Wisden's oldest and youngest, and out for 99
Who are the youngest and oldest players to be picked as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year? Mushtaq Mohammad is my guess for the youngest … asked Gulu Ezekiel from India
The annual Wisden accolade, which started in 1889, is the oldest individual award in cricket, and probably in any sport. You're right in thinking that Mushtaq Mohammad is the youngest player to be picked as one of the Five Cricketers of the Year: he was only 19 when chosen in 1963 for his feats on Pakistan's tour of England the previous year. However, there is a complication: during the First World War, when no county cricket was played, Wisden kept the tradition going by choosing Five School Bowlers of the Year in 1918, and Five Public School Cricketers of the Year the following year. Of these, the youngest was the Cranleigh School offspinner Harry Calder, who was named in 1918 not long after turning 17. Oddly, though, Calder was possibly the oldest person to discover he was a Cricketer of the Year - he didn't know about the accolade until he was tracked down in South Africa a year before his death at 94 in 1995. The oldest person to be named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year was Lord Hawke, who was 48 when chosen in 1909 after captaining Yorkshire to their eighth County Championship title in 16 seasons.
What's the most agonising near-miss in cricket, in individual and aggregate terms? asked Charles Barham from England
I suppose the most agonising fate of all is to be out for 99 in a Test match - something which has befallen 73 different batsmen now, including eight who suffered it twice (but excluding five scores of 99 not out). How much worse, though, to score 99 in a Test and never make a hundred: this has happened to no fewer than ten players, including Alex Tudor, who was left stranded one short when England beat New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999. The others who ended up with a highest Test score of 99 (out) are Asim Kamal (on debut) and Maqsood Ahmed of Pakistan, the New Zealanders John Beck and Dipak Patel, England's Martyn Moxon and Norman Yardley, Mitchell Starc and Shane Warne of Australia, and India's Rusi Surti (Starc might yet remove himself from this list). Cricket's most famous near-miss in aggregate terms is probably Don Bradman's final Test average of 99.94 - he finished up a boundary short of 100 (and a boundary short of 7000 Test runs, too). The Australian bowlers Arthur Mailey and Ben Hilfenhaus ended up with 99 Test wickets, and the Surrey and England batsman Tom Hayward finished with 1999 Test runs.
I noticed that Derek Pringle's father Don played for East Africa in the 1975 World Cup. Are they the only father and son pair to play in the World Cup for separate teams? asked Mohsin Zunzunia from India
Don Pringle, a 43-year-old landscape consultant who had worked in Kenya for 17 years, opened the bowling in two of East Africa's matches in the inaugural World Cup, in 1975. He didn't take a wicket, but his 12 overs against England at Edgbaston cost only 41 runs. Sadly, he was killed in a car accident in Nairobi later that same year. His son Derek, who was born in Kenya in 1958, later played 30 Tests and 44 one-day internationals for England - including the 1992 World Cup final in Melbourne, in which he took 3 for 22 against Pakistan. Derek is now the cricket correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. The only other father and son to play in the World Cup are the big-hitting New Zealand allrounders Lance and Chris Cairns. Some 16 other pairs have played one-day internationals, all but one of them for the same team. Ron Headley played a solitary ODI for West Indies, while his son Dean won 13 one-day caps for England (but neither appeared in a World Cup).
I read that Mohammad Azharuddin won the toss in nine successive one-day internationals in 1998, which was apparently the record at the time. Is it still? asked Ahmad Baksh from India
Mohammad Azharuddin's run did equal the record at the time, but it has since been surpassed: Arjuna Ranatunga won ten successive one-day tosses in 1998-99, and Andy Flower also managed ten between 1996 and 1999. Azharuddin is one of six captains to win nine successive tosses in ODIs. One of the others is Peter Borren, of Netherlands, who won nine in 2010-11 - but then lost 11 in a row between 2011 and 2013. The only worse run in ODIs is 12 successive losses, by Brian Lara in 1998-99. The Test records are nine toss wins in a row by Colin Cowdrey (1960-61) and ten successive losses by Nasser Hussain (2000-01).
What is the highest score by someone who made only one Test century? asked Frank Richardson from South Africa
Ten players have extended what turned out to be their only Test hundred into a double-century. The highest of all was Reginald "Tip" Foster's 287 for England against Australia in Sydney in 1903-04 - this also remains the highest score by any player on Test debut. Faoud Bacchus also made his only Test century count, with 250 for West Indies against India in Kanpur in 1978-79. The others in this category are Denis Atkinson of West Indies (219 in 1954-55); Martin Donnelly of New Zealand (206 in 1949); Australia's Jason Gillespie (201 not out in 2005-06) and Brad Hodge (203 not out earlier in 2005-06); Rob Key (221 in 2004) and David Lloyd (214 not out in 1974) of England; Sri Lanka's Brendon Kuruppu (201 not out on debut in 1986-87); and Taslim Arif of Pakistan (210 not out in 1979-80).
Who has scored the most runs in all T20 matches? asked Varun Prakash from India
It's very close at the top of the list of run scorers in senior T20 cricket. Chris Gayle has 6039 runs, just ahead of Brad Hodge with 5985. David Hussey (5503) and Brendon McCullum (5258) have also passed the 5000 mark. For the full list, click here. If it's T20 internationals you're after, then McCullum (2044) is well clear of the Sri Lankan pair of Mahela Jayawardene (1493) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (1452). The leading wicket-taker overall (again at April 29) is Lasith Malinga with 248. Alfonso Thomas (235), Azhar Mahmood (224), Dirk Nannes (222), Yasir Arafat (219) and Albie Morkel (207) all have more than 200. In T20 internationals Saeed Ajmal (85 wickets) leads the way, ahead of his fellow Pakistanis Umar Gul (80) and Shahid Afridi (77).
And there's an update to one of last week's questions, from Stewart Robertson
"Further to the reference to Derek Underwood's maiden century in 1984, I recall that he had been interviewed - perhaps by Peter West - the previous Sunday during the BBC's cricket coverage. After answering lots of questions about his fantastic England career, Underwood was asked if he had any remaining ambitions after more than 20 years in the game. He jokingly suggested that scoring a hundred would be wonderful. Less than a week later, he'd done it!"
Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2014. Ask Steven is now on Facebook