There are just a handful of players to have notched up centuries in all three formats of the game across both domestic and international cricket. A unique sextuple. The batting grand slam.
It takes a unique skillset to become a special batsman in each of cricket’s great formats, a run-scorer capable of reaching three figures. It takes mental toughness, patience, technique and unflappable concentration to stand up to the rigours of first-class cricket. The grandchild of the longest-form is T20 cricket, where batting power, innovation, coordination and hand speed dominates proceedings. Placed somewhere between the two extremes is List A or one-day cricket (the author’s favoured format), leaning on a number of the key attributes from both first-class and T20 batting, but bringing shot selection, adaptability and rotation of the strike to the fore.
To excel in all three formats is rare, but not unknown. Many top-class batsmen are able to produce the goods across all formats at domestic level, but to replicate it at international is a different story. Here are the select group of cricketers who have achieved this unusual feat across Tests, ODIs and T20Is, as well as domestic first-class, List A and T20 formats:
Mahela Jayawardene (SL) – 75 career hundreds
- First-class: 51 (34 Tests, 17 domestic)
- List A: 21 (19 ODI, 2 domestic)
- T20: 3 (1 IT20I, 2 domestic)
Rohit Sharma (IND) – 56 career hundreds
- First-class: 20 (3 Tests, 17 domestic)
- List A: 30 (27 ODI, 3 domestic)
- T20: 6 (4 IT20I, 2 domestic)
Suresh Raina (IND) – 25 career hundreds
- First-class: 14 (1 Tests, 13 domestic)
- List A: 7 (5 ODI, 2 domestic)
- T20: 4 (1 IT20I, 3 domestic)
KL Rahul (IND) – 22 career hundreds
- First-class: 14 (5 Tests, 9 domestic)
- List A: 5 (2 ODI, 3 domestic)
- T20: 3 (2 IT20I, 1 domestic)
Martin Guptill (NZ) – 45 career hundreds
- First-class: 15 (3 Tests, 12 domestic)
- List A: 26 (16 ODI, 10 domestic)
- T20: 4 (2 IT20I, 2 domestic)
Tamim Iqbal (BAN) – 34 career hundreds
- First-class: 15 (9 Tests, 6 domestic)
- List A: 16 (16 ODI, 11 domestic)
- T20: 3 (1 IT20I, 2 domestic)
Ahmed Shehzad (PAK) – 32 career hundreds
- First-class: 12 (3 Tests, 9 domestic)
- List A: 16 (6 ODI, 10 domestic)
- T20: 4 (1 IT20I, 3 domestic)
Brendon McCullum (NZ) – 33 career hundreds
- First-class: 17 (12 Tests, 5 domestic)
- List A: 9 (5 ODI, 4 domestic)
- T20: 7 (2 IT20I, 5 domestic)
Chris Gayle (WI) – 82 career hundreds
- First-class: 32 (15 Tests, 17 domestic)
- List A: 29 (25 ODI, 4 domestic)
- T20: 21 (2 IT20I, 19 domestic)
Shane Watson (AUS) – 37 career hundreds
- First-class: 20 (4 Tests, 16 domestic)
- List A: 11 (9 ODI, 2 domestic)
- T20: 6 (1 IT20I, 5 domestic)
Where are the Superstars?
You may notice a couple of big names missing… Kohli. Smith. Root. Williamson. Warner. The greatest batsmen of this generation. They may still complete the sextuple before their careers are up. De Villiers, Amla and Sangakkara won’t get the chance.
In India captain Kohli’s case, it seems a matter of when rather than if. He has a highest score of 90 in 65 T20I innings and has passed fifty on 21 occasions. Let’s not forget he took until 2016 (over 150 IPL innings) to register his first domestic T20 hundred and then picked up a century in three of his next seven innings in four weeks. Warner has also struggled to convert starts to three figures in international T20 cricket from his 90 innings. Seven hundreds at domestic level but also a top score of 90* on the world scene, though – like Steve Smith – Indeed, Kohli, Warner, Steve Smith and Joe Root all have top scores of exactly 90 at the highest level of T20 – quite the coincidence.
For Smith, Root and Kane Williamson it’s a different story. Hundreds seem to flow regularly for all of them across international and domestic first-class and one-day cricket, but Smith and Williamson have registered just a single century each (101 and 101* respectively) in domestic T20. Root has yet to hit the landmark in any competitive T20 cricket, though he has not yet played 100 T20 career innings. While the elusive hundreds are by no means out of their grasp, their strike rates, batting positions and lack of match action are definitely not helping their cause. Williamson typical strikes at 121.76 runs per 100 balls in T20I – well below par at that level for a number three. Root is slightly better at 126.30 from the same batting position, whereas Smith strikes at 122.44 largely from no.4, but he hasn’t played at T20I since 2016. In fact, between the three they have registered little over 100 international T20 appearances. That’s not a lot of cricket.
One reason for the lack of opportunity in the shortest-form is the short-form specialist. Despite a superb record in longer formats in early in his career, Chris Gayle (15 Test centuries, highest score 333) played just 12 Test matches after turning 30 and paved the way for the T20 and one-day professionals. The likes of fellow West Indian Evin Lewis, England’s Alex Hales, New Zealander Colin Munro and Australia captain Aaron Finch all focus on short-form batting and for good reason… they are capable of virtuoso performances and the money is plentiful.
Lewis has never played a Test match and, with no domestic first-class cricket in over two years and T20 franchise contracts all around the world, he probably never will. Munro failed in his solitary Test appearance back in 2013 (but has a stunning domestic first-class record) and England and Australia look unlikely to utilise Hales and Finch again at the top of the Test order after experimenting with them in recent years. All of them have impressive records in ODIs and T20Is but are deemed unsuitable for Test cricket.
Then there a the first-class specialists, though not in such plentiful supply as the T20 freelancers (💰). Indian Test stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara is one of the great batsmen of his era, capable of grinding out lengthy innings like few others. 18 tons in 70 Tests at an average a touch under 50 is impressive. But he’s never played a T20I and was omitted from the national ODI squad since 2014. His leisurely T20 strike-rate of 109.35 has plenty to do with it, though surprisingly he has registered a century in the shortest-form (as has Sir Alistair Cook). Pakistan Test opener Azhar Ali is another in this category (no T20 innings since PSL 2016), but I’m scratching my head for other genuine Test batting specialists (let me know in the comments).
Now for the anomalies:
- Glenn Maxwell – widely considered a T20 and one-day maverick. One of the first on the list when thinking of big-hitting, one-day specialists. He strikes at more than 1.54 runs per ball in domestic T20 but hasn’t registered a ton in 181 appearances. He does however have three T20I hundreds and Test century to his name 🤔
- Faf du Plessis – A free-scoring batsman across all-formats, but like Maxwell hasn’t registered a domestic T20 hundred, despite notching one at international level. That’s nearly 150 innings without a hundred for one of the best in the game. He does however, have 50 T20 wickets to his name with his funky legbreaks… and an impressive bowling record 🧐
- Tillakaratne Dilshan – one of the original Twenty20 innovators, even has a shot named after him – the Dilscoop. Again, never registered a domestic T20 hundred, but scored a stunning match-winning T20I 104* (57 balls) against Australia in 2011. Looking at his T20 stats, perhaps he wasn’t that good. A poorer career strike-rate than Alastair Cook and some ugly tournament performances (132 runs @ 105.60 in World T20 2014 would suggest most of us are wearing rose-tinted glasses glasses 🤓
Who else will make it?
I’d put my house on Kohli doing it before his hangs up his boots. Babar Azam is only 24-years-old and improving every year. He will join the list sooner-rather-than-later. Quinton De Kock too. Add to that Shimron Hetmyer, Rishabh Pant, Kusal Mendis, Shubman Gill, Ollie Pope and Prithvi Shaw (assuming he comes back motivated following his drugs ban).
Anyone missing? Let us know in the comments.