Ask Steven March 19, 2007

Big winners, big players, big scorers

The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket. This week it's a World Cup special

The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket. The World Cup dominates your questions again this week:



Down on luck: Graham Gooch was the bridesmaid in three World Cup finals © Getty Images

Has anyone played in three World Cup-winning teams? asked Michael Docherty from Brisbane

The only team which has won the World Cup three times is Australia (1987-88, 1999 and 2003), and no-one played in all three games. But three members of the current team were on the winning side in both the last two finals - Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath, who thus stand to become the first three-time winners if Australia can justify their favourites' tag again this year. Graham Gooch played in three finals for England ... and, uniquely, lost the lot.

I'm just watching Ireland play and they seem to have a lot on non-Irish-born players. How many of them are there, and what are the qualification rules? asked David Thompson from Huddersfield

The Irish squad includes four players who were born overseas - the captain Trent Johnston, Jeremy Bray and Dave Langford-Smith, who were all in Australia, and Andre Botha (South Africa). The full regulations are rather complicated, but basically a player born outside the country he wishes to represent can do so provided he has lived there for most of the preceding four years (and has not played for any other country in that time). Scotland's squad also includes four players born outside the country - as does England's - but the "leaders" in this regard at this World Cup are Canada, who have only three home-born players in their squad (John Davison, Ian Billcliff and Kevin Sandher) and Holland, who have eight players in their squad who were born outside the Netherlands. The full qualification rules can be found on the official ICC site

Who won a World Cup winners' medal as a player but never played a World Cup match? asked Siddharth Ramesh from Chennai

I think the man you're looking for has an even more remarkable claim to fame than that: Sunil Valson was in India's World Cup -winning squad in 1983, but didn't play in the competition - and in fact never played in a one-day international at all. Valson was a left-arm medium-pacer who took 212 wickets in first-class cricket, most of them for Delhi. In 2002-03 the offspinner Nathan Hauritz replaced Shane Warne in Australia's squad when Warne was banned after a positive drugs test: Hauritz didn't play in the tournament, but he has played in eight ODIs outside World Cups.

Is Bermuda's Dwayne Leverock the heaviest man to play international cricket? asked Savar Kashif from Kolkata

Bermuda's genial left-arm spinner Dwayne Leverock is variously reported as weighing in at between 19 and 20 stone. I'm sure this makes him the heaviest player to appear in a World Cup, and probably in any one-day international, but there's at least one player who outweighed him in Test cricket: Warwick Armstrong, the Australian captain who inflicted the first Ashes whitewash on England in 1920-21. By the time of the 1921 tour of England, Armstrong - who was known as "The Big Ship" - was thought to weigh around 22 stone. I read in a recent interview that Leverock lives above a curry house - and, he admitted with a twinkle in his eye, "there's another one next door." A recent Cricinfo column looked at some other beefy batsmen and bowlers.

Ricky Ponting reached 1000 World Cup runs early in his hundred against Scotland. Is he the first Australian to do this? asked Colin Matthews from Perth

Ricky Ponting started this World Cup with 998 runs, and his first scoring shot in this tournament (a four off Dougie Brown) took him into four figures. And his next scoring shot - another boundary off Brown - took him past Mark Waugh (1004 runs) as Australia's leading scorer in World Cup history. Ponting ended that match with 1111 runs (quadruple Nelson, perhaps?), behind only Sachin Tendulkar (1732) in the World Cup lists at the time. For updated details of the competition's all-time leading runscorers, click here.

Regarding the recent question about the current players who also appeared in the 1992 World Cup, didn't Sourav Ganguly also do so and score 3 against West Indies ... asked Pradyumna Dhore

No, Sourav Ganguly didn't play in the 1992 World Cup, although I can see why you might have thought he did - he made his one-day international debut in Australia in 1991-92 - against West Indies at Brisbane - and did indeed score 3. But that was in the traditional Australian three-way one-day series, which was played before that season's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Ganguly didn't make the Indian squad for that tournament - or the 1996 one.

Steven Lynch is the deputy editor of The Wisden Group. If you want to Ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here each week. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.

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