As many of you know, I like to read. Books, magazines, newspapers, coupons, posters, billboards, brochures, and (in the absence of anything else to read) notices on walls. Of this lot, books take up the most time and it is only rarely that I can read a whole book in one sitting. In the past few years only books by Rowling and Child have moved me such that I read the book in one sitting. Over the years, I have been gifted numerous bookmarks by friends and relatives. But I rarely use these bookmarks for I have my own, possibly unique, way of remembering what page I stopped at the last time I put down the book.
It is simple really, and it merges my book-reading with my first love - cricket. The page numbers remind me of some score made in the past by some batsman or team. All I have to do is remember which player (or team) and the events associated with it. Sometime, I find it hard to remember a number so I associate that number with the nearest one to it of significance, in the process finding another number that fits the difference between the two.
Some memorable numbers for me are:
22 - the number of centuries by Azharuddin in Tests.
38 - K. Srikanth's score, the highest by a batsman, in the '83 Prudential Cup final.
45 - the score that Sehwag seems to lose his concentration at most frequently in ODI's (any number in the 40's would do, really!).
51 - VVS Laxman's score on Test debut versus South Africa.
58 - the number of 50's by Azhar in ODI's, a record when he "retired".
83 - for 1983 and Kapil's Devils.
87 - the number most feared by the Aussies (13 short of a 100).
93 - score made by Azhar in his first ODI outside India (in Australia).
99 - 101 short of a double century (a nod to AV).
100 - naturally!
114 - GR Viswanath's match-winning score in the Melbourne Test of 1981.
123 - K Srikkanth's highest score in Tests and ODIs.
130 - Sehwag's highest score in an underachieving ODI career, so far.
135 - Number of Graeme Hick's first-class centuries. This changes with time!137 - GR Viswanath's score on Test debut (with 25 fours!).
140 - Laxman's score against Zimbabwe, the aftermath of which changed Indian cricket.
148 - Laxman's score in THAT Adelaide Test match.
158 - Kevin Pietersen's favourite score, it seems.
163 - Kapil Dev's highest Test score.
175 - what else, Kapil Dev, Tunbridge Wells - 1983.
178 - Laxman (and Tendulkar) ruin Steve Waugh's memories of his final Test match.
183 - Highest score ever made in the second innings of an ODI (and, of course, 1983).
186 - Sachin Tendulkar's highest ODI score.
194 - Dravid's declaration with Tendulkar at this score causes a furore.
195 - Sehwag's Melbourne massacre.
201 - Jason Gillespie's highest score in his LAST Test - the best by a nightwatchman.
204 - Adam Gilchrist's highest Test score - the fastest 200 at that time.
222 - GR Viswanath's highest score in Tests.
227 - Vinod Kambli's highest score. So much promise...
233 - Rahul Dravid's magnum opus in Adelaide.
236 - Sunil Gavaskar's highest score - now surpassed by 5 Indian batsmen.
239 - Sourav Ganguly's highest score and first double hundred.
241 - Tendulkar's lesson in self-denial at Sydney (scroll down the page to the run-scoring chart) .
242 - Ricky Ponting's effort at Adelaide (the highest score in a losing cause).
248 - Tendulkar's highest score in Tests (and shockingly, in first-class cricket, too).
254 - Sehwag's third-highest score.
267 - Aravinda de Silva's highest score (overshadowed by 299).
270 - Rahul Dravid's highest score.
274 - Zaheer Abbas - the highest score outside the Indian subcontinent by an Asian player.
281 - really...do you even have to ask?
299 - Martin Crowe chokes (as AV would say, he has to score 299 runs all over again just to get to 300).
309 - Virender Sehwag breaks a barrier - for the first time.
310 - John Edrich's highest score - most boundaries (52 fours, 5 sixes) in a Test innings.
317 - Chris Gayle shows that he is not always a mindless biffer of the cricket ball.
319 - Virender Sehwag is at it again!
333 - Graham Gooch thrashes India at Lords.
334 - Mark Taylor and Don Bradman are inexorably linked forever.
340 - Sanath Jayasuriya lays down a marker.
353 - the higher of VVS Laxman's two first-class triple centuries.
365 - Sir Garfield Sobers's first century was his biggest one.
375 - Brian Lara, part I.
380 - Matty Hayden rightly surmises that people will not remember who the opposition was.
400 - Brian Lara - the sequel.
405 - Graeme Hick, my hero, announces himself to the world with a 6 to get to 405 (check out the next highest score in the entire match).
443 - BB Nimbalkar's tryst with glory was cut short by petulant opponents.
452 - the highest score in the storied career of the Don.
499 - Hanif Mohammad falls short, and then achieves, cricketing immortality.
501 - Brain Lara completes his trilogy.