Ask Steven April 2, 2007

Four wickets in an over, and who's the Cockroach?

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:

Jason Gillespie once managed four wickets in six balls © Getty Images

I seem to remember Jason Gillespie taking four wickets in an over in a Test against England. How many other people have done this? asked Bevan Mountford from Port Macquarie

I don't think Jason Gillespie has ever done this, although he did take four wickets in six balls - including three in four balls twice (W0WW, then 1W in his next over) - to end England's second innings at Perth in 1998-99. Six people have managed it in a Test, though, five of them for England: Maurice Allom, on his Test debut, against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1929-30; Ken Cranston, in only his second Test, against South Africa at Headingley in 1947; Fred Titmus, against New Zealand at Headingley in 1965; Chris Old, against Pakistan at Edgbaston in 1978 (this was WW0WW, with the middle delivery being a no-ball); and Andrew Caddick, against West Indies at Headingley in 2000 (W0WW0nbW). The other instance was by Wasim Akram, for Pakistan against West Indies at Lahore in 1990-91 - the sequence this time was WW1WW, with a catch being dropped off the ball that allowed a single.

Which Test cricketer was known as the "Cockroach", and why? asked R Sivasubramaniam from Singapore

The man who earned this dubious nickname was England's Mike Atherton, who was called "The Cockroach" by the Australians - Steve Waugh is credited with coming up with the name - because he was so hard to stamp out.

In the World Cup group match between Australia and South Africa, all the Aussie batsmen scored at a run a ball or better. Has this happened before? asked Tim McAllister from Melbourne, and many more

You're right: led by Matthew Hayden's 101 from 68 balls - a strike rate of 148.52 - all Australia's batsmen scored at a run a ball or better during the 83-run victory over South Africa at Basseterre. The only other time this has happened in a one-day international (in an innings in which at least seven men batted) was by New Zealand against Canada at Benoni in the 2002-03 World Cup. This was revealed in Cricinfo's Stats column after the Basseterre match.

Has there ever been a Liverpudlian who has played Test cricket for England? And has there ever been a Test cricketer for Australia who hailed from the Northern Territory? asked Roger from Australia

England have capped a lot of players from Lancashire, but - depending on how far the city limits stretch - only one of them was born in Liverpool: AG Steel, who played in the first Test ever played in England, at The Oval in 1880, was born in West Derby, Liverpool, in 1858. Ken Cranston, who's mentioned above, was born in nearby Aigburth. There is a current Liverpool-born Test player, though: Australia's Michael Clarke was born in Liverpool ... New South Wales. The only Australian Test cricketer who was born in the Northern Territory was the recently retired Damien Martyn, who first saw the light of day in Darwin in 1971. There is another current Test player from there, though: New Zealand's Mathew Sinclair was born in Katherine, in the Northern Territory, in 1975.

Who is the youngest player in this World Cup? asked David Bronstein from London

Three 17-year-olds played in the current World Cup: at Port-of-Spain, and Bermuda's Malachi Jones was 17 years 267 days old when he played against India, also at Port-of-Spain. But the youngest player in this World Cup was Holland's Alexei Kervezee, who was only 17 years and 186 days old when he played against South Africa at Basseterre. For a full list of the World Cup's youngest players over the years, click here.

Who made four stumpings on his Test debut but never played again? asked Ashoke Sanyal from India

This unfortunate man was Vijay Rajindernath, who won his only Test cap for India against Pakistan in Bombay in 1952-53. Rajindernath, who was born in Amritsar but played for Bihar and Bombay, was one of four different wicketkeepers tried by India in the first four Tests of that series. The others were Khokan Sen, Nana Joshi and Ebrahim Maka (Sen came back for the final Test).

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.