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Ask Steven

What is the highest individual score from No. 10 in a Test?

And how many players have made an appearance in the IPL without ever having played a senior match?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Suyash Sharma tosses one up on IPL debut, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2023, Kolkata, April 6, 2023

Suyash Sharma was the 15th player to appear in the IPL not having played any senior cricket previously  •  BCCI

Suyash Sharma appeared in the IPL the other day without previously having played any sort of senior match. Was this a first? asked Mahesh Dhanwalkar from India
You're right that the 19-year-old legspinner Suyash Sharma had played no first-class, List A or other T20 cricket before he was selected for Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Kolkata last week.
I was surprised to learn that Suyash was the 15th player to appear in the IPL without ever previously featuring in a single professional match. The most celebrated of the others, who are all Indian, is probably Pravin Tambe, another legspinner, who was 41 when he was elevated from net bowler to play for Rajasthan Royals against Delhi Daredevils in Jaipur in 2013.
For the record, the others were Taruwar Kohli, Dinesh Salunkhe and Siddharth Chitnis (all 2008), Kamran Khan and Shoaib Shaikh (2009), Shivam Sharma (2014), KC Cariappa (2015), Shivil Kaushik (2016), Tejas Baroka and Ankit Soni (2017), Shivam Mavi (2018), Harpreet Brar (2019) and Harshit Rana (2022). None of them managed three wickets on debut, as Suyash Sharma did: the next-best was Shivam Sharma's 2 for 20 for Kings XI Punjab against RCB in Bengaluru in May 2014. Dinesh Salunkhe leads the way for the batters, with 26 not out for Rajasthan Royals against Daredevils in Delhi in April 2008.
I noticed that in Bulawayo in February Joshua Da Silva was playing his 19th Test, but Zimbabwe were the eighth different opposition he'd faced. Was this a record? asked Tushar Mukherjee from the United States
You're right that the West Indian wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva played against eight different countries in his first 19 Tests (he now has 22 caps, but still only eight opponents). Surprisingly, though, he's a fair way off this particular record: two players - the New Zealand wicketkeeper/batsmanBJ Watling and the Sri Lankan seamer Dhammika Prasad faced eight different opposition countries in their first 11 Tests. Another Sri Lankan, slow left-armer Lasith Embuldeniya, faced nine different countries in his first 17 Tests, and another left-arm spinner, Taijul Islam of Bangladesh, took on ten different opposition countries in his first 25 Test matches.
Apologies that the original answer published for this question was wrong, as it was looking at the most different countries played in (rather than against) because of a programming error. (It's a reminder that we're all human and rather busy, especially when the IPL is on!) By that yardstick, Kasun Rajitha of Sri Lanka and Pakistan's Faheem Ashraf needed only 12 Tests to play in eight different countries.
Did this season's clash between Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat have the highest joint age of the wicketkeepers in any IPL match? asked Kiran Limaye from India
The game you're talking about, the opening match on March 31in Ahmedabad, featured the 41-year-old MS Dhoni keeping wicket for Chennai Super Kings, while Wriddhiman Saha, who's 38, took the gloves for Gujarat Titans. The combined total of over 80 years broke their own record, set in the second of the sides' meetings last season. Also last year, Dhoni's rival wicketkeeper in CSK's match against RCB was Dinesh Karthik, who was nearly 37 at the time (he turns 38 on June 1 this year).
A few years ago I watched Abul Hasan hit 113 for Bangladesh after coming in at No. 10. Was this the highest Test score from that position? asked Ghulam Hossain from Bangladesh
Abul Hasan, who was picked for his seam bowling, marked his Test debut for Bangladesh in 2012-13 by thumping 113 from No. 10 against West Indies in Khulna. The only higher score from No. 10 came more than 128 years before that, in 1884, when England's Walter Read made 117 against Australia at The Oval.
There have been two other centuries from No. 10 in the order in Tests. Reggie Duff, who was usually an opener, hit 104 for Australia against England in Melbourne in 1901-02 (like Abul, this was his first Test), and the South Africa offspinner Pat Symcox made 108 against Pakistan in Johannesburg in 1997-98.
Further to last week's question about the highest scorer in the opening match of an IPL season, who has the best bowling figures in such games? asked Ian Davidson from New Zealand
The best bowling figures in the IPL season opener are 5 for 27, by the Royal Challengers Bangalore seamer Harshal Patel against Mumbai Indians in Chennai in April 2021. It kick-started a superb tournament for Harshal, in which he finished as the MVP, after taking 32 wickets, eight more than anyone else. The West Indian spinner Sunil Narine took 4 for 13 for Kolkata Knight Riders in the first match of 2013, and 4 for 20 in the opening game of the following season; in that same 2014 match, Sri Lanka seamer Lasith Malinga claimed 4 for 23 for Mumbai Indians.
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