How do you spell that?

Players who troubled the scorers with their long names

Steven Lynch

April 30, 2012

Comments: 37 | Text size: A | A

Chanaka Welegedara keeps the ball after his five-for, South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Durban, 2nd day, December 27, 2011
Chanaka Welegedara: beats Vaas © Getty Images

A hard-hitting batsman who played nine first-class matches for Fiji between 1947 and 1954, scoring two centuries, his full name was Ilikena Lasarusa Talebulamainavaleniveivakabulaimainakulalakebalau - which apparently means "returned alive from Nankula hospital at Lakemba island in the Lau group". Scorers of the day tended to economise on ink by referring to him as "IL Bula".

Chaminda Vaas
He's usually the first port of call when long names are talked about: and he's one of the few international cricketers with more initials (five) than letters in his surname (four). Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas was also a fine bowler, taking 761 international wickets in all - exactly 400 of them in ODIs - with his waspish left-arm seam and swing.

He was a wily offspinner (and sometime captain) who took 156 Test wickets for India, then a tour manager, match referee, and finally a long-serving umpire. And before one Test match in Adelaide, the Australian writer Gideon Haigh approached him diffidently and asked, "Excuse me, but aren't you Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan?" before returning to the press box and saying "I've always wanted to say that."

EB Dwyer
Born in Sydney, Dwyer came to England in 1904 and soon qualified for Sussex. He was rather inconsistent but had some great days: in 1906 he took 9 for 35 against Derbyshire, and 16 wickets in the match against Nottinghamshire. But there was more to Dwyer than the "EB" that usually preceded his surname on scorecards: his full moniker was John Elicius Benedict Bernard Placid Quirk Carrington Dwyer, and he was descended from one of the most famous leaders of the Irish insurrection of 1798.

Chanaka Welegedara
Scorers hoping for a bit of respite when WPUJC Vaas finally came to the end of a long international career were sent scurrying back to the pen shop when one of his replacements as the left-arm opening bowler had even more initials: Uda Walawwe Mahim Bandaralage Chanaka Asanga Welegedara made his Test debut against England in Galle in December 2007, and though not an automatic selection, he has now taken nearly 50 wickets.

Kapila Wijegunawardene
Just about the most remarkable aspect of this Sri Lankan medium-pacer was his long name. Tony Lewis remembered, at the height of the euphoria after England's series-squaring victory over West Indies at The Oval in 1991, spotting a worried fellow commentator putting in a bit of revision for the upcoming one-off Test against Sri Lanka: Ray Illingworth was concentrating hard, brow furrowed, repeating "Wije-guna-wardene" like a mantra.

Ross Taylor
The current Test captain Luteru Ross Poutoa Lote Taylor is the first New Zealand international player to admit to four forenames, most of which stem from his Samoan heritage. But we think an honourable mention should also go to Heath Davis, the fast bowler who played five Tests in the 1990s: his middle name was "Te-Ihi-O-Te-Rangi", a Maori phrase meaning "with strength derived from Heaven".

Henry Leveson Gower
The Surrey (and England) captain owed his nickname, "Shrimp", to his short stature, but he made up for that with a long name - Henry Dudley Gresham Leveson Gower (no hyphen, and pronounced "loo-son gore"). In 1953 he was knighted for services to cricket, which added a "Sir" to the array. The recent biography of Jack Hobbs reveals that Leveson Gower once bit the arm of the Governor of British Guiana during an official banquet on a cricket tour, in order to win a bet.

Prince Christian Victor
Queen Victoria's grandson's full name (his mother was Princess Helena, Victoria's third daughter) was Prince Victor Albert Ludwig Ernest Anton Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. A keen cricketer, Prince Christian played a first-class match for I Zingari against the Gentlemen of England in Scarborough in 1887, making 35 (against a bowling attack including the England captains WG Grace and Drewy Stoddart) and 0. The only member of the Royal Family ever to play first-class cricket, he also scored 55 for the Green Jackets against the Household Brigade in a game in 1898 - two years before his death, at 33, after falling ill with enteric fever while serving in the Boer War.

Ross Taylor at a press meet a day after the third Test against South Africa was drawn, Wellington, March 28, 2012
What's a captain without four names? © AFP

Faoud Bacchus
A neat right-hander who once scored 250 in a Test against India - in Kanpur in 1978-79 - Sheik Faoud Ahamul Fasiel Bacchus is one of only two West Indian Test players who admit to having four forenames (Easton McMorris was the other). There was a rumour that Bacchus, who later lived in the United States and played for their national team, actually had several more forenames but agreed to stick to four in scorebooks... but that has never been confirmed.

Rajitha Amunugama
He never quite made it to Sri Lanka's Test side, possibly because of ICC restrictions on the number of forenames: a useful medium-pacer for the Tamil Union club in Colombo, he had ten in all: Amunugama Rajapakse Rajakaruna Abeykoon Panditha Wasalamudiyanse Ralahamilage Rajitha Krishantha Bandara Amunugama. The scorers probably cursed every one when he took 8 for 60 - and 12 wickets in the match - against Sebastianites in December 1990.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012.

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Posted by Advanced_Donkeys on (May 2, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

You missed Indika Batuwitaarachchi. Another Sri Lankan man,playing for UAE.

Posted by   on (May 1, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

When I was a little boy I reckon I gave myself the longest name in cricket ever- Cameron Donald javed Mihandad Alan Border Kim Hughes David Boon Skirving lol

Posted by   on (May 1, 2012, 12:54 GMT)

M.L.JAISIMHA-Motganhalli Laxminarsu Jaisimha of India & E.T.WILLETT -Elquemedo Tonito Willett of west indies Come to my mind!

Posted by Flisslips on (May 1, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

Surely Ebony-Jewel Cora-Lee Camellia Rosamond Rainford-Brent is worth a mention. Three hyphens in her name must surely make her qualify!!

Posted by   on (May 1, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, the only Indian cricketer in recent times who could be an automatic choice in this list of exotic names !!

Posted by 4test90 on (May 1, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

And at the other end of the spectrum - I would like to nominate the former WA and Australian tall fast bowler of the 1990's - Jo Angel. He had no middle names so the 7 letters are an Aussie record for short names

Posted by Dashgar on (May 1, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

No Zimbabweans (interestingly Google Chrome doesn't even know how to spell 'Zimbabwean')? Everton Zvikomborero Matambanadzo, Tinotenda Mbiri Kanayi Mawoyo, Regis Wiriranai Chakabva, Chamunorwa Justice Chibhabha, take your pick

Posted by deepak_sholapurkar on (May 1, 2012, 3:48 GMT)

Good one Charith99 :), how the article missed Sachin. By default even in unrelated article he should appear once.

Posted by inswing on (May 1, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

A cartoon on cricinfo a while ago, with two Sri Lankans discussing the review system. "Who is this UPDRS, and why is he not playing for us?"

Posted by   on (May 1, 2012, 0:26 GMT)

sri lankans are the world champions of long names!!

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 22:10 GMT)

sri lankans probably have the longest names ever..and when we go to live abord we have a lot of trouble lol because there is no space to fit our full name in anything lol

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

"Colonel His Highness Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji, Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, GCSI, GBE" doesn't exactly trip off the tongue either. No wonder they generally called him Ranji.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 20:56 GMT)

Headbandenator, he was known as EB, just as WG was known as WG and EM was known as EM. He didn't use a proper first name.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 17:58 GMT)

that Amunugama came as a surprise to even us sri lankans! a combination of GE names, fore names, middle names & a surname.

Posted by Charindra on (April 30, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

How boring cricket would be without Sri Lanka! LOL. Bula gave me a headache, and Rajitha Amunugama had me ROFLMAO!!!

Posted by MrDynamic on (April 30, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

@ Charith99 on (April 30 2012, 12:34 PM GMT):-

LOL ... some columns may not have Sachin's name mentioned but every column page will always have his name because of you (Charith99). So thanks to you!! Long live Sachin!!

Posted by NALINWIJ on (April 30, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

4 Sri Lankans featured in this list due to their old system of naming before the concept of surnames were acquired following the British. They had a family name at the beginning that could be lengthy if it included where you are from and what family then you had the equivalent of a first and a middle name and this would be followed by an acquired surname.

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (April 30, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

Great read. Fantastic job.

Posted by Charith99 on (April 30, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

a list without sachin . how dare you!!!!!!

Posted by krking on (April 30, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

Then there is the classy DPMD Jayawardene !

Posted by Headbandenator on (April 30, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Does anyone know which forename EB Dyer generally used? Was he know as Elicius, Ben or Bernard?

Posted by umpump on (April 30, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

Ebony-Jewel Cora-Lee Camellia Rosamond Rainford-Brent. But I always say that.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

what about " Hewa Kaluhalamullage Suraj Randiv Kaluhalamulla " a.k.a. Suraj Randiv ?

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

"Sahabzada Muhammad Shahid Khan Afridi" and Boom Boom makes it 7 :-)

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

@Andrew Foruria: Anil Rideegammanagedera missed out on more than this list. He was the best cricketer to never play for Sri Lanka.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

Brilliant classic! Especially with my name! No surprise that there are a lot of Tamil and/or Sri Lankan names. Surprised Murali, L.Sivaramakrishnan did not get a mention!

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

lol........... really cannot stop laughing reading this thanks for the research cricinfo..... awesome article...........

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman?

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

Lol I was expecting 11 Sri Lankan names :P

Posted by US_Indian on (April 30, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

@ BOOMBOOM- a good one. Considering the obsession of 1bn plus cricket crazy indians. i am surprised not many comments came objecting to that as his name is mandatory in any list which relates to cricket. LOL

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

Don't forget Colonel His Highness Shri Sir Ranjithsinji Vibhaji, Maharajah Jam Saheb of Nawanag or Ranji as he was normally known!

I was hoping to see EB on this list, but didn't expect him to be popping up!

Posted by US_Indian on (April 30, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

There may be few names missing from this list of long and tongue twisting names which is quite interesting. But i am amazed at mentioning the Indian player S.Venkatraghavan's name which has just 2 names and are not long enough or tongue twister to be mentioned, where as his contemporary E.A.S.Prasanna whose name reads like this-Errappalli Anantharamakrishna Srinivasa Prasanna, others like SMH Kirmani, MAK Pataudi, RGD Willis, APE Knott, AME Roberts, IVA Richards etc's names need be mentioned too. And may be there are more names which the writer has missed specially from those olden days.

Posted by BoonBoom on (April 30, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Why not tendulkar in this list??? Any list without him is incomplete!! LOL!!!!!

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

Shame Anil Rideegammanagedera missed out.

Posted by sk12 on (April 30, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

Vaas was our trump card whenevr we played hangman for cricketers back in our school days.. gosh 12 years have flown by since!

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

Excellent collection...guess srinivasaraghavan venkatraghavan is the shortest and easiest to pronounce :)

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

Its surprising not to see Mpumelelo Mbangwa in this list.

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Steven LynchClose
Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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