Cricketing MPs, and stumped off a wide
Sanath Jayasuriya was recently elected to the Sri Lankan parliament, but he is still playing international cricket. Has anyone else played international cricket after becoming a politician? asked Erangi Hansini via Facebook
As far as I can tell, Sanath Jayasuriya is the first person to play international cricket after being elected to his country's parliament (he won a seat in Matara in April). I say "elected" because the former West Indian captain Frank Worrell was briefly a senator in the Jamaican government - he took up the position in 1962, the year before his final Test series in England - but according to a biography of Worrell, he "joined as a nominee of the government, his name put forward by the prime minister, Sir Alexander Bustamante". Several cricketers have become politicians after their international careers have ended, notably Jayasuriya's long-time captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who was first elected in Sri Lanka shortly after his international retirement, and the Golden Age Australian captain Joe Darling, who became an MP in Tasmania after his Test career finished. In Britain it's worthy of note that Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who played the last of his 10 first-class matches in 1927 (he was a lively fast-medium bowler), was elected to the House of Commons in 1931 and became prime minister in 1963.
Kieron Pollard was stumped off a wide from the first ball he received in the World Twenty20 match against England. Is this the first such "diamond duck" from a stumping rather than a run-out in international cricket? asked Tom from Australia
Rather surprisingly, we can trace only one previous instance in international cricket of a batsman being stumped first ball off a wide (thus going down in the scorebook as having faced 0 balls). The man who preceded Kieron Pollard in the Twenty20 international in Providence last week was the Canadian fast bowler Henry Osinde, who was stumped first ball by Niall O'Brien off an Alex Cusack wide while playing Ireland in a one-day international during the World Cup qualifying tournament in Benoni in April 2009. It's possible there are further undetected instances - and several other people have been stumped off wides at later stages of their innings in limited-overs internationals.
The last over of Australia's innings against Pakistan was a five-wicket maiden (two of them run-outs). Has this ever happened before in any form of cricket? asked Terry Johnston from Liverpool (and many others)
That zany final over, delivered by Pakistan's Mohammad Aamer in the World Twenty20 match against Australia in St Lucia last week - the exact sequence of events was wicket-wicket-run out-run out-dot ball-wicket - was a first for international cricket. There is one previous known instance in first-class cricket of five wickets falling in an over - it happened in Hastings in 1972, when Sussex lost five wickets (but also scored a run) in the final over as they pushed for a win against Surrey. The bowler, Pat Pocock, set a new world record by taking seven wickets in 11 balls (his last two overs read W0W20W WWW1W0, the last delivery producing a run-out). With three overs to go Sussex, chasing 205, were 187 for 1: they finished with 202 for 9.
All 20 wickets fell in Australia's World Twenty20 match with Pakistan. How many times has this happened before? asked Hari Prasath via Facebook
I was surprised to discover that the match between Australia and Pakistan in St Lucia was indeed the first instance, in over 150 Twenty20 internationals at that point, of both sides being bowled out. At that time there had been six instances of 19 wickets falling, including the match between West Indies and Ireland in Providence two days previously.
We've all heard the old adage that 20 wickets win a Test match. Has there ever been an instance where a team declared twice (thus without losing 20 wickets) but lost the match? asked KS Arvind from India
There have only been two occasions in Test history when a captain has declared twice but lost. The first was in Port-of-Spain in 1967-68, when Garry Sobers closed his first innings at 526 for 7 and the second at 92 for 2, apparently in an attempt to enliven a disappointing series: it did, but not quite in the way Sobers had hoped - England galloped past their target of 215 in around three hours and won the match and (eventually) the series. The other occasion came early in 2006, when Graeme Smith declared both South Africa's innings in Sydney, only to see Australia knock off their target of 288 with some ease. South Africa were 0-1 down at the time and needed to win to square the series. The controversial Test in Centurion in 1999-2000 might also be included here - Hansie Cronje declared South Africa's first innings and forfeited the second against England, and ended up losing (although he did win himself a nice new coat). To date there have been only nine further occasions when a captain has declared his side's second innings but ended up losing the game.
Difficult to quantify, no doubt, but do Richard and Michael Lumb hold the record for the biggest difference in batting approach within a family? asked Mike Leach via Facebook
That's an interesting concept, which brought a smile to my face! I suppose there have been other fairly major differences between fathers and sons over the years. The contrasting Australian openers Geoff and Shaun Marsh spring to mind as pretty much polar opposites - Geoff did once admit that his son "has a few more shots than me". England's Colin Cowdrey was always considered a model of classical batsmanship, something that was rarely attributed to his son Chris. I suppose there are even bigger differences when the father is a batsman (say a studious bespectacled opener like New Zealand's Walter Hadlee) and the son is a tearaway fast bowler (like Sir Richard); similarly the great West Indian opener Gordon Greenidge and his fast-bowling son Carl.