It will be an unprecedented gathering – eight of the 10 men alive who have completed 100 first-class centuries.
The Lord’s Taverners are calling them ‘The Centurions – the world’s greatest run-makers’, and Surrey’s Mark Ramprakash is the latest to join the elite group after reaching the milestone against Yorkshire.
Joining him at London’s Hilton Hotel will be Pakistan’s Zaheer Abbas, England’s Dennis Amiss, Geoff Boycott, John Edrich, Tom Graveney and Graeme Hick, and New Zealand’s Glenn Turner. There will also be contributions from Graham Gooch and Sir Viv Richards. It has been a pleasure to watch – and score – for them all.
Amiss was a patient accumulator with massive powers of concentration and an insatiable appetite for large scores. Only two of his 11 Test hundreds were below 150.
Boycott was the first to score his 100th first-class hundred in a Test. He combined concentration and application with probably the most obdurate defensive techniques of all.
Edrich is one of only three left-handers, after Phil Mead and Frank Woolley, in this elite. Stockily built with exceptionally strong forearms, he favoured the lofted straight drive and punch off his legs. His tally of 57 boundaries in his undefeated 310 against New Zealand at Headingley in 1965 remains the Test record.
Gooch was powerfully built. He favoured the back foot and, using a 3lb bat held menacingly aloft, he would bludgeon the fastest attacks with ferocity.
Graveney was a graceful and elegant stylist who favoured the cover drive and developed an excellent technique against spin. He favoured the front foot, even when hooking the fastest bowlers.
Hick, still entertaining Worcester fans at 42, joined this elite after the third-fewest number of innings (574), behind Sir Donald Bradman (295) and Denis Compton (552).
Ramprakash, having averaged over 100 in each of the past two seasons, broke his favourite bat after his 99th hundred, scored only 197 runs in his next 10 innings. Then the seas parted and he amassed 490 off 875 balls in 19 hrs 24 min before he was next dismissed.
Richards, the ‘Master Blaster’, was the outstanding batsman of his era. Immense power and exquisite timing enabled him to attack the bowling from the outset of each innings. His incredible range of strokes included many unlisted in batting manuals, including one off the back shoulder off a bat seized from me in a charity game that soared over a marquee at square leg.
Turner, initially was as single-minded a run collector as Boycott but, thanks to skills honed in limited-overs cricket, he blossomed into a fast-scoring strokemaker who scored 1,018 runs before June in 1973. Abbas, wearing contact lenses, emulated Boycott by reaching his ‘ton’ in a Test.
Bradman is the Usain Bolt of the 25 who have made a century of centuries. He reached three figures in 34.6 per cent of his 338 innings. ‘The Don’ can also claim most 200s (37) and 300s (6).
Tonight’s dinner will also launch the Taverners ‘Centurions Award’ and Ramprakash will make the inaugural presentation to Freddy Moore-Hobbis, grandson of Bobby Moore. This award is open to anyone under 18 who scores a century in a representative match, helping the Lord’s Taverners to give youngsters ‘a sporting chance’.
(C) The Telegraph Group,