June 28, 2003

Mischief personified

Wisden Cricinfo staff

All Today's Yesterdays - June 28 down the years

One of Pakistan's finest legspinners is born. When he was in his prime, with his right arm whipping over and the ball spitting both ways from the pitch, Mushtaq Ahmed was mischief personified. He had his moments in the Test arena - 183 of them (his inspiration, Abdul Qadir, is the only Pakistan leggie to have taken more). But Mushy's signature moment was the 1992 World Cup final. Wasim Akram took the headlines, but Mushy took the big wickets of Graham Gooch and Graeme Hick in a bewildering spell. At Test level he has suffered from Andy Caddick syndrome: 103 wickets at 39.31 in the first innings, 80 at 23.15 in the second. Typically erratic, Mushtaq has also taken a couple of horrible pastings off Australia - 1 for 145 off 36 overs at Rawalpindi in 1994-95, and 3 for 194 off 38 at Brisbane five years later.

An infamous dropped catch from Mike Gatting. Fourteen years before Herschelle Gibbs dropped the World Cup, Gatt threw away a Lord's Test by reprieving Allan Border with a premature celebration, having taken a fierce flick in his midrift at short leg. Border was 87 at the time, and went on to a punishing 196, the highest score by an Australian captain at Lord's. Without those runs, it would have been a seriously close game - Australia eventually limped to victory on 127 for 6.

A controversial fast bowler is born. Roy Gilchrist was an extremely nasty proposition for a batsman, and in some people's opinion is the fastest bowler in the game's history. In 13 Tests he took 57 cheap wickets, but was sent home from a tour of India in 1958-59 in disgrace, Roy Keane-style, after excessive use of the beamer and a series of contretemps with his captain Gerry Alexander. He never played Test cricket again, and though not quite in the Keane class, it was a serious loss to West Indies. Instead he spent 20 years terrorising all-comers in the Lancashire League. He took 37 hat-tricks. To some, his malevolence added to a romantic lustre; to others he was simply a nasty piece of work. He would often work batsmen over in charity games, and once had a heated on-pitch exchange with the Australian Cec Pepper. Pepper described Gilchrist as a "nutter". Gilchrist suffered from Parkinson's disease, and died in his native Jamaica in 2001.

Neil Adcock's right-hand man is born. Peter Heine and Adcock formed a fearsome new-ball double-act for South Africa in the 1950s. Both were genuinely quick, and malignant enough to look after themselves. On his debut, at Lord's in 1955, Heine took 5 for 60 in the first innings, and then added eight wickets in the next match at Old Trafford. He also had a liking for Johannesburg, where he twice took six-fors against Australia in 1957-58, though neither led to South African victories. Unlike Mushtaq Ahmed, Heine was Andy Caddick in reverse: his first-innings bowling average was 20, his second-innings average 35.

Coming to the crease with England 39 for 4, still 341 behind West Indies, John Hampshire made a superb 107 in his first Test innings - he is still the only Englishman to score a hundred on debut in a Lord's Test. This thrilling match ended as a draw, with England closing on 295 for 7 in pursuit of 332. It was Hampshire's zenith: he played eight Tests and never again exceeded 55.

Birth of the first West Indian to face a ball in Tests. George Challenor was almost 40 by the time West Indies took their bow, at Lord's in 1928, but he had already made his mark before then. In 1912-13, batting for Barbados against a strong MCC team, he cracked 118 and 109, and is recognised as the first great West Indian batsman. He died in Barbados in 1947.

A landmark day for 13-year-old Arthur Collins. Nothing to do with puberty, but the end of a world-record 628 not out in a junior match at Clifton College in Bristol. It was an innings spread over five afternoons. Collins then went and took 11 wickets as his opponents, North Town, were squeezed out by just an innings and 688 runs. A great career should have beckoned - but Collins never played first-class cricket: he was killed in the first World War.

Other birthdays
1886 Joe Cox (South Africa)