If Kane Williamson scores 32 runs against Australia tomorrow morning, he will become the third-fastest man in history to score 6000 runs in international one-day cricket.
Only Virat Kohli and Hashim Amla have reached this landmark faster than Williamson's 138 innings so far. Hit 32 or more and Williamson will reach the mark in 139.
In fact, he has a bit of room – the next best is the remarkable Sir Vivian Richards who took 141 innings to reach 6000. It's a mark of Williamson's genius of consistency; Richards was renowned as the "master blaster" who could wreak havoc on any attack.
Some of the other outstanding players Williamson will move ahead of in the top 10 fastest-to-6000 level are: Sourav Ganguly, AB de Villiers, Brian Lara, Matthew Hayden, Dean Jones and our own Martin Guptill (who took 157 innings to get there).
Two Kiwis in the top 10 fastest to 6000 ODI runs, along with two Aussies, two South Africans, two West Indians and two Indians ... it's enough to make a diversity advocate weep into his/her/their culturally inclusive handkerchiefs (ethically grown cotton, of course ...).
Many of the greatest of great cricket names were slower to 6000 runs: Sachin Tendulkar (170 innings), Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, MS Dhoni, Kumar Sangakkara and more. It's also worth mentioning that Ross Taylor beat the great Tendulkar to 6000 runs, taking 166 innings, same as Ponting and Dhoni.
However, it is a measure of Williamson's greatness that he can stand with the best in the world in reaching 6000 runs – and take the gold medal for doing so with an almost painful degree of modesty. There's been so much written about Williamson's talent and his lack of self that it's been warming to see cricket legends and commentators bill and coo over Cap'n Kane after that matchwinning century against the West Indies.
It begs the question of just how far he will go in this game – particularly this version of it. Williamson is still only 28. Those above him in the 6000 runs table, Amla and Kohli, are 36 and 30 respectively.
Amla has 8000 ODI runs in total but, at 36, is clearly coming to the end of his one-day career. He may be catchable while Kohli's 11,000 runs (and growing) seems more difficult. The Indian skipper has years left in him yet – if he so chooses – and so does Williamson. With 35-year-old Taylor as a yardstick, Williamson potentially has seven more years at least at the crease (if he so chooses).
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His accrual of more ODI runs is even more likely as New Zealand Cricket focuses on short-form cricket ahead of tests these days.
And Williamson's one-day batting has been gathering pace. He didn't feature on the quickest to 1000 ODI runs table nor to 2000. But he arrived at seventh in the fastest to 3000 runs and ninth to 4000, before being seventh to 5000.
Now about to be third to 6000, it remains to be seen how quickly he can make 7000 and 8000 and how far up the all-time ODI run scoring board of honour he can go.
Kohli and Amla dominate the "fastest" leagues, with Kohli racing from 7000 runs to 8000 in just 14 innings. If he scores 32 or more against Australia, Williamson will have taken 20 to go from 5000 to 6000.
Indefinables like form, injury and desire could obstruct his passage, of course, but you wonder if he'll penetrate the top 10 ODI run scorers of all time – headed by Tendulkar's seemingly impossible 18,000 runs (the next best is Sangakkara's 14,000) with 10th-best at 10,889 (India's Rahul Dravid).
The only person still playing in that Top 10 is Kohli (9th); there are only about a dozen current players still ahead of Williamson (currently outside the top 50) in the all-time list. Those include Taylor and Guptill who still, for now, outrank Williamson in terms of total ODI runs scored (as do Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle and Brendon McCullum). Taylor and Fleming are the only New Zealanders to have scored more than 8000 ODI runs.
But Williamson is easily the youngest of all current players in the top 100. All those ahead of him are comfortably in their 30s (with a couple closer to 40) and thus closer to the end of their careers than the beginning.
The New Zealand skipper has a career average of 48 – 65 this calendar year and 138 at this World Cup – so time is on Williamson's side. It would also be no surprise to see him rise up cricket's "most centuries in a [ODI] career" table. At present he has 13; 22 are needed for entry to the top 10 of all time in which Kohli has 41, second only to Tendulkar's 49.
Few sportspeople – only the real greats – manage to sustain a record-breaking career at the lofty levels set when they first burst onto the scene. Lydia Ko comes to mind.
Williamson, already a New Zealand great, has a fine chance of global recognition, especially when you factor in that he also figures in the world's top 20 for fastest players to reach 6000 test runs.