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The coach who caught Sachin, and a much-travelled man

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

Steven Lynch

November 5, 2006

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

Is it true that John Wright took the catch that prevented Sachin Tendulkar becoming the youngest man to score a Test century? asked Sunny Vachchani from the United States



Sachin Tendulkar missed out on being the youngest to score a Test century when future India coach John Wright caught him at Napier in 1990 © Getty Images
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It is - John Wright, later India's coach but then New Zealand's captain, caught Sachin Tendulkar 12 short of his hundred off the bowling of Danny Morrison at Napier in February 1990. Tendulkar was still only 16 then: by the time he did make a Test century, against England at Old Trafford later that year, he was 29 days older than Mushtaq Mohammad had been when he scored his first one, for Pakistan against India at Delhi in 1960-61. Both of them have been surpassed since, by Bangladesh's Mohammad Ashraful, who was only 17 years and 61 days old when he hit 114 - on his Test debut - against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2001-02. For a full list of Test cricket's youngest century-makers, click here.

I was asked the other day to name the man who played for five of New Zealand's six first-class sides ... and I drew a blank! Can you help? asked Austin Thompson from Auckland

The much-travelled player in question is the left-hand batsman John Guy, who started with Central Districts in 1953-54, moved to Canterbury in1957-58, played for Otago in 1959-60 and Wellington in 1960-61, briefly returning to CD before turning out for Northern Districts in 1964-65: he played for them on and off until 1972-73. The one province he didn't play for was your local one - Auckland. Guy won 12 Test caps, scoring 102 in his second one, against India at Hyderabad in 1955-56, and he also played a couple of matches for Northamptonshire in 1958.

In the World Championship of Cricket one-day tournament in 1984-85, two West Indian batsmen retired hurt in their group match against Sri Lanka. What happened?! asked Ayon Dutta from India

That match was played on a sporty pitch (Wisden reported that "morning rain and evening dew may have accounted for the uneven bounce") at Melbourne in that tournament, which was staged to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the state of Victoria. (India won it, beating Pakistan in the final). Sri Lanka struggled to 135 for 7 in 47 overs, and although West Indies knocked off the runs inside 24 overs (they were trying to improve their run rate to ensure they finished top of their group), they did lose two batsmen retired hurt: Richie Richardson had made 11 when he was hit in the face by a ball from Ashantha de Mel, then - still before West Indies had actually lost a wicket - Larry Gomes (20) was hit by Rumesh Ratnayake. Gomes lost two teeth and also broke his nose: Ratnayake was so upset by the sight of Gomes's blood that he almost fainted.

Many people born outside England have played for - and even captained - England. But how many non-Australian-born players have represented Australia? Most recently Kepler Wessels springs to mind, but I suspect there are relatively few? asked Barry Mollett



Clarrie Grimmett, the great legspinner, was one of 21 Aussie Test players born outside Australia © Getty Images
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You're right in thinking that there have not been very many recent Australian players who were born elsewhere. One from the current team is Andrew Symonds, who was born in Birmingham in England: the only other one since Kepler Wessels is the tall left-armer Brendan Julian, who was born in New Zealand. Ken MacLeay, who played 16 one-day internationals for Australia in the 1980s (including several in the 1983 World Cup) but no Tests, was born in Wiltshire in England. The most notable Australian Test player who was born outside the country is probably Clarrie Grimmett, the master legspinner of the 1920s and 1930s, who was born in New Zealand. In all 21 players born outside Australia have represented them in Tests - six in the very first Test of all, at Melbourne in 1876-77, including Charles Bannerman, the scorer of Test cricket's first century - he was born in Woolwich in south-east London. For the record, the others not previously mentioned are George Alexander, Hanson Carter, William Cooper, Tony Dell, John Hodges, Tom Kendall, Percy McDonnell, Eric Midwinter and Harry Musgrove (all born in England), Bransby Cooper and Rex Sellers (India), Tom Horan and Thomas Kelly (Ireland), Tom Groube (New Zealand), Archie Jackson (Scotland) and Dav Whatmore (Sri Lanka).

Which Australian player had a father who played professional football in Scotland? asked Derek McMurray from Aberdeen

The man in what sounds like a north-of-the-border quiz question is Bob Simpson, who captained Australia in 39 of his 62 Tests before becoming the national team's coach. Simpson wrote in his 1966 autobiography Captain's Story: "There was no cricket heritage on the family Simpson. Both my parents were born in Scotland, where Dad [William] as a young man played first-division soccer for Stenhousemuir in the Scottish League."

Regarding last week's question about a batsman being the victim twice in the same hat-trick, didn't it also happen when Glamorgan played the Indians in 1946, when Peter Judge was bowled by successive balls from Chandu Sarwate? asked Lionel Rajapakse from Sri Lanka

In a strange sequence of events, the Glamorgan fast bowler Peter Judge was indeed bowled twice in two balls from India's Chandu Sarwate in the tourists' match at Cardiff Arms Park in 1946. Judge was the last man out, and the Indians asked Glamorgan to follow on: there wasn't much time left, so Glamorgan's captain Johnny Clay (who was the not-out batsman) decided to give the crowd some fun, didn't bother with the usual ten minutes between innings, and reversed his batting order. Judge stayed out there, and was promptly bowled by Sarwate's first ball of the second innings, thus completing first-class cricket's fastest-ever pair, in around a minute. Now, some reference books refer to this as part of a hat-trick: Gerald Brodribb, in his usually reliable Next Man In, a study of cricket's laws, says Judge was "twice bowled first ball by successive deliveries from Sarwate", which implies that it was a hat-trick - but it wasn't listed as such in the books I consulted for that previous answer. So I asked Andrew Hignell, the Glamorgan historian, whether he could throw any light on the matter. He said: "I have looked at the 1946 scorebook, which is not in great condition, and it appears to have been three wickets in four balls. Sarwate bowled Haydn Davies with the first ball of his 14th over, and then repeated the trick against Judge with the third ball of the over. Judge was then bowled again by Sarwate with the first ball of the next over, and Glamorgan's second innings."

  • Steven Lynch's new book, The Cricinfo Guide to International Cricket 2007, is out now. Click here for more details, or here for our review.

  • 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

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    Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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