May 21, 2013

Monty's haul, and keeper-captains

Also: most Tests at Lord's, the Don's drop, Olympic gold stadium, and Mandela the cricketer

Is it true that Monty Panesar was the only bowler to take 100 wickets in 2012? asked Aaron Chaim David
It is true, if what you're talking about is first-class wickets. Monty Panesar took 102 in first-class matches in the calendar year of 2012, with 53 of them for Sussex and 33 in six Tests for England. Next overall was the South African fast bowler Vernon Philander with 85, and then a pair of offspinners - New Zealand's Jeetan Patel (82) and Graeme Swann of England (81). The leading Test wicket-taker was Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka, with 60.

Both captains in the recent Zimbabwe-Bangladesh one-day internationals were also the wicketkeepers. Has this happened many times before in ODIs? How about in Test matches? asked Mike from Canada
Those matches in Zimbabwe provided the 36th, 37th and 38th instances of both captains in a one-day international being wicketkeepers (Brendan Taylor and Mushfiqur Rahim in this case). Of the previous instances, 14 involved matches between India and Sri Lanka, captained by MS Dhoni and Kumar Sangakkara (Dhoni also captained twice against Adam Gilchrist, and once against Mushfiqur Rahim; Sangakkara once opposed Canada's Ashish Bagai). The double keeper-captain scenario is much rarer in Tests: it has only happened five times, twice in the New Zealand-Zimbabwe series of 1995-96 (Lee Germon and Andy Flower), in a match between South Africa and Bangladesh in East London in 2002-03 (Mark Boucher and Khaled Mashud), and in both Tests of the 2002-03 Bangladesh-West Indies series (Khaled Mashud and Ridley Jacobs). There have also been 14 cases of both captains in a Twenty20 international keeping wicket, two of them in the recent Zimbabwe-Bangladesh series. Brendan Taylor did not keep in the two Tests against Bangladesh.

Which player has made the most appearances in Tests at Lord's? asked Hemant Kher from the United States
Graham Gooch tops this list, with 21 appearances in Tests at Lord's, just ahead of Alec Stewart (20) and Andrew Strauss (18). One person who may well go past him in a few years' time is Alastair Cook: the match against New Zealand that has just concluded was his 15th Lord's Test. The most appearances by an overseas player at Lord's is nine, by Australia's Syd Gregory, who toured England eight times between 1890 and 1912. He was captain on that last tour, for the Triangular Tournament which also included a Test against South Africa at Lord's. Gooch also leads the way for Test run scorers at Lord's, with 2015, well ahead of Strauss with 1562.

Was Don Bradman ever dropped by Australia for any reason? asked James Charlton from Sydney
The Don was only ever dropped once - by any side, in his whole career. It came after his underwhelming Test debut, in Brisbane in 1928-29, in which he scored 18 and 1 and Australia lost by the little matter of 675 runs. Bradman was made 12th man for the second Test, in Sydney - I've seen a photograph of him carrying the drinks. He was recalled for the third Test in Melbourne, scored 79 and 112... and the only people to drop him after that were agonised fielders.

Which Test cricket ground is named after an Olympic gold medallist? asked Ashok Rajamani from the United States
I think the only ground that fits the bill here is the KD Singh "Babu" Stadium in Lucknow, which staged India's Test match against Sri Lanka in 1993-94. It has also hosted a solitary one-day international, between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the multi-nation Nehru Cup in 1989-90. There have also been four women's Tests and four women's ODIs on the ground. KD Singh was an Indian hockey legend who won Olympic gold medals in 1948 and in 1952, when he was the captain. There was also a Test between India and Pakistan at Lucknow in 1952-53 - it was only Pakistan's second official Test, and provided them with their first victory - but that was at a different ground, at Lucknow University.

One of my friends says a cricketer named Nelson Mandela has recently played international cricket. Is this true? asked Debapriya Chakraborty from India
The man in question is the Kenya fast bowler Nelson Mandela Odhiambo, who has played nine limited-overs internationals, most recently a Twenty20 game against Canada in Dubai in March 2013. Odhiambo is the nephew of the long-serving Kenya allrounder Thomas Odoyo, and opened the bowling with his uncle in two one-day internationals in the Netherlands in July 2010. Nelson has also taken the new ball for Kenya with the unrelated Nehemiah Odhiambo - who, confusingly, himself has three brothers who have also played for Kenya (James and Shem Ngoche, and Lameck Onyango).

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013. Ask Steven is now on Facebook