April 22, 2014

Dhoni's 600, and Brett Lee's fives

Also, youngest captains, run out in both innings of a Test, England's oldest surviving Test player, and women's T20 tons

MS Dhoni completed 600 dismissals in international cricket during India's victory over Bangladesh in the World T20. Is he the first Indian wicketkeeper to reach this milestone? asked Michael Seymour from Ireland
He certainly is: MS Dhoni is well clear of the next Indian wicketkeeper, Nayan Mongia, who completed 261 dismissals in all international cricket. At the time of writing, the only keepers from anywhere who are ahead of Dhoni's 603 dismissals are Mark Boucher (998), Adam Gilchrist (905), Kumar Sangakkara (629) and Ian Healy (628). For the full list, click here. (Note that some of the players mentioned took additional catches while not keeping wicket.)

I noticed that Brett Lee took five or more wickets in a Test innings only ten times, despite finishing with 310 wickets. Has anyone with 300 wickets had fewer five-fors? And has anyone taken 100 wickets with no fives at all? asked Hari Narayanan from India
Of the 27 bowlers who have now taken 300 or more Test wickets, no one has taken fewer than Brett Lee's ten five-fors, although Zaheer Khan is close with 11. Lee never took ten wickets in a match, either: only Bob Willis of the other 300-club members also failed to manage that, although he did take five in an innings on 16 occasions. The most Test wickets without ever taking five in an innings is 87, by the England seamer Mike Hendrick - although he might be surpassed if Mashrafe Mortaza's body ever holds together long enough to allow him another cap or two. Currently Mortaza - who hasn't actually played a five-day Test for Bangladesh since 2009 - has 78 wickets, with a best of 4 for 60. New Zealand's Nathan Astle is the only bowler to take 50 Test wickets without ever taking four in an innings (his best was 3 for 27). Viv Richards took 32 Test wickets with a best of 2 for 17. And Shivnarine Chanderpaul has taken nine Test wickets - all in separate innings.

Was Meg Lanning the youngest player (man or woman) to captain an international side? asked Siddhant from India
Meg Lanning, who captained Australia to victory in the recent World T20, was the youngest to lead a side to victory in a global event. But she wasn't the youngest to captain in any official international - that honour goes to Arran Thompson (now Arran Brindle), who was only 19 years 260 days when she captained England against Scotland in a one-day international at Reading in 2001. Lanning first captained Australia in a one-day international in January, when she was 21: her 22nd birthday came a few days before the recent T20 final in Bangladesh. Only four younger women have ever captained in T20 internationals, the youngest being Shemaine Campbelle, who was 19 years 338 days old when she skippered West Indies against England at Arundel in 2012. The youngest man to captain in any international was Rajin Saleh, who was 20 years 297 days old when he led Bangladesh in an ODI for the first time. Rodney Trott of Bermuda was the youngest in a T20 international (against Canada at Belfast in 2008 aged 20 years 332 days), and Tatenda Taibu the youngest in a Test - 20 years 358 days for Zimbabwe against Sri Lanka in Harare in May 2004.

How often has a batsmen been run out in both innings of a Test match? asked Kazi Mohammad Firoze Hassan from Bangladesh
This has happened 24 times now, most recently to New Zealand's Stephen Fleming, against Zimbabwe in Wellington in December 2000. Mark Taylor, the former Australia captain, was run out in both innings of a match twice, as was his long-time team-mate Ian Healy. Perhaps the unluckiest of all was the West Indian fast bowler John Trim - against Australia in Melbourne in 1951-52 he bagged a pair, run out in both innings. For the full list, click here.

After the death of Reg Simpson late last year, who is now the oldest surviving England Test player? asked Richard Williams from Manchester
I'm always a bit worried about answering questions like this, as it feels like tempting fate. But as I write the oldest surviving England Test cricketer is Don Smith, the left-handed Sussex allrounder, who won three caps against West Indies in 1957: he should celebrate his 91st birthday in June. Fred Ridgway, the old Kent fast bowler who played five Tests in 1951-52, is one of only eight other players worldwide who are over 90: pride of place goes to Norman Gordon, the only surviving pre-war Test player, who was 102 last August. For the full list, click here.

Has a woman ever scored a hundred in a T20 international? asked Dennis Morgan from Denmark
So far there have been three centuries in women's T20 internationals. The first was a thunderous 112 not out by Deandra Dottin, for West Indies against South Africa in the World Twenty20 in Basseterre in May 2010 - Dottin dashed to three figures in just 38 balls, with nine sixes. Five months later Shandre Fritz followed suit with 116 not out for South Africa against Netherlands in Potchefstroom. And in the recent World T20 Australia's captain Meg Lanning hit 126 from 65 balls against Ireland in Sylhet. For the full list, click here.

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