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  • Writer's pictureAustin Coutinho

The Art of Scoring Centuries in Cricket

Learn the art and craftsmanship of scoring centuries in cricket. Discover the importance of patience, strategic acumen, physical fitness, and mental fortitude in achieving this coveted milestone. Explore the tactics employed by top batters, including staying in the present moment, counting deliveries, and setting small targets. Unveil the secrets behind scoring big in cricket and contributing to team success.

Scoring a century in cricket is a delicate fusion of art and craftsmanship. It embodies the artistry that allows batters to creatively express their skills, and the craftsmanship that demands flawless execution of those skills.

Young batters must understand that a couple of powerful shots over the cow-corner won't guarantee them a century. Even in the fast-paced T20 cricket, reaching the coveted milestone takes a minimum of seventeen deliveries, assuming every ball is hit for a six and excluding any free-hits. Achieving this magical figure necessitates a considerable amount of patience and strategic acumen.

Moreover, scoring a century demands a high level of physical fitness. Spending hours under the scorching sun, running swift singles and doubles, and powerfully dispatching wayward deliveries over the boundary exacts a toll on the body. Therefore, robust leg and core muscles are indispensable for amassing significant runs, in addition to enduring arm and back muscles that can withstand the duration of the innings.

Ultimately, the success of the batter hinges upon how they mentally and tactically plan their innings. While the skills required to negotiate pace, swing, flight variations, and spin are undeniably crucial, attitude takes precedence. The will to persevere, effectively defend against good deliveries, and capitalize on the remaining ones are paramount.

Most top batters swear by one thing: Stay in the moment and don't think of the end result. A batter, such as the renowned Sanjay Manjrekar, often sets small targets of ten runs under his name in the scorebook and then moves on to the next ten runs. Thinking of a hundred while the batter is still trying to settle down—gauging the pace and bounce of the track, assessing the bowlers' strengths and weaknesses, and understanding the tactics employed by the fielding skipper—can be overwhelming.

The legendary Sunil Gavaskar says that he never looked at the scoreboard, which allowed him to play each ball on its merit without the burden of pressure. It is no wonder that he scored 34 Test hundreds.

One very useful method used by modern batsmen is counting the number of deliveries faced in an innings. The process goes as follows: A new batter at the crease faces the first ball, either defends or plays a stroke depending on the quality of the delivery, and then switches off for a brief moment—perhaps five seconds, even walking a few yards towards square-leg. The batter then prepares for the second delivery, takes a deep breath, says "TWO" (representing the delivery they are about to face), and then settles into their stance. Once ball number two is negotiated and becomes 'dead,' the batter again switches off, takes a breath, and says "THREE," mentally preparing for the next delivery.

This tactic is based on the premise that the mind can think of only one thing at a time. Counting the deliveries keeps the mind busy and occupied, helping the batter stay in the moment. Some great batters like Virender Sehwag and K. Srikkanth even hum a Bollywood song between deliveries to keep their mind busy.

Each batter generally knows their strike rate. Therefore, a batter with a strike rate of 100 will normally score a century in a hundred balls, while someone who scores at around 80 runs off a hundred balls may have to play 125 deliveries to reach their hundred. Some may believe that this approach to batting is selfish, but it needs to be remembered that a team wins only when batters put up big scores.

Scoring a century in cricket is a testament to the fusion of art and craftsmanship. It requires batters to unleash their creativity while executing their skills flawlessly. Patience, strategic acumen, physical fitness, and mental fortitude all go into getting that magic three-figure score onto the board.

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