Ask Steven May 1, 2006

A man with seven initials, and battling brothers

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:

Jack Hearne, cousin of Alec, George, and Frank, played on the same side as two of the three © Getty Images

I was looking through some websites today, and one claimed that there once was a cricketer named ... hold your breath ... John Elicius Benedict Bernard Placid Quirk Carrington Dwyer. Is this true? Who was he? asked Anirudh Sankaran from India

That really was his name, and he played for Sussex - usually appearing on scorecards (presumably for reasons of space!) as EB Dwyer - in the early 1900s, despite having been born in Australia. Christopher Lee's 1989 Sussex history From the Sea End reveals: "He inevitably had a somewhat exotic background. JEBBPQC Dwyer was a great-grandson of Michael Dwyer, a Wicklow chieftain who was described as one of the boldest leaders of the 1798 [Irish] insurrection and who was eventually captured and transported to Australia. It was there, in Sydney, that EB Dwyer was born in 1876. He was a tall, dark and handsome fellow with a ready humour, who bowled with a high right-arm action that produced lift and not a little turn. He was encouraged to come to England by Pelham Warner, and persuaded by CB Fry to play for Sussex. In 1906 his registration was approved, and he immediately proved his worth with 9 for 35 against Derbyshire and 9 for 44 against Middlesex." Sadly, Dwyer died in 1912, aged only 36. He seems to have admitted to more initials than anyone else who played first-class cricket in England - although he has some rivals in Sri Lanka, where I suspect Rajitha Amunugama might be the record-holder.

Have two brothers ever played for different countries, and if so, did they ever play against each other? asked George Holloway

The only instance of two brothers playing against each other in a Test came in 1891-92, when Alec and George Hearne played for England at Cape Town against a South African side which included their brother, Frank. A cousin, JT Hearne, also played for England in that match. Frank Hearne had earlier played for England, against South Africa, in 1888-89, and settled there after that tour. His son, GAL Hearne, later played for South Africa too. None of the Hearnes got each other out; but nearly 100 years later, in 1985-86, the Australian bowler Bruce Reid dismissed his cousin, New Zealand's John F. Reid, in a Test at Wellington.

Who scored the most runs, and who took the most wickets, in Tests in 2005? asked Hareeiharan Thangarasupillai from Sri Lanka

The leading Test runscorer of 2005 was the Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who made 1544 runs in 15 matches at an average of 67.13, with six centuries. Second was his team-mate Matthew Hayden, who also played 15 matches and scored 1380 runs. Five other players reached four figures: Marcus Trescothick (1323 runs), Brian Lara (1110), Jacques Kallis (1011), AB de Villiers (1008) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (1000). Graeme Smith just missed out, with 990. Ponting also topped the list in ODIs, with 1191 runs, ahead of Rahul Dravid (1092) and Virender Sehwag (1017). For the bowlers, Shane Warne led the way with 96 wickets, an alltime record for a single calendar year, well ahead of Andrew Flintoff (68), Glenn McGrath (62), Matthew Hoggard (58) and Muttiah Muralitharan (52 in just eight Tests). Danish Kaneria and Brett Lee both took 49 wickets: Lee was the leading ODI wicket-taker of the year, with 51, ahead of Naved-ul-Hasan (45). For a full list of the leading Test runscorers of 2005, click here; for the top wicket-takers, click here.

Richie Benaud: the first to take 200 wickets and score 2000 runs, and you just know he can name the other 11 © Getty Images

Daniel Vettori recently became the 12th man to take 200 wickets and score 2000 runs in Tests. Richard Hadlee and Chris Cairns also did it for New Zealand - but who are the other nine players? asked Bob Abraham from New Zealand

The first person to achieve this feat was Richie Benaud, who finished his 63-Test career in 1963-64 with 2201 runs and 248 wickets. The others to have done this double, apart from the three New Zealanders you mention, are Ian Botham (5200 runs, 383 wickets), Imran Khan (3807, 362), Kapil Dev (5248, 434), Shaun Pollock (3406, 391), Garry Sobers (8032, 235), Chaminda Vaas (2251, 301), Shane Warne (2958, 685) and Wasim Akram (2898, 414). Two other men are close to completing it: Jacques Kallis needed just three wickets before the second Test against New Zealand at Cape Town, and Anil Kumble needs another 108 runs. For a full list of those who have completed the allrounder's double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in Tests, click here.

Who was the oldest player to play in a Test, and in an ODI? asked Qasim Anwar from Canada

Four men have played Test cricket after their 50th birthdays. George Gunn of England was aged 50 years 303 days on the final day of his Test career, against West Indies in 1929-30; WG Grace was 17 days older when his Test career finished in 1899; and Australia's Bert Ironmonger was seven days older still when he featured in the final match of the Bodyline series in 1932-33. But the oldest man to play Test cricket was 52 years and 165 days old when he finally stopped: Wilfred Rhodes, the legendary Yorkshire and England spinner, played in the same Test as Gunn at Kingston in April 1930 - during the match the two dismissed Clifford Roach (c Gunn b Rhodes), and their combined total of more than 103 years is another Test record. For a full list of those who have played Tests after their 40th birthday, click here. The oldest player to appear in an ODI was Holland's Nolan Clarke, who was 47 years 257 days old when he faced South Africa at Rawalpindi in the 1995-96 World Cup. The oldest to appear for a Test-playing country is John Traicos, who was aged 45 years 312 days when he played for Zimbabwe against India at Pune in 1992-93. For as full list of 40-year-old ODI players - five of them appeared for the USA in the 2004 Champions Trophy in England - click here.

I am baffled as to how batsman's averages are worked out. It's not runs divided by Tests or by innings, because The Don's average isn't 6996 runs divided by either 52 Tests or 80 innings. Can you help? asked Tony Railton from Australia

The trick is that batting averages are worked out by dividing the number of runs by the number of completed innings - so you ignore innings where the batsman wasn't out. Don Bradman had 80 innings in Tests, but ten of them were not out, so you divide his run-tally (6996) by completed innings (70) to get his famous average of 99.94.

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.