Ask Steven April 10, 2006

Sikh to Sikh, 99 Tests, and a brotherly break

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:

Monty Panesar is the first Sikh to play Test cricket for anyone other than India © AFP

Was Monty Panesar bowling to Harbhajan Singh in the recent India-England series the first instance of a Sikh bowling to a Sikh in Test cricket? asked Harish Acharya

Actually the first instance of this came earlier in the first Test at Nagpur, when Harbhajan bowled to Panesar during England's first innings. But basically you're right: this was the first case of two Sikhs in opposition in a Test. As far as I can establish Panesar is the first Sikh to play Test cricket for anyone other than India.

Is Monty Panesar the first person born in Luton to play Test cricket? asked Richard Ankerson

Monty Panesar did indeed become Luton's first Test native Test cricketer (he was born there in 1982) when he made his debut in the game mentioned above against India at Nagpur. Only six men who were born in Bedfordshire had previously played Test cricket: Jack Durston (born in Clophill in 1893), Wayne Larkins (born Roxton,1953), Geoff Millman (Bedford, 1934), Dick Pilling (Old Warden, near Biggleswade, 1855) and Edmund Tylecote (Marton Mortain, near Ampthill, 1849) for England - and Tom Kendall, who was born in Bedford in 1851 but played for Australia in the first Test of all, at Melbourne in 1876-77, taking 7 for 55 in the second innings as his adopted country stormed to victory.

John Benaud made his Test debut 20 years after his brother, Richie. Is this a record for siblings? asked Andrew Coulthard from Edinburgh

John Benaud won his first Test cap in December 1972, almost 21 years after Richie, who is 14 years older, first wore the baggy green in January 1952. It's not quite a record, though: Johnny Tyldesley first played for England in South Africa in 1898-99, and his brother Ernest - who was 15 years younger - played his first Test over 22 years later, at home against Australia in 1921: he won his last Test cap in Australia in 1928-29, more than 30 years after his brother's debut. Pakistan's Mohammad family ran them close: Sadiq Mohammad won the last of his 41 Test caps in 1980-81, 28 years after the debut of his brother, Hanif. Sadiq's first Test, against New Zealand at Karachi in 1969-70, was Hanif's last. For a list of related Test players, click here.

Has anyone taken a hat-trick in the World Cup? asked Bashir Ahmed from Delhi

There have been four World Cup hat-tricks, two of them in the last tournament in South Africa in 2002-03 - by Brett Lee for Australia against Kenya at Durban, and by Sri Lanka's Chaminda Vaas with the first three balls of the match against Bangladesh at Pietermaritzburg (and he took another wicket later in the same over). Before that Chetan Sharma took the first World Cup hat-trick, for India against New Zealand at Nagpur in 1987-88, and Saqlain Mushtaq claimed the second, for Pakistan against Zimbabwe at The Oval in 1999. For a full list of hat-tricks in all one-day internationals, click here.

John Benaud, brother of Richie, made his debut for Australia 20 years later © The Cricketer International

Is there anybody who has played 99 Tests and not made it to 100? asked Forrest Hamilton from England

There's only one person who is marooned on 99 Test appearances: India's former captain Mohammad Azharuddin. He scored a century in his first Test, and another in his 99th - but he never won his 100th cap after being implicated in the match-fixing scandal. As I write three other players have played in 99 Test matches - Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Stephen Fleming - but that should change on Saturday (April 15), when all three should win their 100th caps when South Africa take on New Zealand in the first Test at Centurion. For a full list of players with the most Test appearances, click here.

And finally some readers' thoughts on last week's question about coincidences in cricket:

First, Jurie Schoeman from South Africa writes: "I have heard that Bob Woolmer is the only person to be present at the two highest first-class innings - he was a youngster when he watched Hanif Mohammad get run out for 499, and he was the Warwickshire coach when Brian Lara made 501." In a similar vein, Phil Dawson recalls: "There was a man who was taken as a child to Old Trafford in 1956 and saw Jim Laker take all ten wickets in a Test, and he happened to be visiting India and watched Anil Kumble do the same." (Steven writes: the 2000 Wisden unmasks this gentleman as Richard Stokes, an English businessman who was 53 at the time of Kumble's feat in 1998-99.) Charles Davis from Australia says: "Glenn Turner was out for 259 in two consecutive innings, in the space of a week, on the Bourda ground in 1972. And regarding the Bradman/Barnes coincidence you mentioned, I have a scorebook of the 1946-47 Sydney Test, and Barnes's scoring strokes add up to 233, even though the final score is given as 234! Careful examination of the bowling analyses suggests that the scorer missed a single by Barnes, so the 234 score should stand." And David Pracy writes: "As an Essex fan, I quite like the coincidence at the Brentwood Festival of 1934. In the first game Kent beat Essex by an innings and 192 runs, and in the second Essex beat Surrey by exactly the same margin."

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