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Ask Steven

What is the record for the most sixes in a T20I innings?

And has anyone hit more sixes in their first T20I innings than Tristan Stubbs' eight?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Afghanistan's record total of 278 against Ireland in 2019 contained 22 sixes, 16 of them by Hazratullah Zazai  •  Getty Images

Afghanistan's record total of 278 against Ireland in 2019 contained 22 sixes, 16 of them by Hazratullah Zazai  •  Getty Images

England hit 20 sixes in the first T20I against South Africa. Was this a record? asked Derek White from England
Those 20 sixes in the first T20I against South Africa in Bristol last week was easily an England record, surpassing 15, which they had achieved five times, including twice in successive matches against West Indies in Bridgetown in January. But it was short of the overall mark: Afghanistan's batters hit 22 sixes in their 278 for 3 - the joint record for any senior T20 match - against Ireland in Dehradun in February 2019. There have been three cases of 21 sixes in a T20 international innings, and another of 20.
How many players with at least ten Test appearances have finished their career with their batting average being better than at any point beforehand? asked Kunjal from India
If we look at the men whose average at the end of their final Test was higher than at the end of any of their previous matches, there are eight (plus three current players) who averaged 30 or more. The most matches involved was 29, by Seymour Nurse of West Indies, who finished with an average of 47.60, helped by 258 in his final Test (against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1968-69), and India's Irfan Pathan (31.57). The old England opener Jack Russell averaged 56.88 - his highest - after his tenth and last Test, in which he scored 140 and 111 against South Africa in Durban in 1922-23. Note that Mushfiqur Rahim, who made 198 runs for once out in his most recent match (against Sri Lanka in Mirpur in May), currently has a higher average - 37.93 after 82 Tests - than after any of his previous matches, as does Ravindra Jadeja (36.56 after 60).
The list changes if you consider the average after every individual innings, as the figure can drop after a lower second knock. The most innings then is 50, by the South African opener Eric Rowan, who signed off - aged 42 in 1951 - with an average of 43.67. Pathan is next (40 innings, average 31.57), while the West Indies wicketkeeper Gerry Alexander took his average to a career-high 30.03 with 73 in his 38th and last Test innings, against Australia in Melbourne in the final chapter of the exciting 1960-61 series that began with the first-ever tied Test, in Brisbane. The highest average involved for anyone with ten or more innings is Russell's 56.88 from 18, although Afghanistan's Hashmatullah Shahidi currently averages 58.83 after ten, but will presumably appear again.
Tristan Stubbs hit eight sixes on his T20I debut in Bristol. Has anyone managed more than this? asked Henry Oldfield from England
The 21-year-old South African Tristan Stubbs did hit eight sixes in his valiant innings of 72 from 28 balls in Bristol the other day. While it was his first innings in T20Is, it wasn't quite his first match; he played two against India in June without getting to the crease. In any case, the record for a T20I debut is ten sixes, shared by two men: Ravinderpal Singh for Canada against the Cayman Islands in Bermuda in August 2019, and Leslie Dunbar for Serbia against Bulgaria in Corfu two months later. JP Kotze smote nine sixes on debut for Namibia against Botswana in Windhoek in August 2019.
The record for a Test-playing nation is six, by Australia's David Warner against South Africa in Melbourne in January 2009 - a debut also notable for the fact that Warner was almost unknown, as he had not even played a first-class match at that point.
Is it right that Duanne Olivier has the best bowling strike rate in Tests? asked Johannes Vetter from South Africa
It's true that the South African fast bowler Duanne Olivier has the best strike rate in Tests among current bowlers (given a minimum of 2000 balls bowled). He has taken 59 wickets in 15 matches so far, at a rate of one every 35.3 balls; the only man ahead of him over a complete career is the 19th-century England bowler George Lohmann, who took a wicket every 34.1 deliveries. Currently in fifth place is Olivier's team-mate Kagiso Rabada (40.7), while Dale Steyn's 439 Test wickets came at the tremendous rate of one every 42.3 balls.
Was Sam Northeast the oldest man to score a quadruple-century in first-class cricket? asked Lakshmi Patankar from India
Sam Northeast, who scored a county-record 410 not out for Glamorgan against Leicestershire at Grace Road last month, is now 32. The only older quadruple-centurion was Brian Lara, who was 34 when he reached 400 for the second time, during the Test against England in Antigua in 2004. Slightly more surprisingly, perhaps, Lara's effort in that game was also, at 773 minutes, the slowest first-class quadruple; Northeast is next with 603. However, although it's difficult to be absolutely certain, it looks as if Lara was also the quickest to the mark - in the course of his unbeaten 501 at Edgbaston in 1994 he reached 400 in 367 minutes. The youngest to score a first-class 400 was Pakistan's Aftab Baloch, aged 20 in 1973-74. For the list of the highest first-class scores, click here.
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