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Ask Steven

Has any Zimbabwe player made a higher score in a successful ODI chase than Sikandar Raza?

And has a team ever fielded 11 left-handed batters in an international match?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
09-Aug-2022
Sikandar Raza leaps on completing a century, Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh, 2nd ODI, Harare, August 7, 2022

Sikandar Raza's 135 against Bangladesh was the second-highest individual total in a successful chase for Zimbabwe in ODIs  •  AFP/Getty Images

Has any Zimbabwean player made a higher score in a successful ODI run-chase than Sikandar Raza last week? asked Ollie Hastings from Zimbabwe
Sikandar Raza's 135 not out as his side overhauled Bangladesh's 303 for 2 in Harare last week - he ended the match with his sixth six - has been bettered for Zimbabwe only by… Sikandar Raza, who hit 141 when they beat Afghanistan in Bulawayo in July 2014. In all, there have now been 13 centuries for Zimbabwe in successful ODI run-chases, including Innocent Kaia's 110 in the same game as Sikandar last week, as well as those by Sikandar and Regis Chakabva in the second match in Harare on Sunday.
In the second T20 in St Kitts, India's batters were all out in scorecard order - has this happened before? asked Niraj Mohammed from India
In India's innings in that match against West Indies in St Kitts last week, No. 1 Rohit Sharma was the first man out, and Nos. 2 to 10 obligingly followed suit in order, leaving No. 11, Arshdeep Singh, not out. This pleasing progression had happened only one before in a T20 international, by Sri Lanka as they slid to defeat against Pakistan in Colombo in August 2009.
There have also been two instances in one-day internationals, by India against Australia in Visakhapatnam in April 2001, and West Indies vs South Africa in Grenada the following month.
This calculation is more problematic for Test matches, as it's not always known which opener took first strike (and was therefore No. 1), and occasionally we are not absolutely sure about the batting order, especially if it was changed in the second innings. The ESPNcricinfo database currently shows four cases of Nos 1-10 being out in numerical order, but according to additional research from the Australian statistician Charles Davis, who has studied hundreds of original scorebooks, two of these are incorrect: in England's second innings against South Africa in Cape Town in 1909-10, Frederick Fane actually went in before Frank Woolley, while for Australia vs West Indies in Georgetown in 1964-65, Bill Lawry took first strike in the second innings, rather than Bob Simpson. Says Charles: "Lawry and Simpson were the first opening pair to regularly swap places between first and second innings. Most (but not all) Australian opening pairs have done the same since. Online scorecards frequently miss this."
That leaves just England's first innings against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1948-49, and Pakistan vs England at Old Trafford in 2001 (second innings).
However, thanks to Charles' research we can add three more: Australia vs England in Adelaide in 1911-12 (Charles Kelleway took first strike in the second innings, not Warren Bardsley), South Africa vs Australia in Johannesburg in 1966-67 (Graeme Pollock was out before Colin Bland in the second innings), and England vs New Zealand at Lord's in 1978 (Ian Botham was out before Bob Taylor in the first innings).
Has a team ever fielded 11 left-hand batters in a Test, or any other international match? asked Bijul Raveendran from India
The most left-handers fielded by one team in a men's Test is eight, which has happened three times: by West Indies against Pakistan in Georgetown in 1999-2000, and by West Indies against England at The Oval later in 2000; and by England against Australia in Sydney in 2013-14. There are 38 further instances of a team having seven left-handers.
There's also one case of nine left-handers in men's T20Is, by Bangladesh against Zimbabwe in Harare in July 2021; the only right-handers were Mahmudullah, the captain, and wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan. There have been five further cases of eight, all by Bangladesh. In ODIs the most is seven, which has happened on no fewer than 46 occasions.
Sri Lanka's women can match that, however: in successive one-day internationals in 2016 against England in Colombo (November 12 and 15) their side included nine left-handers.
Apparently two of the characters in Chess are named after Test cricketers. Which two? asked Kevin Robertson from England
The lyrics for the musical Chess were written in the early 1980s by Tim Rice and Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus, with music by Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. I think it's a fair bet that most of the character names came from Sir Tim, a noted cricket lover and former MCC president. The plot pits an American chess grand-master against a Russian: the American is Freddie Trumper, a nod to the legendary Golden Age Australian batter Victor Trumper. The other hidden Test player is a less famous Aussie: Walter de Courcy, part of Trumper's entourage (and later his boss), is apparently named after Jimmy de Courcy, the New South Wales batter who played three Tests in England in 1953. De Courcy turned into "Walter Anderson" when the show started on Broadway, but the New York debut came well before Jimmy's first Test for England.
Which cricketer called his autobiography Wrist Assured? asked Michael Mackay from Australia
This is the new book from the elegant Indian batter Gundappa Vishwanath, written with the help of journalist R Kaushik and published by Rupa Books in India earlier this year. It's been a long time coming, given that Vishy played his last Test in 1982-83, but it is an entertaining trip down memory lane. Best of all, it's a hardback! More and more books are coming out in paperback only, and they don't last quite as well on the bulging bookshelves.
Shiva Jayaraman of ESPNcricinfo's stats team helped with some of the above answers.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes