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Last week's column was about prolific first-class batsmen who never made it in Test cricket, this week it's the bowlers' turn
May 10, 2006
Glamorgan have achieved a unique double; in Alan Jones they have the highest first-class runscorer never to play a Test, and in Don Shepherd, they have the highest uncapped wicket-taker. Shepherd, a medium-pacer who later bowled fast offcutters, toured Ceylon with the MCC in 1969-70 and was even one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year in 1970.
Gloucestershire's George Dennett, the second on the list, had several highlights during his 2151-wicket career but none worthier than his 8 for 9 that helped rout Northamptonshire for 12, the lowest total in first-class cricket. He finished with match-figures of 15 for 21, all taken in a single day.
However, if we exclude players before World War I, the result is a mix of players from the subcontinent and England, with van der Bijl right leading the way. van der Bijl, a medium-fast bowler of 6ft 7½ inches, was considered by some to be one of the leading bowlers of his time. He was included in the South African squad for the tour of Australia in 1971-72 that was subsequently cancelled.
|VAP van der Bijl||1967/68-1982/83||156||767||8/35||16.54||46|
|AG Ram Singh||1930/31-1946/47||56||265||8/14||18.56||24|
If you look at Test wickets as a proportion of first-class wickets, most of the bowlers with the highest percentages, with the exception of Ashantha De Mel and Kapil Dev , played in the 21st century. It was a similar case with the batsmen, all of whom made their debuts after 1990, a result of central contracts and packed international schedules that allow national cricketers only the rare domestic appearance.
In fact, Courtney Walsh, ranked 49th with 1807 wickets, is the only bowler from the 1990s among the top 50 bowlers with the most first-class wickets.
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