In cricket, it is a common saying, ‘One brings two, two brings many’! It can be applied to both the aspects of the game which means compiling successive centuries in case of batsmen and picking wickets in a heap when it comes to bowlers. Former cricketers and pundits always advise a player to make the most of the purple patch procured at some point in their career and forever cement their place in the respective team. The major reason behind saying this has to be the uncertainty which comes with playing at the international arena. A player might not always get the opportunity that he desires and thus, staying in the present and concentrating on the task at hand should be the top-most priority for any international cricketer.
While many don’t get what they deserve, there are some, who were fortunate enough to be bestowed with the requisite chance to perform and leave their stellar impact on the game. They were the ones to make it to the highest level on the back of their performances and hard work, but then couldn’t maintain the consistency and their bat remained silent for a couple of years to come after that. To God’s grace, they did manage to break the drought period and be amongst the runs yet again. In the below piece, we look at 5 such cricketers, who had a bigger gap in terms of years between 2 consecutive centuries in ODI cricket:
1. Andy Flower
This quality Zimbabwean batsman had the largest gap between 2 consecutive centuries in one-day cricket. The first of which came against Sri Lanka during the 3rd match of the Benson and Hedges World Cup on February 23, 1992.
Zimbabwe while batting first posted 312-4 on the back of Flower’s 115 which unfortunately wasn’t enough as they lost by 3 wickets. The wait for the next century was too long for Flower as it came against the same Lankan side during the 2nd match at Sharjah on October 21, 2000. Zimbabwe posted 225-4 owing to a brilliant 120 by Flower, but the target wasn’t enough by any means as they lost by 7 wickets and 18 balls to spare.
2. Mohammad Azharuddin
The great Indian batsman comes second on this list with a gap of 7 years between 2 successive centuries. Azharuddin scored the first of this lot during the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka as part of the Austral-Asia Cup on April 25, 1990, where his 108 helped India reach 241-8 while batting first. The match went down the wire as Lanka won it by 3 wickets and 4 balls to spare.
The next century came during the 1st ODI of India’s tour of Sri Lanka on August 17, 1997. Chasing 303 for victory, India could manage 300 courtesy Azharuddin’s 111 and Jadeja’s 119, losing the contest by just 2 runs.
3. Carl Hooper
This Windies all-rounder took 6 years to score his second century, having done it once in 1988. The first of it came during the 6th ODI of West Indies tour of India on Jan 22, 1988, where the Windies posted 278-6, owing to Hooper’s 113, which was way too much as the visitors won the game by 73 runs, dismantling India for 205.
The second one came during the 5th game of a Tri-nation series contested in India on November 1, 1994. The Windies team scored 306-6 while batting first, owing to Hooper’s 111 which yet again was enough as the Kiwis were restricted to 171-9, handing their opposition a win by 135 runs.
4. Stephen Fleming
The impeccable southpaw for the Kiwis, who spent the majority of his career opening the innings for his side, took a gap of 5 years to score his consecutive centuries, having achieved the feat last in 1998.
The first of the pair came during the 3rd ODI of Australia’s tour of New Zealand on February 12, 1998. Chasing a total of 236, Fleming notched up a magnificent 111 to hand his nation a win by 7 wickets and 10 balls to spare. The former, however, had to wait till the 2003 World Cup for the completion of his next century.
It was during the 15th match contested against South Africa on February 16, 2003. The Kiwis while chasing 307, managed 229-1 in 36.3 overs on the back of Fleming’s 134 and won the contest by 9 wickets and 13 balls to spare according to the D/L method.
5. Mahela Jayawardene
The stylish middle-order batsman for the Lankans also took 5 years to reach his next century, having achieved the landmark in 2001. It was during the 5th match against the Windies as a part of a Tri-nation series held on December 15, 2001.
Chasing 235 for victory, Sri Lanka managed to achieve it by 8 wickets and 41 balls to spare, owing to Jayawardene’s gritty innings of 106 off 94 balls. The wait was long for the next one as it came during the 3rd ODI of Sri Lanka’s tour of England on June 24, 2006.
Chasing a tricky total of 262, Sri Lanka batted with authority and accomplished it by 8 wickets and 46 balls to spare on the back of a superb 126 by Jayawardene.