Here’s a little amusement to while away a dull half-hour over the holiday.
The main answer is a well-known cricketing name, which is spelled out by the initials of the answers to the eight clues. If the first two clues led to Mohammed Azharuddin and Rob Key, we would be looking for someone called MARK…..
The answers to the eight clues are all Test cricketers, one from each of the eight main Test-playing countries (ie not Bangladesh or Zimbabwe). Most of them are recent and at least reasonably well-known, though a couple are one-Test wonders of older vintage who just happen to be the only Test players I could find with the relevant initials.
1. A wicket keeper who played his only Test against New Zealand in the 1970s. He scored 7*, took two catches and conceded 16 byes.
2. A modern great with 26 Test centuries to his name, but an average of only 36 against South Africa.
3. A between-wars bowler whose only Test was the match before the one in which the main answer made his debut. He took no wickets, returning 0-60 and 0-12, but scored 8 and 44 with the bat.
4. A 1980s batsman who scored over 4000 Test runs, including centuries against West Indies when the rest of his team kept folding, and memorably won an ODI with a lot of runs off the last over.
5. A current all-rounder who has a century and a six-wicket haul in different matches on tour in Australia, but has yet to reach 100 wickets and 2000 runs.
6. A batsman and part-time bowler more usually thought of as an ODI player, he only averaged 28 with the bat, though he made three Test centuries, the highest being 123 against Pakistan.
7. A 1990s pace bowler who took 160 wickets but is more usually remembered for some lengthy stonewalling innings at number 11, including 14* in a last-wicket partnership of 106 against England.
8. A current bowler who has 123 Test wickets to his name – although he says his name changes to something German when he gets out on the field.
Have fun, and I’ll post the answers after Christmas. If you celebrate either the birth of Jesus or the passing of the winter solstice, may I wish you the compliments of the season. If you don’t, please just tolerate my wintry whimsies.