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Ask Steven

How often have uncles and nephews played together in the same Test?

And is Neil Brand the only player to captain his side on Test debut?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
06-Feb-2024
Ibrahim Zadran (left) and his uncle Noor Ali Zadran (right) are possibly the second uncle-nephew pair to play to in the same Test  •  AFP/Getty Images

Ibrahim Zadran (left) and his uncle Noor Ali Zadran (right) are possibly the second uncle-nephew pair to play to in the same Test  •  AFP/Getty Images

I saw that Afghanistan's Ibrahim Zadran presented a first Test cap to his uncle, who then opened the innings with him. Is this unique? asked Bilal Shahzad from England
You're right that Ibrahim Zadran, a 22-year-old veteran of five previous Tests, presented his uncle Noor Ali Zadran, who's 35, with his first cap before the match against Sri Lanka in Colombo last Friday. The related pair then combined for an opening stand of 106 in the second innings.
I think there may be one other instance in Tests, also for Afghanistan: some sources suggest that left-arm wristspinner Waqar Salamkheil, who played against Ireland in Dehradun in March 2019, is the nephew of Asghar Afghan, who captained in that match.
There are a few other instances of uncles and nephews both being Test players (and an uncle and niece in Ian and Alyssa Healy), but for obvious reasons they usually appeared some time apart. The generations playing together is fairly rare at other levels too - although as it happens there were a few occasions during the last English domestic season when the former England batter Joe Denly was joined in the Kent side by his nephew Jaydn Denly.
I can think of one similar occurrence in international sport (there may well be others). At the 2002 football World Cup finals, the Republic of Ireland's full-backs were the Leeds United pair of Ian Harte and his uncle Gary Kelly.
I heard that Yashasvi Jaiswal was only the second Indian left-hander to score a Test double-century. Is that right? asked Hashim Patel from India
Actually there are three Indian left-handers who scored Test double-centuries before Yashasvi Jaiswal joined the club with 209 against England in Visakhapatnam last week. Back in 1992-93, Vinod Kambli made two in successive Tests, and Sourav Ganguly hit 239 against Pakistan in Bengaluru in 2007. The other left-hand double-centurion - and the only other opener - was Gautam Gambhir, who made 206 against Australia in Delhi in 2008-09.
Neil Brand captained South Africa on his Test debut the other day. How rare is this? asked Brian McCormack from New Zealand
Left-hander Neil Brand was one of six new caps in South Africa's severely weakened side in the first Test against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui, which started at the weekend. The only other such instance in the last half-century (excluding teams' inaugural Tests) was in 1995, when Lee Germon skippered New Zealand on his Test debut, against India in Bangalore.
Brand won his place as an opening bat, but against New Zealand showed off another string to his bow by taking a five-for - his first in first-class cricket - with his slow left-armers. He finished with 6 for 119, the best figures by any of the debut captains, beating Naimur Rahman's 6 for 132 for Bangladesh against India in Dhaka in November 2000.
For the full list of those who captained in their first Test, click here. This does include 11 of the 12 men who skippered in their sides' inaugural matches (AH Kardar, who led Pakistan, had already played for India).
Which wicketkeeper's tally of Test stumpings is the same as his number of Test hundreds? And which Indian wicketkeeper opened the batting and bowling in a Test? asked Mustafa Sharif from Pakistan
I disappeared down a blind alley for this one to start with, as my first thought was the great West Indian Clyde Walcott, who took 11 stumpings in Tests to go with 11 wickets as a bowler. And then I read the question properly! Walcott made 15 Test centuries, which means the leader with equal hundreds and stumpings is New Zealand's BJ Watling with eight of each in Tests - although only seven of his hundreds came in matches in which he was keeping wicket. Another West Indian, Jeff Dujon, made five Test centuries and also pulled off five stumpings.
As for the second part of the question, the versatile Indian wicketkeeper was Budhi Kunderan who, with his side seriously short of seamers, was pressed into service to open the bowling in his 18th and final Test, against England at Edgbaston in 1967. He opened the batting with another wicketkeeper, Farokh Engineer, after bowling four overs with the new ball on the first morning. India's captain, the Nawab of Pataudi, was asked beforehand what Kunderan bowled, and replied, "We'll have to wait and see."
That Edgbaston match was the only one in which India fielded all four of their great spinners of the 1960s and '70s, slow left-armer Bishan Bedi, legspinner Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, and offspinners Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan.
Logan van Beek came in at 67 for 6 in a one-day game the other day and scored 136 - is this the highest by a No. 8 in a List A match? asked Chris Monroe from New Zealand
The Dutch international Logan van Beek hit 136 against Central Districts at the Basin Reserve last week to help Wellington reach 281 for 8 after a sticky start. Sadly, rain meant the match was a no-result.
The only higher score from No. 8 in a List A (senior one-day) match is 144, by Nazmul Hossain Milon against Rajshahi in Dhaka in 2006-07. His remarkable innings helped Dhaka achieve a one-wicket win off the last ball, as they reached 300 for 9 after having been 112 for 7.
There have been 18 other centuries from No. 8, and six from No. 9. In fourth place is the 117 not out of Leicestershire's Harry Swindells, against Hampshire in the final of England's Metro Bank One-Day Cup at Trent Bridge last September.
Two of the centuries by No. 8s came in one-day internationals: Simi Singh hit 100 for Ireland against South Africa in Malahide in 2021, and Mehidy Hasan Miraz also scored 100 to set up a rare victory for Bangladesh over India in Mirpur in December 2022.
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