Scoring a century in one-day internationals is not something extraordinary these days. In fact, the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma score centuries at the drop of a hat.
However, from the 70s (when one-day cricket came into existence) up until the mid-90s, registering an ODI hundred was a rare occurrence, and hence was viewed as a highly significant achievement.
There were three key reasons why notching tons in limited overs cricket was a tough task for a very long time. For one thing, batsmen weren’t as aggressive back then as they are now in the IPL era. A strike rate of 60 to 70 was considered acceptable until the early 90s, and hence many hundreds weren't scored even when ODIs were a 60-overs-a-side affair.
Secondly, the quality of fast bowling was exceptionally superior in contrast to today. Be it West Indies’ pacers or Pakistan’s reverse swingers, most top cricketing nations had bowlers who gave batsmen around the world a really tough time.
Finally, there were no strict field restrictions until 1992, when it became mandatory that only two fielders would be allowed outside the 30-yard circle in the first 15 overs. The rule tilted the scales heavily in the favor of batsmen, and hundreds soon started flowing like water.
That said, there are a few well-known batsmen from the modern era who somehow couldn’t reach three figures despite the restrictions in place. Here, we look at five highly accomplished batsmen who ended their ODI careers without a century.
#5 Peter Kirsten
The South African batsman was in his mid-30s by the time he made his ODI debut against India in November 1991, as South Africa returned to the international circuit after the ban over the apartheid policy in the country was lifted.
Kirsten went on to feature in 40 ODIs for South Africa over the course of three years. He scored nine fifties at an average of 38.02 but could never reach the three-figure mark.
Kirsten came agonizingly close when he made 97 against New Zealand during a Benson & Hedges World Series game at Brisbane on 8 January 1994. He had reached 90 once before against the same opponent, at Auckland in February 1992.
In his very third game, Kirsten made an unbeaten 86 against India at New Delhi. He also scored 84 against the same nation during the 1992 World Cup. The three-figure mark though remained elusive.
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