The term refers to a specific form of analysis paralysis, when a batsman feels when he has scored more than 90 runs in a test innings, and is nervous because of the pressure and desire to convert this into a century (100 runs). Therefore this situation is referred to as batsmen being in the nervous nineties. Batsmen tend to bat in a more conservative manner when they are close to their century, in order to avoid missing out on the milestone. Batsmen dismissed on 99 are considered the unluckiest of all the nervous nineties victims. There are many batsman who have been dismissed in the nineties with multiple instances of batsmen being dismissed on 99.
The opposing captain may position his fielding in order to create extra pressure to get the batsman out. As a result of this many batsmen fail to score hundreds from nineties.
Statistically, one of the worst victims of the nervous nineties was Australian opener (and now commentator) Michael Slater, dismissed in the nineties nine times in his test career, and surviving to make a century only fourteen times.  West Indian batsman Alvin Kallicharan's record was similarly poor, dismissed in the nineties seven times for only twelve career centuries. Indian Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for highest number of dismissals in the 90s (a total of 26 times) across all forms of international cricket.
Legendary batsman Sir Donald Bradman holds the record for most test centuries scored in a career without ever being dismissed in the nervous nineties: a total of 29 centuries. Greg Chappell (24 centuries) and Michael Vaughan (18 centuries) have the next best records.
- ^ The Independent - Horton takes the slow lane through nervous nineties
- ^ BBC web site - Nervous nineties
- ^ Cricinfo - Gibbs stuck in the nineties rut
- ^ "Michael Slater". Cricinfo. http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/content/player/7629.html. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- ^ Cricinfo.com. "Batting records". Cricinfo. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=hundreds;runsmin2=90;runsval2=runs;template=results;type=batting. Retrieved 3 Jan 2011.
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