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From Kumar Sangakkara to Mohammad Yousuf, know the players with most Test runs in a calendar year

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Former Pakistan batter Mohammad Yousuf has scored the most Test runs in a calendar year. Yousuf, who made his Test debut in 1998 against South Africa, scored 1788 runs in 19 innings at a staggering average of 99.33 in 2006 which is still the most runs to beat.

Before Yousuf, Vivian Richards’ return of 1710 runs in 11 matches in 1976 was the record that stood for 30 years. Meanwhile, current England captain Joe Root recently surpassed Sachin Tendulkar and Michael Clarke as he went fourth in the list of most Test runs in a calendar year.

As things stand, Root has so far scored 1630 runs in Test cricket in 2021 and only needs 158 runs to get past Mohammad Yousuf’s number. After getting dismissed at 24 in the second innings of the second Ashes Test, Root now has two more innings of the subsequent match to better the tally.

Meanwhile, Graeme Smith, who is the most successful captain in Test cricket, is third in the list. The former Proteas captain amassed 1656 runs in 25 innings in 2008. Michael Clarke (1595 runs in 2012) and Sachin Tendulkar (1562 runs in 2010) complete the top five list.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is the only player who has scored 1500-plus Test runs in a calendar year twice. He did it first in 2003 when he accumulated 1503 runs at an average of little more than 100. In 2005, Ponting bettered the figure, this time notching 1544 runs in 15 matches at an average of 67.13.

As far as current players are concerned, Root acquires the top two spots. Barring the current year, Root scored 1477 Test runs in 2016 which took him past Steve Smith’s tally of 1474 runs in 2015. In that very year, 2016, Jonny Bairstow scored 1470 Test runs which is the fourth most Test runs in a calendar year among active players.

Most Test runs in a calendar year

Year Player Runs Matches Innings Average 100s 50s
2006 Mohammad Yousuf 1788 11 19 99.33 9 3
1976 Vivian Richards 1710 11 19 90.00 7 5
2021 Joe Root 1708 15 29 56.85 6 4
2008 Graeme Smith 1656 15 25 72.00 6 6
2012 Michael Clarke 1595 11 18 106.33 5 3
2010 Sachin Tendulkar 1562 14 23 78.10 7 5
1979 Sunil Gavaskar 1555 18 27 59.80 5 8
2005 Ricky Ponting 1544 15 28 67.13 6 6
2003 Ricky Ponting 1503 11 18 100.20 6 4
2014 Kumar Sangakkara 1493 12 22 71.09 4 9

Featured photo: AFP / Manan Vatsyayana

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