Tomorrow: Picture a small ground, a weak bowling attack and a team batting first with any of the names mentioned below and we could well have the first triple century by a batsman in ODI history. It seems quite possible and maybe even inevitable.
A look at the exploits of the Mad Max batsmen…
AB de Villiers: This South African scored a century off just 31 balls in a match against West Indies at Johannesburg in 2015. While the previous world record was 36 balls, what sets apart de Villiers is that he went on and scored a whopping 149 runs in 44 balls.
What that means is at the same rate, he could have scored an ODI 300 in just 89 balls! Rohit Sharma lasted 173 balls in a match with Sri Lanka last year and with the same strike rate, de Villiers would have got 586 runs in the same number of balls.
Of course, now that’s getting ridiculous, (but then scoring 149 runs at the strike rate of 339 is itself ridiculous) but if ever de Villiers came in the very early part of the innings, he could well hit an ODI 300.
Shane Watson: Picture the following scenario. After just 26 overs, an opening batsman has scored a whopping 185 runs off 96 balls. Doing a bit of calculations, if a batsman can get 185 in 26 overs, he will get 356 runs in 50 overs!
Now this is not fantasy but an actual situation that has happened to Watson. In Mirpur in 2011, Bangladesh batted first and scored 229 in 50 overs. Thanks to the above mentioned blitz, Australia chased down the target in 26 overs.
Now here’s the thing: The innings ended because Australia won. Had they batted first and Watson batted the way he did then a triple century was there for the asking.
Rohit Sharma: While the above two came out with tantalizingly high strike rates, Rohit is the man who came closest to the 300 mark. Sachin Tendulkar scored one 200 in 463 matches and Virender Sehwag hit one in 251 matches.
So when Rohit hit 209 in November 2013, it must have been seen a once in a lifetime thing. However he surpassed the feat in just one year (in November 2014). By scoring ODIs first 250 (he was out on 264 off the last ball), Rohit has really set the bar high.
Rohit is just 27 and it is not in the realms of impossibility that he will be the first to hit an ODI 300.
Shahid Afridi: Time is running out for 34-year-old Afridi but he’s the only guy in the world who hat hit 3 ODI 100+ scores with a strike rate of 200+.
102 off 40 balls versus Sri Lanka in 1996 at a strike rate of 255.
102 off 46 balls versus India in 2005 at a strike rate of 222.
124 off 60 balls versus Bangladesh in 2010 at a strike rate of 207.
If an opener bats till the end then he can easily play 150 balls and a strike rate of 200 will get you a 300. Afridi is in the 2015 World Cup squad and if he plays for a few more years, then one never knows. Afridi hit a century off 37 balls in 1996 and that record held till 2014 when Corey Anderson hit one off 36 balls in a match against West Indies in January. De Villiers broke that in just above a year!
Chris Gayle: In an IPL match in 2013, Gayle hit a whopping 175 runs off 66 balls. His IPL fastest century came off just 30 balls, 1 ball less than de Villiers ODI 100. He has two triple centuries in Tests. That way he could be called an underachiever in ODIs as his highest score is just 153*.
Gayle is already 35 and time is running out for him like Afridi, but you just never can tell when the next Gayle storm is around the corner along with a mountainous ODI score.
Then there are others too. Like in international T20 centuries, the highest strike rate is by Aaron Finch of Australia who hit 156 runs off 63 balls against England in 2013 for a strike rate of 248. Yuvraj Singh also hit a T20 half-century in just 12 balls. We already have a team 400 and an individual 250. A team 500 and individual 300 seems still improbable but not impossible.
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/