The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav year’s No. 1 run-getter

Calcutta: Sourav Ganguly just managed a quickfire 28 in the fourth one-dayer, Friday, but that was enough to give him the No.1 spot among (ODI) run-getters in 2002.

Currently, the Indian captain is on 1,047 (one hundred, eight fifties), clear of Herschelle Gibbs’ 1,034. Significantly, he has already been the best in 1997, 1999 and 2000.

The South African, though, has a maximum of ten matches remaining — five each against Sri Lanka and Pakistan — and, so, will have ample opportunity to regain the top slot.

Sourav, on the other hand, can have five games: Three versus the West Indies and the first two ODIs against New Zealand (the remaining five will be played in 2003).

Only, with the captain’s back not being a hundred per cent okay, it’s debatable whether he will actually play the Jodhpur and Vijayawada matches. If he doesn’t, there will be fewer appearances in which to consolidate.

Sourav, of course, crossed the 1,000-mark during the Rajkot ODI, where he lashed 72. However, getting to 1,000 Test runs (in 2002) is what will give him greater satisfaction.

Speaking to The Telegraph Thursday afternoon, shortly before his departure for Ahmedabad, the captain said: “It’s nice getting beyond 1,000 but, frankly, I’m focussed on getting past that figure in Test cricket… At the moment, that’s a big motivation.”

For good measure, he had added: “Given the importance of one-day cricket, every milestone will remain significant. Yet, it’s that much more special when Test-landmarks are reached.”

With two Tests remaining, in New Zealand, Sourav is 84 short of 1,000. In fact, but for a couple of terrible decisions in the series versus the West Indies, the captain could already have got there — for only the first time in his seven years of Test cricket.

Sourav began the year with 194 in three innings against Zimbabwe. Then, in the West Indies, he totalled 322 from eight outings. The next series, in England, saw the captain get 351 in six innings. The last series was least productive: 49 from four outings.

Incidentally, the captain’s tally of 916 includes two hundreds and five fifties.

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