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Ask Steven

How often have players captained a side on their birthdays?

And is Virat Kohli the fastest to 20 ODI centuries?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Dasun Shanaka was the last men's player to captain in an ODI on his birthday, the 32nd instance of this happening  •  Getty Images

Dasun Shanaka was the last men's player to captain in an ODI on his birthday, the 32nd instance of this happening  •  Getty Images

I noticed that Jos Buttler captained England on his birthday recently. How rare is this? asked Jennifer Roberts from England
Jos Buttler skippered England in a one-day international against New Zealand last week in Cardiff on September 8, his 33rd birthday. Things started well as he top-scored for England with 72, but he ended up on the losing side.
Captaining on a birthday is reasonably common: this was the 31st such instance in men's ODIs, and it was followed next day by the 32nd - Dasun Shanaka skippered Sri Lanka against Bangladesh during the Asia Cup in Colombo on his 32nd birthday. The only other Englishman to do it was Andrew Strauss, in what ended up as a sensational defeat by Ireland during the World Cup in Bangalore on March 2, 2011, his 34th birthday.
Tamim Iqbal has made something of a habit of this, captaining Bangladesh in three ODIs on his birthday (March 20) in 2021, 2022 and 2023. Viv Richards and Arjuna Ranatunga both did it twice.
There have been 15 instances in men's T20Is, including another one by Shanaka (in 2022), and one by New Zealand's Tom Latham (April 2), who also did in an ODI.
There have been more cases in Tests, but only 21 occasions when a captain had his birthday on the first day of the match, when he presumably tossed up. The first instance of this actually featured both skippers: on March 11, 1953, in Georgetown, Jeff Stollmeyer (West Indies) turned 32, and Vijay Hazare (India) 38.
Virat Kohli captained India in a Test against South Africa in Mohali that started on his 27th birthday (November 5) in 2015, and in a T20I against Scotland on his 33rd, in Dubai during the 2021 World Cup.
I read that Tim David was the first to play a one-day international having previously played T20s for a different country. Is that correct? asked Mason Edwards from Australia
It's not quite true. The hard-hitting Tim David played his first one-day international for Australia last week, against South Africa in Bloemfontein last week. He had previously played 28 T20Is, the first 14 of them for Singapore, where he was born in 1996. The particular distinction achieved by David is that he is the first man who made his official international debut for a country that doesn't play ODIs to appear in one, obviously after being selected by a country that does play them. (In case it helps the explanation, Mark Chapman, who is now playing for New Zealand, previously appeared for Hong Kong - but they did have ODI status, and he played two such matches for them, as well as 19 T20Is, before New Zealand chose him.)
By a remarkable coincidence, the first woman to achieve this unusual double completed it on the same day as David: on September 9, Mahika Gaur made her ODI debut for England, against Sri Lanka in Chester-le Street, after 19 T20Is for United Arab Emirates (and two in recent weeks for England). The UAE's women's team does not have ODI status.
Which man has the best bowling figures in The Hundred? asked James Narracott from England
The best bowling figures in the men's Hundred are 5 for 11, by the South African-born Manchester Originals legspinner Calvin Harrison against Northern Superchargers at Old Trafford last month. Harrison bettered the mark set in 2022 by another Originals player, Josh Little, who took 5 for 13 against Oval Invincibles, also at Old Trafford.
There have been three other five-fors, by Marchant de Lange (5 for 20 for Trent Rockets), Imran Tahir and Henry Brookes (who both took 5 for 25 for Birmingham Phoenix). For the full list, click here. The only bowler to take five wickets in an innings in the women's Hundred is Fi Morris - 5 for 7 for Manchester Originals against Birmingham Phoenix at Old Trafford in 2023.
Virat Kohli scored his 20th ODI hundred in his 133rd innings. Has anyone got to 20 faster than Virat? asked Vikram Ramaswamy from India
The only man to reach 20 one-day international centuries quicker than Virat Kohli's 133 innings is the South African Hashim Amla, who got there in 108. In third place is Australia's David Warner who scored his 20th century in his 142nd ODI innings, against South Africa in Bloemfontein last week.
Only 12 others have scored as many as 20 centuries in ODIs. AB de Villiers reached the mark in 175 innings, Rohit Sharma in 183, Ross Taylor 195, Sachin Tendulkar 197, Sourav Ganguly 214, Herschelle Gibbs 217, Chris Gayle 226, Saeed Anwar 243, Ricky Ponting 244, Tillakaratne Dilshan 279, Sanath Jayasuriya 350 and Kumar Sangakkara 366.
Both captains during India's Asia Cup match against Nepal were called Rohit. How rare is this? asked Husein Bharmal from Oman
The captains in that Asia Cup match in Pallekele last week were Rohit Sharma of India and Rohit Paudel of Nepal. The only previous instance of the captains sharing the same first name in ODIs was in Perth in 1990-91, when Australia were skippered by Allan Border and England by Allan Lamb.
Border and Lamb also opposed each other in one Test, in Brisbane a few weeks earlier; other instances involved Herbie Taylor (South Africa) and Herbie Collins (Australia) in three Tests in 1921-22, and Jack Ryder (Australia) and Jack White (England) in one match in 1928-29. The only case in T20Is was by Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan) and Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan) in 2013-14.
Molly Dive (Australia) and Molly Hide (England) opposed each other in four women's Tests (three in 1948-49 and one in 1951), and Mary Duggan (England) and Mary Allitt (Australia) in three in 1963. Clare Connor (England) and Clare Shillington (Ireland) captained in an ODI in Pretoria during the 2005 World Cup. (I've tried to use the forenames by which the players were usually known, but nicknames or shortened versions of names might mean these lists are not quite complete, so, for example, Steve Waugh and Stephen Fleming did not show up in our query.)
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