Border, playing in his 139th Test, had been within reach of the record during Australia's recent series against the West Indies and he admitted that the target had become more of a millstone than a milestone. 'I was starting to question whether I would ever get those runs, especially after my pair against West Indies in Perth,' he said. He would like to reach 11,000 runs: 'I have to set the young a target.'
If Border were to achieve this it could be a while before the target was overtaken. The most likely challengers are two 35-year-olds, David Gower (8,231 runs), who may not play international cricket again, and Javed Miandad (8,569). The favourite to beat Border's record is probably the Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, who although only 19 is one of the world's leading batsmen. His debut was in November 1989 and he achieved a Test average of 61 during India's 1990 tour of England, which included his first Test century.
It is significant that more international cricket is played today than before. Border, 37, has scored his runs in 15 years, whereas Don Bradman, always the yardstick, took 21 years over his 6,996 runs in only 52 Tests, although he had a five-year gap because of the Second World War.
All the great players before 1970, including Gary Sobers, who passed 8,000 in 93 Tests, did not have the additional responsibility of leading their countries in a dozen or more one-day internationals in a year. Nor did they have to make their runs against the defensive fields and athletic fielding of today. Border could be on top for a long time.