May 3, 2011

Viv's slow start, and Ryan's awesome average

Also, a first-class baby, Tendulkar's nineties, Murali's ducks, and a triple in the second

Hammad Azam of Pakistan played his first ODI as an allrounder in the West Indies last week, but didn't contribute with bat or ball. How many people have done nothing in their first one-day international? asked Khurram Malik from Pakistan
Hammad Azam, who had a quiet debut for Pakistan in St Lucia last week, is far from unique. A total of 71 players - many of them wicketkeepers - neither batted nor bowled in their first one-day international, although 26 of them did take at least one catch, including Mohammad Salman, who made his debut in the same match as Azam. The most famous name on the list is the first man to suffer this fate: Viv Richards neither batted nor bowled - and didn't take a catch either - as West Indies beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets at Old Trafford in the first World Cup in 1975.

After 32 innings in 33 one-day internationals, Ryan ten Doeschate of Netherlands has a batting average of 67.00. Has anyone had a better average than this at that point in their career? asked Chris Laughton from Colchester
Excellent as Ryan ten Doeschate's one-day batting average is, he has to give best to Australia's Mike Hussey, who averaged 84.33 after 32 ODI innings. He holds the record for the best average from the 11th innings to his 72nd (55.98), at which point Michael Bevan takes over until the 196th innings (53.58). After that Jacques Kallis is on top until the 300th innings (45.45), being briefly supplanted for 228 innings by Sourav Ganguly (43.30). From innings 301 onwards it's Sachin Tendulkar all the way: he currently averages 45.16 after 442 visits to the crease. As a matter of interest, ten Doeschate's Netherlands team-mate Tom Cooper had the best average of anyone after two ODI innings - 167.00.

Is it true that Barney Gibson of Yorkshire is the youngest player ever to appear in English first-class cricket? asked Mick Simpson from Bradford
Yes, Barney Gibson from Pudsey was only 27 days past his 15th birthday when he played for Yorkshire against Durham MCCU in Durham last week. He settled any nerves by taking a catch in the tenth over, and held on to another one later on. Gibson became, by more than three months, the youngest player known to have appeared in first-class cricket in England, beating a record from 1867, when the appropriately named Charles Young played for Hampshire against Kent when 15 years 131 days old. Just six other Englishmen are known to have played a first-class match before turning 16, among them WG Grace's brother GF (Fred), in 1866. Only one - Roy Gabe-Jones of Glamorgan in 1922 - was in the 20th century.

Sachin Tendulkar has reached the nineties a record 26 times in international cricket without reaching a hundred. But which player has been stranded in the nineties most often without ever making a hundred? asked Keith D'Souza from Nigeria
You're right, Sachin Tendulkar has been stranded in the nineties on 26 occasions in all international cricket, in addition to his 99 centuries. He is way ahead on this list, with Rahul Dravid next on 14, one ahead of Jacques Kallis. As for the second part of your question, there are 13 men who have scored two nineties in internationals without ever managing a century (some are current players who may yet get off this list). Arguably pride of place should go to the West Indian Deryck Murray, who was twice out in the nineties in Tests, and also made 95 for the Rest of the World in one of the "Tests" later deemed unofficial in England in 1970. The others with two international nineties but no hundreds are the Australians Tommy Andrews, Alec Bannerman and Shane Warne, Geoff Miller of England (two 98s in Tests, one not out, both of them made before he'd even scored a first-class hundred), India's Chetan Chauhan, the Pakistanis Asim Kamal (both in Tests, including 99 on debut) and Azhar Ali, Adam Bacher of South Africa, Thilina Kandamby (both in ODIs, and both not out) and Chamara Kapugedera of Sri Lanka, another West Indian in Derek Sealy, and Zimbabwe's Andy Blignaut.

Has anyone ever scored a triple-century in the second innings of a Test? asked David Pelham from London
The only man to do this is Hanif Mohammad, who made 337 in the second innings to stave off defeat after Pakistan followed on 473 runs behind against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1957-58. Someone who came agonisingly close was Martin Crowe, who made 299 in New Zealand's second innings against Sri Lanka in Wellington in 1990-91. There have been only 28 scores of 200 or more in the second innings in all Tests, with Don Bradman, Sunil Gavaskar and Gordon Greenidge making two apiece. Only five of those double-centuries came in the fourth innings of the Test: George Headley's 223 for West Indies against England in Kingston in 1929-30 remains the highest.

Muttiah Muralitharan recently retired from international cricket having bagged 59 ducks all told. Has anyone made more? asked Jude Franco from India
Muttiah Muralitharan's haul of 59 ducks in all forms of international cricket - 33 in Tests, 25 in ODIs and one in a Twenty20 international - is indeed a record. Courtney Walsh, the leader in Tests alone with 43 zeroes, had 11 in one-day internationals as well, to make a combined total of 54. The name of the only other man with more than 50 international ducks is something of a surprise: Sanath Jayasuriya bagged 15 in Tests, 34 in ODIs and four in Twenty20 internationals. Glenn McGrath retired with 49 international ducks to his name.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket. If you want to ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here each week. Ask Steven is also now on Facebook