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Ask Steven

A man called Mary, and Derek Pringle's Dad

Steven Lynch answers more of your questions

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch has been away at the Lord's Test, so this week's column is a look back at some of the old-but-gold questions from the old Wisden website. Normal service will be resumed next week:
We were given this question in a quiz recently, and suspect the quizmaster may be having a joke: "Which male Test player's middle name is Mary?" asked Ewen McRoberts from Auckland

Richard Hadlee - had reason to be grateful to a man called Mary © Getty Images
Well, he wasn't joking - and the answer is closer to your home than you may think. It was Chris Kuggeleijn, the Northern Districts allrounder who played two Tests for New Zealand in 1988-89. His biggest contribution came as early as the third over of his Test debut at Bangalore, when he took the catch (India's Arun Lal) that gave Richard Hadlee the then-record number of Test wickets (374). Kuggeleijn was of Dutch extraction, which accounts for his unusual middle name of Mary.
My father says that Derek Pringle's father was a Test player too, but I can't find his name in Wisden. Is he right? asked James Wheeler
Don Pringle, Derek's father, wasn't a Test player - but he did play one-day internationals in the World Cup. That was in 1975, and he was playing for East Africa, one of two non-Test side invited to take part in the first such tournament (the other was Sri Lanka, who didn't gain Test status until 1982). Don Pringle was born in Lancashire, but moved to Kenya as a landscape consultant in the late 1950s - Derek was born there in 1958. Like his son, Don was a fast-medium bowler, and he played in two of East Africa's three matches in 1975. He didn't take a wicket ... but he was 43 at the time. Sadly, he was killed in a car crash later that same year, returning home from a cricket match in Nairobi in which he'd taken 6 for 16.
Were Kenya the first non-Test side to beat a Test-playing one in the World Cup? asked Samuel Jackson
Kenya's victory over West Indies at Pune in 1996 was probably the most famous David-and-Goliath act in World Cup history, but the first such upset was actually in 1979, when Sri Lanka (then not a Test-playing nation) beat India by 47 runs at Old Trafford. Duleep Mendis top-scored with 64 as Sri Lanka made 238 for 5 in their 60 overs, then Tony Opatha and Somachandra de Silva took three wickets apiece as India were shot out for 191. Zimbabwe also pulled off a fine victory before gaining Test status, against Australia at Trent Bridge in the 1983 World Cup, and they also beat England at Albury in 1991-92. The only other such victory in a World Cup was Bangladesh's 62-run win over Pakistan at Northampton in 1999. (Note: This was written before the 2003 World Cup, in which Canada beat Bangladesh, who by then were a Test nation, and Kenya upset Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.)
Which Indian batsman once scored 709 first-class runs between dismissals? asked Ashwin Raghuram
Well, it's not one of India's most famous batsmen ... not Gavaskar or Tendulkar. The answer - and 709 runs without dismissal is the overall first-class record, not just an Indian one - is KC (Khanmohamed Cassambhoy) Ibrahim. He was born in 1919, and for Bombay in 1947-48 compiled successive innings of 218, 36, 234 and 77, all not out, followed by 144. Ibrahim ended up with a first-class average of 61.24 - he made 4716 runs in all - but didn't do very much in his four Test appearances, managing only 169 runs (21.12) with a highest score of 85 on debut against West Indies at Delhi in 1948-49.
What is the longest unbroken bowling spell in Test history? asked Andy Martin
The longest-known bowling spell in a Test was of 55 six-ball overs by Tom Veivers, the Australian offspinner, in England's innings of 611 at Old Trafford in 1964. Veivers bowled 75 of the last 80 overs delivered from the City end, and finished with figures of 95.1-36-155-3. Another offspinner, South Africa's Hugh Tayfield, had a complete and unbroken spell of 53.4 overs (5 for 60, with 29 maidens) against England at The Oval in 1955. At Sydney in 1881-82, Joey Palmer (58-36-68-7) and Edwin Evans (57-32-64-3) bowled unchanged throughout England's first innings of 133 in 190 minutes - but those were four-ball overs.
Who has taken the fewest innings to reach 1000 Test runs? Is it Don Bradman? asked Shane Bennett
Actually this is one of the few batting records that Don Bradman doesn't hold. The Don reached 1000 runs in a very respectable 13 innings - he passed the landmark during his famous 334 at Headingley in 1930. However, England's Herbert Sutcliffe and Everton Weekes of West Indies - one of the legendary Three Ws - managed it in only 12 innings. Bradman made up for it, though: he was fastest to 2000 (22 innings), 3000 (33), 4000 (48), 5000 (56) and 6000 (68) runs in Tests. He finished with 6996 runs in 80 innings (52 Tests) - the fastest to 7000 runs, England's Wally Hammond, took 131 innings. Garry Sobers (157 innings) was the fastest to 8000, and Sunil Gavaskar the quickest to 9000 (192) and 10,000 (212). Allan Border, the only man so far to have scored 11,000 Test runs, did so in his 263rd innings, in his 155th and last-but-one match. Border finished with exactly three times as many Test caps as Bradman - and well under double the runs. (Note: Since this was written Sachin Tendulkar has become the fastest man to 8000 Test runs, and Brian Lara the fastest to 9000.)
Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden Cricinfo. If you want to Ask Steven a question, e-mail him at The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.