Most ODIs before a Test, and double figures all in a row
The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:
How many men have played over 50 ODIs before making their Test debut? asked Shyam Sundar from India
There are currently six. Andrew Symonds played 94 ODIs before he finally played a Test, passing the record of 76 held by another Australian, Adam Gilchrist. India's Yuvraj Singh won 73 ODI caps before winning a Test one, and Shahid Afridi played 66 for Pakistan. Robin Singh played 60 ODIs before his one and only Test for India, and New Zealand's Gavin Larsen managed 55. At the time of writing there are eight players who have played more than 50 ODIs but who have not yet appeared in a Test, with Ian Harvey (73) leading the way. The next six on the list are all Kenyans: Steve Tikolo (65), Tom Odoyo and Kennedy Otieno (63), Martin Suji and Maurice Odumbe (61), and Hitesh Modi (55). And India's Dinesh Mongia has so far played 51 ODIs, but no Tests.
I've been scouring the internet for ages trying to find the answer to this quiz question: "Which two cricketers jointly hold the record for the most consecutive double-figure innings in Test cricket, with 25?" Can you help? asked Martin Morgan
Well, first of all I think your question is out of date. The record now is 29, by Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka, between January 2001 and July 2002 (click here for more details). Shortly after that Jayawardene had another run of 24 successive double-figures scores - he only made less than 10 twice in a run of 35 Tests. The two men who shared the old record of 25 were Len Hutton (between 1950-51 and 1953) and Rohan Kanhai (1960-61 to 1964-65).
Can you help settle an argument please? My mate reckons the most common form of dismissal in Tests is c Marsh b Lillee, but I think that the Gilchrist/McGrath combination may have overtaken them. And what about lbw b Akram? Who's right? asked Stuart Coats from New Zealand
I'm afraid your mate is right, as far as fielding combinations go, anyway. There were 95 instances of c Marsh b Lillee in Tests, while c Gilchrist b McGrath recently moved into second place with 75. Another current combination, c Boucher b Pollock, is joint-third with 71, level with c Dujon b Marshall. There are 11 instances of a catcher/bowler pairing having more than 50 Test dismissals between them, and the only one that doesn't involve a wicketkeeper is c (Mark) Taylor b Warne (51). If you exclude the fielder, the most common dismissal in Tests is now bowled Muralitharan (126), ahead of lbw b Wasim Akram (119), with lbw b Warne (115) coming up on the rails.
Who is now the oldest surviving Test cricketer, and is he also the one who made his debut the longest ago? asked Matthew Haynes from Dorset
The oldest surviving Test player, as I write, is the former New Zealand wicketkeeper Eric Tindill, who was born on December 18, 1910, so is well over 94 years old now. "Snowy" Tindill was a remarkable allround sportsman who played both cricket and rugby for New Zealand, and later umpired a Test and refereed rugby internationals as well. He is just ten days older than another New Zealander, Jack Kerr, who is the last survivor of their 1931 Test series in England (Tindill didn't make his Test debut until their next tour, in 1937). The recent death of Mushtaq Ali means there are now only seven men alive who played Test cricket before the Second World War, and four of them are New Zealanders, which says much for the Kiwi climate: Tindill, Kerr, Walter Hadlee and Merv Wallace. The others are Australia's Bill Brown, Mandy Mitchell-Innes of England, and the South African Norman Gordon. For a more complete list, click here.
Following on from last week's question about the most Test wickets taken away from home, what's the corresponding record for batsmen? asked Gerry Fox from Blackburn
The great Don Bradman leads the way here, with 2674 runs in 19 Tests in England (at an average of 102.84). Jack Hobbs lies second, with 2493 runs for England in Australia. Allan Border made 2082 Test runs in England, while Viv Richards managed 2057. These four are the only batsmen to exceed 2000 runs in a country other than their own, and no-one is terribly close to joining them - Brian Lara's 1268 runs in England is the most by a current player.
Is it true that Hanumant Singh fielded as a substitute for both India and England in the second Test of the 1961-62 series at Kanpur? asked Sitanshu Shekhar
I can't find any trace of this, so can't for certain say whether it is or isn't true. But India's official 12th man for that match at Kanpur in 1961-62 was Budhi Kunderan, not Hanumant Singh, who did not feature in any of those Tests. If it happened at all I think it is more likely to have been during England's 1963-64 tour, when Mike Smith's side was famously short of players after various illnesses and injuries - the journalist Henry Blofeld was asked to stand by to play in one Test, as England were so short (he didn't play in the end). There is mention in the Indian Cricket Annual for 1964 of Kripal Singh (not Hanumant, who made his debut later in that 1963-64 series) fielding for England in the second Test at Bombay. The report states: "At the start of the match, England had only 11 fit men. Barrington, their most consistent batsman, had his hand in a plaster. During the day, Stewart, another of their good batsmen, took ill, and with no other player available, Kripal Singh had to field for them. It was something of a record." There's no mention of whether he also fielded for India, though.
There's an afterthought to one of last week's questions:
Susmita from Singapore writes: "Regarding the question last week about Chris Tremlett nearly taking a hat-trick on his international debut, Mohammad Sami went close to doing this too. On his Test debut for Pakistan against New Zealand at Auckland in 2000-01, Sami took the eighth and ninth wickets in the second innings with the last two balls of an over, and was denied a chance of a hat-trick when Saqlain Mushtaq cleaned up the last wicket in the next over."
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 and the Wisden Wizard. 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