Ask Steven October 10, 2005

A hat-trick for the World, and a costly 99 against them

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

The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket. Today it's a World XI special:



Australia's Bob Massie trapped lbw by the World XI's Tony Greig at Adelaide in 1971-72 ... but it doesn't count as a Test wicket © The Cricketer
I was taken to see the Rest of the World team in England in 1970, when I was only eight, and remember someone taking a hat-trick - who was it? asked Danny Caulfield from Harrogate

The hat-trick man was Eddie Barlow, the combative South African allrounder. In the fourth match, at Headingley, he took 7 for 64, including a hat-trick - which he extended to four wickets on five balls - and took five more wickets in the second innings as the World XI took an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the series (they eventually won it 4-1). It was an unusual hat-trick in that it was finished off by a close catch at short leg by Mike Denness, England's 12th man who was fielding as a substitute for the World XI. Barlow, who's now 65, played 30 Tests for South Africa, scoring 2516 runs and taking 40 wickets. He later captained Derbyshire and then coached Bangladesh, but has sadly been in poor health recently following a stroke.

Do these Super Series games count towards players' official records? asked David Thompson from Northampton

Yes, the ICC has decided that these matches count as official ODIs and Tests, and the players' records here on Cricinfo will reflect that. It does make it a bit confusing, though, and it's fair to say that a lot of statisticians - and other interested parties - don't agree with the ICC's ruling on this. The earlier Rest of the World matches (the 1970 series in England, and the 1971-72 matches in Australia) did not count in the official records.

I heard that John Benaud, Richie's brother, was out for 99 against the World XI in 1971-72, and that cost him a tour of England - is that true? asked Chris Norman from Melbourne



John Benaud hooks on his way to 142 against Pakistan after being told he had been dropped © The Cricketer
Well, it's true that John Benaud made 99 for Australia in the fifth match of the 1971-72 series against a World XI, at Adelaide, and it's also true that he didn't make the tour of England that followed shortly afterwards. I suppose you'd have to ask a selector whether that near-miss really cost him a tour spot, but Keith Stackpole, the Australian opener, certainly thought so. In his autobiography Not Just For Openers, Stacky wrote: "The strangest omission [from the 1972 England tour] was Benaud, who made 99, smashing the bowling from one end of the field to the other. When he was out everyone was disappointed for him. Would one extra run mean the difference between his going to England and staying at home? I think it did." The following season Benaud had the opposite experience: after the side for the third Test against Pakistan was named in the middle of the second game at Melbourne, Benaud - who'd been dropped for the next match - smashed 142. This time the selectors had little choice but to select Benaud for the tour of West Indies that followed - and the practice of naming a side for the next game before the previous one had finished was quietly dropped.

I recently had a quiz question I couldn't answer: "Why did the first Test of the 1970 Rest of the World series start on a Wednesday?" Can you enlighten me? asked Richard Bradfield from Brighton

The first Test of the England-Rest of the World series in 1970 started on a Wednesday (June 17) because there was a General Election in the UK on the Thursday, which became a rest day in the match (they had another day off on the Sunday). The match itself, at Lord's, was dominated by the World XI's captain, the incomparable Garry Sobers, who took 6 for 21 in 20 overs as England were shot out for 127, and then scored 183. Not content with that, he bowled 31 overs in the second innings, taking 2 for 43 as England slid to a heavy defeat. That was also the match in which Alan Jones, the prolific Glamorgan opener, made his only international appearance: he made 5 and 0, and was dropped for the next game.

Where can I find the scorecard of the Rest of the World match in which Sunil Gavaskar scored a hundred in his last first-class match? asked Anil Bhatti from Mumbai



Sunil Gavaskar on his way to 188 © Getty Images
That was a special match played at Lord's to celebrate the Bicentenary of MCC in 1987. In the World XI's first innings Sunil Gavaskar made 188, and was one of four centurions in the match: oddly, all their surnames began with G (the others were Gooch, Gatting and Greenidge). After his innings, Gavaskar - who had never scored a hundred at Lord's before - announced his retirement from first-class cricket, although he did play in the World Cup that followed in India and Pakistan.

Did any Pakistan players appear in the England-Rest of the World series in 1970? asked Shabiuddin Ahmed from Karachi

There were two - Intikhab Alam, the legspinner who had just taken over as Pakistan's captain, and Mushtaq Mohammad, the wristy batsman (and wristy legspinner) who also captained Pakistan later on. Intikhab appeared in all five of the games of that 1970 series, while Mushtaq played in the last two. Majid Khan and Asif Iqbal were also playing in English county cricket at the time, and must have been close to selection for what was a very strong World XI side.

For more information on the history of Rest of the World sides, click here for Martin Williamson's recent "Rewind To ..." article.

Steven Lynch is the former editor of Cricinfo