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Ask Steven

What is the longest gap between World Cup matches for any player?

And is Rahkeem Cornwall set to become the heaviest Test cricketer ever?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
The 6' 6" Rahkeem Cornwall, extreme right, reportedly weighs 140kg, which would make him the leading Test heavyweight currently  •  Getty Images

The 6' 6" Rahkeem Cornwall, extreme right, reportedly weighs 140kg, which would make him the leading Test heavyweight currently  •  Getty Images

If Rahkeem Cornwall plays against India, will he be the heaviest Test cricketer ever? asked Junior Williams from Trinidad
He'll certainly be close: the latest estimates put Rahkeem Cornwall's weight at around 140kgs, or 22 stone (he's also about 6' 6" tall, so among the tallest Test cricketers too). The problem is, it's not usual for players' weights to be faithfully recorded, so it's difficult to be precise.
Just about the only contender for Test cricket's heavyweight championship is the former Australian captain Warwick Armstrong, who was quite svelte when he first toured England, in 1902, but had expanded considerably by the time he led a very strong side immediately after the Great War, winning eight Tests in a row against England in 1920-21 and 1921. Describing the 1921 version of Armstrong, Ronald Mason wrote: "He was an enormous man, huge-shouldered and heavy-hipped; he stood well over six feet and by the year of this his last tour had a disproportionate middle-aged spread. Estimates of his weight vary agreeably from 18 to 22 stone [114-140kgs]." Gideon Haigh, in his excellent biography of "The Big Ship", says the latter-day Armstrong was "as manoeuvrable in the field as a Pullman carriage". I did see Armstrong's shirt when it was displayed in the museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and it looked as if it might come in useful as an emergency sail.
Since we can't really be sure, I'd like to declare it a tie between Armstrong and Cornwall!
Is it true that Don Bradman averaged 100 in Ashes Tests? Who's in second place? asked Ricky Dooley from Scotland
Don Bradman didn't quite manage to average 100 against England, but he still sits comfortably on top of the pile, with 89.78. Of those who had a dozen or more innings in Ashes Tests, the Australian opener Sidney Barnes comes next with 70.50, ahead of the England pair of Herbert Sutcliffe (66.85) and Ken Barrington (63.96). After the Edgbaston Test, Steve Smith had climbed to fifth place with 60.84.
If you don't impose a qualification, there is someone on the list with a three-figure average: Albert Trott made 205 runs in five innings for Australia in 1894-95. Three of them were not out, so he averaged 102.50.
What's the highest identical score by a batsman in both innings of a Test? asked Thanura Perera from Sri Lanka
You'll probably be pleased to hear that a Sri Lankan holds this particular distinction: against India in Madras in 1982-83, Duleep Mendis hit 105 in the first innings, and followed that up with 105 in the second.
The only other man to make an identical three-figure score in both innings of a Test was Misbah-ul-Haq with 101 and 101 not out for Pakistan against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014-15. Here's the ever-expanding list of those who scored two centuries in the same Test.
Liam Plunkett played in the 2007 World Cup and then in the 2019 edition, after missing 2011 and 2015. Is this the longest gap between World Cup matches for any player? asked Gurdeep Singh from Malaysia
Liam Plunkett actually lies third on this particular list, a few days behind someone else who reappeared in the 2019 World Cup for the first time since 2007 - Shoaib Malik of Pakistan. Lameck Onyango of Kenya (1996 to 2007) and Carl Hooper of West Indies (1992-2003) also missed two World Cups, although the actual time gap between their matches was slightly shorter than for Shoaib and Plunkett.
However, the overall leader missed three World Cups: fast bowler Anderson Cummins represented West Indies in the 1992 World Cup, and Canada in 2007, when he was 40. He went four days short of 15 years between World Cup match appearances.
I know Sachin Tendulkar is the only man to play 200 Test matches. But who was first to 50, and 100, and 150? asked Pradeep Patel from India
Sachin Tendulkar did indeed become the only player to date to appear in 200 Tests, signing off against West Indies at home in Mumbai in November 2013.
The first man to appear in 50 Tests was Syd Gregory, the Australian, who was born in 1870 on the Sydney Cricket Ground, where his father was a groundsman. Gregory reached a half-century of caps in 1909, during the seventh of his eight Test-playing tours of England.
England's Colin Cowdrey was the first to play 100 Tests: he marked the milestone, against Australia at Edgbaston in 1968, by scoring a century.
And the first to 150 was Australia's Allan Border, in the match against New Zealand in Brisbane in 1993-94: he marked the occasion by scoring 105, his 27th and last Test century. At the time, Kapil Dev came next with 127 caps.
Finally there's a clarification on one of last week's questions:
A few people have queried the answer about only three pairs having bowled unchanged in the fourth innings of a Test, and winning. In trying to condense the question I managed to lose an important stipulation, which was that the bowlers had to have shared all ten wickets. The three shown last week are the only three of those. But there are five other instances (look at the fifth column) of a pair bowling unchanged in a final innings, without taking all ten wickets, usually because of run-outs.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes