The first in a series of cricket debates and discussions this year:
Ponting will cross Tendulkar at between 38-40 centuries in the next 3 years.
I think Ricky Ponting is the most crucial one to break Sachin's record. He has a long career ahead and the way he is cruising ahead makes him the most elgible one to reach Sachin's mark in the next 4 years.
If Sachin (my god) does not get his act together soon and come back to his best form, I feel Ponting might eclipse him. I dread that day.
I strongly believe Sachin's record will be eclipsed because his record is due to more matches he had played in his career. His average is just normal as a good batsman but not great that nobody can beat it.
If we see his record after 1999 we can clearly see his batting average, his centuries are against teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe.
Sachin is moving at a snail's pace -- if Ponting and Hayden continue at the same rate, then by the end of 2006 or mid 2007, Sachin's record will be broken. At that time Sachin would probably have scored three or maximum four more centuries.
There is a chance that even Lara might break it in 2006 itself since he is only 5 centuries away.
That will be a nice way for him to retire -- as the highest run getter, biggest centurion and the highest century maker. In that event, Lara's record might not last for long since Ponting/Hayden/Tendulkar are likely to break it in 2007.
Sachin's a great player and he'll continue being one, but his record will be broken.
Pointing definitely look to be the best bet to do it -- another 5 years more if Sachin doesn't get into his century making spree form.
The chances are Sachin may end up making another 4, 5 centuries in the next 3, 4 years before he retires,
I'm thinking he may hit about 40 in all.
Ponting should be able to equal that - unless he has a dip of form or gets plagued by injury. Hayden may just smash himself to 25 to 36 hundreds but may fall short of 40.
All depends on the master blaster and his hunger to score hundreds.
Can he prove us, his 'critical well wishers', wrong? I certainly hope so.
Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara are on course. Unless Sachin scores a few 100s in the next two series he may well be surpassed. Even Matthew Hayden is a challenger. None other.
--B R Parthasarathi
You will have Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden both running to break Sachin's record. It looks possible without giving any second thought when looking at the performance of both the Australian batsmen.
My money is on these two. Other than them I don't think there is anyone who can break Sachin's record.
Watch out for the next lot of responses. To be posted soon!