W G Grace..Chris Gayle compared
Wed, Feb 8, '17
Centuries were once rare currency. In WG Grace's first transcendent season, the summer of 1871, when he turned 23 years old, 17 first-class hundreds were scored. The champion accounted for ten of them. By the time Grace made 104 for Gloucester against Sussex at Hove in 1876, to become the first man to compile 50 first-class hundreds, he had more centuries than the next 13 men on the list combined. He got to 100 hundreds in 1895 and the game waited another 18 years for someone else, Surrey's Tom Hayward, to reach the same mark.
In 2003, albeit accidentally, cricket reset itself. Batting changed because T20 cricket and the money it generated made it change - and in turn, symbiotically, the shock and awe generated by the new batting generated more money.
In T20 cricket, like cricket in the Victorian age, centuries are rare currency, and like Grace, one man stands apart. Chris Gayle has scored 18 T20 hundreds. The next best is seven, by Brendon McCullum. Only two men, Luke Wright and Michael Klinger, have six, David Warner is next with five. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have four and three respectively. It's perfectly possible, perhaps even likely, that Kohli will never get to 18, despite his mastery and his comparative youth.