSTED BY Adil on | July 21, 2017, 14:32 GMT

    David, this is exactly the point Tim is trying to make I think. That individual records supersedes team requirements in most cases. And I want to take it a little further, its the batsmen who are 'selfish' almost every time. Bowlers do not compromise team success and team requirements for individual glory, even if it means one of a bowler taking a catch for other bowler's wicket despite the fact he is stranded on a 5 /Innings or a 10/match haul. Compare Lara/Tendulkar/Ganguly/Atheton/Strauss/Kohli/Rohit/Smith/Root/Cook with Marshal/Waseem/Waqar/Imran/Holding/Ajmal/Murali/Saqlain/Yasir

  • POSTED BY David on | July 21, 2017, 13:18 GMT

    Well it's an easy game on paper, but few of us can contemplate the pressure of expectation on international batting stars, not least in Asia. There will always be this shadow over Tendulkar's 100th international 100. But look at it from his point of view. He was nearly 40, starting to lose his reflexes, he'd been out in the 90s several times in the year leading up to it. It was a record which no-one else had ever got close to, and yet the Indian nation plus the entire cricketing world looked on with increasing impatience, expecting it as a matter of course. One can surely excuse Tendulkar briefly putting himself first to make sure he reached the landmark - in the end, it's individuals we celebrate in cricket rather than teams. And in the end, did it matter a jot if India won or lost what was otherwise an insignificant match?