September 22, 2011


Multistat: 195

Andy Zaltzman

Johnny Bairstow's ODI career strike rate after one match. The Yorkshireman's debut innings of 41 not out off 21 balls was the fastest innings of over 40 on an ODI debut in the history of the known universe. Constable Combustible Shahid Afridi famously splattered 102 off 40 balls (strike rate: 255) in his maiden ODI innings, but it was in his second match, after he registered a disappointingly sedate Did Not Bat in his first. Surprisingly for a nation not universally renowned for the innate flamboyance of its strokeplay, there are five England players in the understandably-seldom-consulted Top Six Fastest ODI Debut Innings Of 40-Plus chart. Not only did Bairstow supplant the previous record holder (Afghanistan's Noor Ali Zadran, who smote 45 off 28 in his first ODI in 2009), but he also overtook his countrymen Luke Wright (50 off 39), Ben Hollioake (63 off 48), Roland Butcher (52 off 38) and John Morris (63 not out off 45). However, before England supporters, redhead fans, and those who see the success of Yorkshire cricketers as inextricably linked to a universally acceptable solution to the Middle East situation, become too excited at Bairstow's brilliant match-clinching debut, it should be noted that Butcher, Morris and Hollioake never surpassed their debut scores, and Wright has reached 50 only once more since his 2007 debut, scoring 52 against New Zealand in 2008.

Also: Balls faced by Peter Burge in scoring 53 in the fifth Test between Australia and West Indies in 1960-61, and by Paul Collingwood during his 135 against South Africa at Edgbaston in 2008. Burge's innings lasted two hours 35 minutes; Collingwood's took four hours 56 minutes. Admittedly, Burge predominantly faced spin, and Collingwood largely encountered pace, but it remains an oddity that, as cricketers have become fitter, stronger and better prepared, aided by modern nutrition and scientific advances, and prompted by the incessant demands of television for non-stop action, they have become increasingly proficient at dawdling back to their bowling markers as if suffering from advanced all-body arthritis. Perhaps cricket's biomechnical experts should be focusing their energies on the brisk walk rather than the repeatable bowling action.

Also: The speed, in miles per hour, at which Andre Nel was convinced he was going to bowl the ball, every time he ran to the wicket. Judging by the look on his face.

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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