Ask Steven September 18, 2006

Averaging 100, and hundreds in lost causes

The return of 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:



Geoff Boycott averaged 102.53 in 1979 and 100.12 in 1971 © Getty Images

I recall that in my boyhood there was great excitement one year at the prospect of Geoffrey Boycott finishing the season with an average of more than 100. I haven't seen any similar comment about Mark Ramprakash's current efforts. Have season averages greater than 100 become commonplace? asked Stephen Sheen

They're certainly not commonplace: since Geoff Boycott averaged 102.53 in 1979 (he also managed 100.12 in 1971), the only two men to average over 100 in a whole English season (given a minimum of eight competed innings) are Graham Gooch, with 101.70 in 1990, and Damien Martyn, who averaged 104.66 from nine matches on Australia's 2001 tour of England. At the time of writing Mark Ramprakash is averaging 103.54, with a possible two innings to come at Derby later this week. Ramprakash has a fairly modest record against Derbyshire: he averages 35.35 from nine previous matches against them - the only county against whom he has a worse average is Essex (29.18). The target for him to aim at is 115.66, the highest average ever recorded in an English season, by Australia's Don Bradman in 1938. Ramps would beat that if he makes 267 not out (or 383 runs if he's out once).

Sachin Tendulkar has just made his 40th ODI century, but India lost again. How many of his hundreds have led to Indian wins? asked Sumit Bhave from Jharkand

India have won 28 of the one-day internationals in which Sachin Tendulkar has scored a century, and lost 11 of them: there was also one no-result, against England at Chester-le-Street in 2002. Rather worryingly for India, though, they have ended up losing on each of the last four occasions that Tendulkar has reached 100.

Are the current DLF Cup matches the first official one-day internationals to be played in Malaysia? asked Priyantha de Silva from Galle

Yes they were: Malaysia had previously hosted the ICC Trophy in 1997, and the cricket competition of the 1998 Commonwealth Games, but those were not official one-day internationals. When it staged the match between Australia and West Indies last week, the Kinrara Academy ground in Kuala Lumpur became the 161st different venue to stage an official ODI: for a complete list of the grounds, click here.

Who has made the highest score at the Melbourne Cricket Ground? asked Chris Macdonald from Carlton ... Melbourne

The highest score in a first-class match at the MCG is 437, by Bill Ponsford for Victoria against Queensland in 1927-28. Ponsford also scored the only other quadruple-century there, 429 against Tasmania in 1922-23. The Test record is 307, by Bob Cowper for Australia against England in 1965-66, and the highest individual score in a one-day international there is 173, by Mark Waugh for Australia against West Indies in 2000-01.



Bill Ponsford made 437 for Victoria against Queensland in 1927-28 © Cricinfo Ltd

Which cricketer called his autobiography Playing With Fire? asked Robert Richards from Cornwall

That was Nasser Hussain, who brought out his life story after his retirement in 2004. Published by Michael Joseph Books, it weighed in at a chunky 512 pages, which I suspect was the record for a cricket autobiography at the time, although the mark was smashed by Steve Waugh's 816-page monster Out Of My Comfort Zone in 2005!

There's an update to last week's question about the former Zimbabwe captain Brian Murphy, from Debashish Biswas

"Brian Murphy is the pro at Henley Cricket Club, on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire border. He has been there since at least 2004. Their First XI play in the Home Counties Premier League."

And there have also been a few responses to last week's appeal for the missing words for Tony Woodward's poem:

Mike Staveley from Canada suggests:
I wondered how she'd look without her Extra Cover,
And how she would respond if I tried my Leg Break tricks ...

While Tony McGowan attempted:
Did she spot your googly coming,
Or your other fancy tricks?

And Farrukh Aziz from Pakistan tried:
Wanting to drive Through the covers, I just got a nick,
I heard the Third Man saying "Oh what a nice flick".

But possibly the best one came from Chandramouli in India:
I thought she would be a good catch,
And we would make a perfect match.

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. 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