Ask Steven September 11, 2006

Made in Ireland - and England's overseas World Cup six

The return of the regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket

The return of the regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:



Ed Joyce made his one-day international debut for England on the same day as his brother Dominick Joyce played against him in his first one-day for Ireland © Getty Images

How many England cricketers were born in Ireland, like Ed Joyce? asked Ken Driver from Belfast

Dublin-born Ed Joyce - who rather oddly made his official one-day international debut in the same match as his brother, Dominick, but for the other side - is the sixth Irish-born man to play for England. The first two were also born in Dublin: Leland Hone, who never played county cricket, toured Australia in 1878-79 and played in the Test at Melbourne, while Sir Timothy O'Brien, who also played for Middlesex, won the first of his five Test caps against Australia at Old Trafford in 1884. In 1888-89 Joseph McMaster played a Test (in fact his only first-class match) for England in South Africa: he was born in Gilford in County Down. Essex's Frederick Fane, who was born at Curragh Camp in County Kildare, won 14 caps in the first decade of the 20th century, and actually captained England in the first three Tests in Australia in 1907-98 when the appointed captain Arthur Jones was injured. Many years later Martin McCague, who was born in Larne in Northern Ireland but brought up in Australia, won three Test caps, the first against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1993. Four Irish-born men have played Tests for other countries: Tom Horan (born Midleton, Co. Cork) and Thomas Kelly (Waterford) for Australia, and Clement Johnson (Carberry) and Major Robert Poore (Dublin) for South Africa.

My friend challenged me to name the six England players from the 1992 World Cup final who weren't born in England - I thought I'd got them, but he says Robin Smith is wrong. Who's right? asked Anand Mughal from Delhi

Well, you're both right in a way. Robin Smith was born outside England - at Durban, in South Africa - but he didn't play in the 1992 World Cup final against Pakistan at Melbourne, although he was in the 14-man squad. England's XI that day included Graeme Hick (born in Zimbabwe), Allan Lamb (South Africa), Chris Lewis (Guyana), Dermot Reeve (Hong Kong), Derek Pringle (Kenya) and Phillip DeFreitas (Dominica).

I was sorry to hear of the death of Wasim Raja. I remember watching him score a fine Test century at the Kensington Oval - how many others did he make? asked Roy Atkin from Barbados

The innings you're talking about was one of 117 not out against a strong West Indian attack including Croft, Roberts, Garner and Holder at Bridgetown in February 1977. That was the second of Wasim Raja's eventual four Test centuries: the others were 107 not out against West Indies at Karachi in 1974-75, 125 v India at Jullundur in 1983-84, and 112 against England at Faisalabad in 1983-84. Rameez Raja, Wasim's younger brother, made his Test debut in the first match of that series.

Who was the oldest player to make his Test debut? asked Marvin Chester from Guyana

The oldest man to make his Test debut started in the very first Test of all, at Melbourne in 1876-77: England's James Southerton, a slowish bowler who played for Surrey and Sussex, who was 49 years and 119 days old when that inaugural match started. In second place is Miran Bux, who was over 47 when he first played for Pakistan against India at Lahore in 1954-55. More recently Omar Henry made his Test debut for South Africa when he was past his 40th birthday. For a full list of the oldest Test debutants, click here.

I enjoyed the article on Cricinfo last week about the 1934 Ashes tour, and was reminded of Don Bradman's amazing run-scoring feats. What was his overall record in England? asked Frank Waters of Banbury

Don Bradman was remarkably consistent on his four tours of England - especially since several good judges, among them England's Percy Fender, had predicted that his technique wouldn't suit English conditions. On his first tour, in 1930, Bradman piled up 2960 runs at 98.66, with ten centuries. A record 974 of those runs came in the Tests, at an average of 139.14. In 1934, when as that article mentions, he was troubled by illness, he still made 2020 runs at 84.16 on the tour, with 758 at 94.75 in the Tests. In 1938, recovered and now captain, he made 2429 runs all told at 115.66, with 434 at 108.50 in the Tests. And in 1948, on what's become known as the "Invincibles" tour, 39-year-old Bradman made 2428 runs at 89.92, with 508 runs at 72.57 in the Tests. In total, that's 9837 runs in 92 first-class matches in England, at an average of 96.44, with 41 hundreds. In 19 Tests in England The Don made 2674 runs at 102.84.

I would like to know what happened to Brian Murphy, who captained Zimbabwe in between Andy Flower and Heath Streak. I heard that in Sri Lanka he was the first captain of a Test team to drop himself. Is this correct? asked Bjorn Mordt

Legspinner Brian Murphy did captain Zimbabwe in a Test and three one-day internationals in 2001-02. I'm not sure that he left himself out - reports at the time suggested he had a hand injury after the first Test in Bangladesh, and Stuart Carlisle took over. In any case he wouldn't have been the first captain to drop himself - England's Mike Denness did that in Australia in 1974-75. Murphy quit Zimbabwe in 2003, and took a job coaching at the University of Cape Town in South Africa: as far as we know he is still there. A couple of years ago he joined the "Zimbabwe Lions" fund-raising tour of England.

And finally, a plea that I can't answer, can anyone else help? from Tony Woodward in Canada

"I'm trying to complete a humorous verse I heard decades ago, which used cricketing terms. I've remembered most of it, but I am missing a couple of lines in the middle. Can anyone fill in the missing lines?"

With my arms around her Boundary
I said "Will you be mine?"
As I admired her two Fine Legs
And splendid Bodyline.
[Darn, I've forgotten the next two lines and I can't find them anywhere!]
"Did you bowl the Maiden Over?"
"No, she belted me for Six!"

Steven Lynch is the deputy editor of The Wisden Group. For some of these answers he was helped by Travis Basevi, the man who built Stats Guru. If you want to Ask Steven a question, contact him through our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries