August 4, 2009

Miandad's record, and an ambidextrous bowler

Nine innings and as many fifties, ambidextrous bowlers, and the longest wait for a Test century

I recently spotted that Javed Miandad once reached 50 in nine successive one-day international innings. Is this a record? asked Raziullah Qureshi
That run by Pakistan's Javed Miandad came in 1987 and included half-centuries against Australia, England, India and Sri Lanka in nine successive matches. It's easily a record for one-day internationals: the next-best is six successive half-centuries, by Gordon Greenidge for West Indies in 1979 and 1980, New Zealand's Andrew Jones (1988 to 1989), Mark Waugh of Australia (all in January 1999), and Pakistan's Yousuf Youhana (now Mohammad Yousuf) late in 2003. For a full list, click here.

I was playing in a Surrey league match last weekend and one of the opposition bowled right-arm for a while, then told the umpire he was changing his action and bowled very respectably with his left arm for a few more overs. I've never seen this before in many years of playing club cricket. Has it happened in any international match? asked Robert Parrington from Cheam
I don't think this has ever been seriously attempted by anyone in senior international cricket, although there might have been a few instances of someone doing so for a bit of light relief as a draw loomed. I believe that Hanif Mohammad of Pakistan bowled both right- and left-arm in Test cricket, and possibly England's Graham Gooch did too - he sometimes enlivened dead matches by impersonating other bowlers. One instance of it at a representative international level came in 2000, in the Lord's final of the Under-15 World Challenge event held in England that year (West Indies beat Pakistan by two wickets). Pakistan's Mohammad Naeem bowled slow left-arm to right-hand batsmen and right-arm offspin to left-hand batsmen (thus ensuring he was usually turning the ball away from all the batsmen). Sadly Naeem faded away after that - he has never played first-class cricket.

Which player took the most matches to register their first Test century? Was it Jason Gillespie? asked John Benton from Warwick
Jason Gillespie did hold this record for a time after scoring his maiden century - 201 not out - against Bangladesh in Chittagong in April 2006 in his 71st (and, as it turned out, last) Test. But his record was fairly short-lived: in June 2007 Sri Lanka's Chaminda Vaas, playing in his 97th Test, made 100 not out against Bangladesh in Colombo. However, Vaas had an even shorter tenure as the record-holder: in August 2007 Anil Kumble, playing in his 118th Test match, scored his maiden century - 110 not out for India against England at The Oval.

Which England cricketer was nicknamed "Tangy"? asked Jason Street from Worcester
This was the Nottinghamshire left-arm fast bowler Bill Voce, who took 98 wickets in 27 Tests but is most commonly remembered these days as the Bodyline partner of Harold Larwood in 1932-33. I'm afraid I don't know where this strange name originated from, though.

Who has been out most often for a duck in one-day internationals? asked Samanth Kapoor from Mumbai
Rather surprisingly, perhaps, the man leading the way here is Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya, with 33 (mind you, he has had a lot of innings - 422, more than anyone else; Sachin Tendulkar is next, with 415 as I write). He's five in front of Pakistan's Wasim Akram, with two more Sri Lankans close behind with 25 - Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas. For a full list, click here.

I was once told that the player who scored most Test runs during the 1990s was Alec Stewart. Is that right? And with the current decade coming to an end, who has scored the most runs in this one? asked Vineet Malani from India
England's Alec Stewart did indeed score more Test runs in the 1990s than anyone else - he made 6407, just ahead of the Australians Mark Waugh (6371) and Mark Taylor (6306). Two other batsmen made more than 6000 runs in the decade - Mike Atherton (6217) and Steve Waugh (6213). For a full list, click here. Currently leading the way in Tests in the 2000s is Ricky Ponting, with an imposing 9058, ahead of Jacques Kallis (8428), Matthew Hayden (8364), and Rahul Dravid (8125).For a full list, click here.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Cricinfo Guide to International Cricket (reviewed here). If you want to ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here each week