The column where we answer your questions December 15, 2003

A four-country problem, and a 22-year gap between Tests

The column where we answer your questions

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

Which Test cricketer was born in one country, played for another, and was banned by a third country for playing in a fourth one? asks Arun from Chennai

John Traicos: two Tests 22 years apart
© Getty Images

This one sounds like a thorny quiz question to me. In the office our first thought was that it might be Tony Greig, who was born in South Africa but captained England, and was banned from Tests for his involvement with World Series Cricket in Australia. But Greig wasn't actually banned by a specific country. The answer is actually Robin Jackman, the Surrey seamer who was born in India. He was called up by England during their 1980-81 tour of West Indies, but was thrown out of Guyana as he had played a lot of cricket in South Africa (this was in the middle of South Africa's exclusion from international cricket because of their government's apartheid policies). The Guyana Test of that tour was cancelled as a consequence. Jackman, who was 35, made his debut in the next match, in Barbados - and took the wicket of Gordon Greenidge with his fifth ball in Test cricket. Like Greig, Jackman is now a TV commentator.

What's the record gap for a player between Test appearances? asks Richard White from Sydney

In terms of time, the record gap is an amazing 22 years and 222 days, by John Traicos. He played three Tests for South Africa in 1969-70 - the last three before their exclusion from international cricket - and was still wheeling down his offspin when Zimbabwe gained Test status in 1992-93. Traicos, who was then 45, played in Zimbabwe's first four Tests (he took 5 for 86 in 50 overs in their first one, against India at Harare). The record gap between appearances for the same country is 17 years 316 days, by England's George Gunn - between 1911-12 and 1929-30, by which time he was 50. In terms of matches missed between appearances, though, the record was broken last summer in England. Martin Bicknell reappeared after a ten-year gap - but England had played 114 Tests since his previous one, which meant Bicknell broke the previous record of 104 by Younis Ahmed of Pakistan between 1969-70 and 1986-87. Another England player, Derek Shackleton, missed 103 Tests between 1951-52 and 1963.

What's the highest total in Test cricket that didn't include any extras? asks Tom Aldred from London

There have been 19 totals of more than 100 in Test cricket that haven't included a single extra. The highest came at Lahore in 1954-55, when Pakistan's 328 all came off the bat - 99 of them from Maqsood Ahmed. The next-highest is a long way off - South Africa's 252 against England at Durban in 1930-31.

Adrian Griffith: the first in a long line of left-handers
© Getty Images

The West Indies team in the fifth Test against England at The Oval in 2000 included eight left-handed batsmen. Is that a record? asks Sujoy Ghosh

It was indeed a record. Twice in 2000 West Indies fielded a side containing eight left-handers. The first one was at Georgetown in May, in a drawn match against Pakistan, and the lefties concerned were Adrian Griffith, Wavell Hinds, Jimmy Adams, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Ridley Jacobs, Nixon McLean and Curtly Ambrose, who were Nos. 2 to 9 in the batting order (the only right-handers were Sherwin Campbell, Reon King and Courtney Walsh). At The Oval in September the left-handers Brian Lara and Mahendra Nagamootoo were playing instead of Chanderpaul and Gayle (for the right-hand brigade Ramnaresh Sarwan was in for King). Between 1994 and 2000 West Indies quite often fielded seven left-handers, and Sri Lanka did it in three Tests as well, most recently against England at Lord's in 2002 (Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Russel Arnold, Hashan Tillakaratne, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa and Ruchira Perera).

What is the highest total in Tests and ODIs that doesn't include a century? And a half-century? Jeff Chung from Japan

The highest Test total without a century is 524 for 9 dec, by India v New Zealand at Kanpur in 1976-77. All 11 batsmen reached double figures, but the highest score was Mohinder Amarnath's 70. In all there were six half-centuries, including one from Bishan Bedi. Two other sides have reached 500 without an individual century: South Africa made 517 against Australia at Adelaide in 1997-98, when the highest score was Brian McMillan's 87 not out, and Pakistan scored 500 for 8 dec against Australia at Melbourne in 1981-82, when Mudassar Nazar top-scored with 95 and Zaheer Abbas hit 90. The highest Test score without an individual half-century is England's 315 against West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1985-86: the highest score was David Gower's 47, although there were 59 extras in that one. South Africa also passed 300 without a half-century against New Zealand at Wellington in 1963-64 - the highest score in their 302 was Peter van der Merwe's 44. In one-day internationals the highest total without an individual century is England's 363 for 7 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in 1992 (it was the highest ODI total of all at the time) when the highest score was Robin Smith's 77. And the tallest total in ODIs that didn't include a fifty is also by England - 265 for 6 against Zimbabwe at Harare in 2001-02, when the highest score was Mark Ramprakash's 47.

I remember Belinda Clark becoming the first person to score a double-century in a one-day international in the World Cup a few years ago - something still not achieved in the men's game. Are there any other milestones or records that women achieved before men? asks Peter Blundell from New South Wales

Well, the women beat the men in staging a World Cup in the first place - the first women's one was in 1973 (England won it), two years before the inaugural men's one. The first women's Test wasn't until 1934-35 - 68 years after the men had started - so there aren't many significant ladies-first records there. One I did find was a player scoring a century and taking ten wickets in the same Test: Betty Wilson of Australia did this against England at Melbourne in 1957-58 - she scored 100 and had scarcely credible match figures of 11 for 16 - whereas no man managed it until Ian Botham did so for England v India in the Golden Jubilee Test at Bombay in 1979-80. Actually two women had done it by then - England's Enid Bakewell scored 112 not out and took 10 for 75 against West Indies at Edgbaston in 1979. There were also twins in the Australian women's Test side 56 years before the Waughs - Fernie Blade (nee Shevill) played against England in the first Test at Brisbane in 1934-35, and her twin Irene Shevill appeared in the next two. Another sister, Essie Shevill, played in all three of those matches, and amazingly she had a twin sister of her own - Lily, who didn't get an Australian cap but did play for New South Wales.

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