July 28, 2011


Multistat: 3

Andy Zaltzman

The number of Test double-hundreds scored by Kevin Pietersen - putting him third on the all-time England list, behind the useful pairing of Wally Hammond (7) and Len Hutton (4).

A quick multiple-choice quiz question for you. Pencils ready? You may begin. Who has scored the most Test double-hundreds, with 12 in 52 Tests, at a rate of one every 6.66 innings? (a) Don Bradman; (b) Monty Panesar; (c) North Korean President Kim Jong Il, the self-proclaimed scorer of the world's lowest ever golf round (38 under par), and presumably therefore quite handy at cricket as well; or (d) film actress Zooey Deschanel.

Also: The number of double-hundreds scored in Lord's Tests between 1950 and 2002. There have been five since 2003. There were five from 1938 to 1949, in just six Tests. Shortly after New Zealand's Martin Donnelly scored the last of those, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China. No double-century was scored in a Lord's Test for 33 years after the communists took hold of China. In March 2003, Hu Jintao became the Chinese president. In July that year, Graeme Smith brutalised England at HQ for 259 aesthetic abominations of runs. Is president Hu behind the recent spate of docile pitches at Lord's? Was the MCC the real force behind the Chinese Communist Party? Was Gubby Allen the mastermind of the Cultural Revolution? I am not willing to answer any of these questions for fear of what potentially life-threatening political machinations the truth might unleash. I merely present the facts. Draw your own conclusions.

Also: The number of Test double-hundreds England players scored between September 1985 and February 2002. Since then, there have been 10 England 200s. Here is another multiple-choice question: Why? (a) Because England have become better at batting since 2002; (b) Because the bowlers of the world have become less good at bowling since 2002; (c) Because pitches have become increasingly batsman-friendly, verging at times on batsman-amorously-flirtatious; or (d) all of the above.

(Answers to the two questions will be posted on this page in 50 years' time)

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

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Andy Zaltzman
Andy Zaltzman was born in obscurity in 1974. He has been a sporadically-acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999, and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4. He is currently one half of TimesOnline's hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver. Zaltzman's love of cricket outshone his aptitude for the game by a humiliating margin. He once scored 6 in 75 minutes in an Under-15 match, and failed to hit a six between the ages of 9 and 23. He would have been ideally suited to Tests, had not a congenital defect left him unable to play the game to anything above genuine village standard. He writes the Confectionery Stall blog on Cricinfo.

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