Who was the first South African to score 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year?
(29 October 2001)
A thousand runs in a calendar year is a monumental feat in any form of cricket. In the cut-throat, high-stakes world of Test cricket, then, it becomes an all-the-more memorable achievement.
The first man to savour the joy of crossing this landmark was a dashing and debonair Englishman, Denis Compton. An icon in every sense of the word, Compton compiled 1,159 runs, with a highest of 208, in the nine Tests and 15 innings that he played in his golden year in cricket - 1947. He was followed to the summit by his great friend and on-field rival, the peerless Sir Donald Bradman, who repeated the feat in his farewell year - 1948.
The following years saw that very famous accumulator of runs, Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, cross the landmark as many as four times. Other Indians too have achieved this honour; among them is Mohinder Amarnath, who remains the fastest to accomplish the feat - he scored his 1,000th run of 1983 on May 3.
It was a full 15 years after this that the first and, so far, only South African crossed this landmark - the soon-to-be-tainted Wessel Johannes Cronje. Hansie, as he was lovingly known, crossed the 1,000-run mark in 1998. In 14 Tests and 24 innings, the born-again Christian from Orange Free State aggregated 1040 runs, with one hundred and nine fifties, at an average of 47.27. Those indeed were Hansie's halcyon days...
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