The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:



Garry Sobers: an ace up the sleeve for Yorkshire © Getty Images

Yorkshire had a home-grown policy until recently, but someone tells me that they did have an overseas player as a guest during the 1960s. Who was it? asked Albert Stanworth

The mystery guest doesn't appear in the record-books, since the matches concerned weren't first-class, but he was a rather handy performer: Garry Sobers, the outstanding player of the 1960s, and arguably the greatest allrounder of them all. He played for Yorkshire on their tour of Bermuda late in 1964 (they had earlier had some matches in the United States too, but Sobers didn't play in those). Don Wilson, the Yorkshire and England spinner, remembered: "Fortunately we had a card up our sleeve, a guest player by the name of Garfield Sobers and, within half an hour, he had shared eight wickets with [Fred] Trueman. Not only that but, as we batted on after achieving an easy victory, Garry marked his Yorkshire debut with a century."

Is it true that Sir Donald Bradman made a comeback in a minor match against Ted Dexter's England tourists in Australia in 1962-63? asked Simon Hull

It is true - Bradman captained the Prime Minister's XI in a one-day match at Canberra towards the end of that 1962-63 tour. This was one of the few cricket matches in which Bradman played after the "Invincibles" returned home from their successful tour of England in 1948 (he did appear in three first-class matches in Australia in 1948-49, two of them testimonial games). The Don was 54 by the time of that 1962-63 match, and he made only 4 before, to the horror of the crowd (and the bowler too, who called it "the most disappointing cricket experience of my life"), he edged a ball from Brian Statham into his pad, and it looped up and removed the off bail. "It mightn't have happened once in a thousand times," Bradman observed ruefully, before putting his pads away for good.

What is the lowest target defended successfully in an ODI? I know Pakistan once defended 87 against India, but that was only a 16-over match - what's the record for a full 50-over game? asked Basharat Ali from Pakistan

You're right about that India-Pakistan match, which was at Gujranwala in 1989-90. Pakistan made 87 for 9 in their 16 overs, then restricted India to 80 for 9. But the lowest score to win an uninterrupted ODI is 125, by India in the first match of the Rothmans Trophy at Sharjah in 1984-85. India were all out in 42.4 overs, but then bowled Pakistan out for 87 in 32.5. There are three other lower targets successfully defended in shortened games: 101 by Australia v West Indies (87) in a 30-over match at Sydney in 1992-93; 121 by England v India (114) in a 15-over match at Chandigarh in 1984-85; and 124 by West Indies v Bangladesh (101) in a 25-over match in St Vincent in 2003-04.

What's the best bowling analysis for someone who finished on the losing side in a Test, and an ODI? asked Anurag Garg

The best bowling figures in a losing cause in a Test are 9 for 83, by Kapil Dev for India against West Indies at Ahmedabad in 1983-84. Two other men have taken nine wickets in a Test innings but finished up on the losing side: Jack Noreiga, with 9 for 95 for West Indies against India at Port-of-Spain in 1970-71, and Subhash Gupte, who took 9 for 102 for India v West Indies at Kanpur in 1958-59. There are 15 instances of a bowler taking eight in a Test innings but losing. The best bowling analysis by someone who ended up losing an ODI is 6 for 14, by Imran Khan for Pakistan against India at Sharjah in 1984-85, in the low-scoring match referred to in the question above. There are four other instances of a bowler taking six wickets but losing.

I see that Shane Warne has taken more wickets in Tests than in other first-class matches. Is he the only one to have done this, and if not is the difference between the two totals a record? asked Michael Cabretti from Australia

After the Lord's Test against England Shane Warne has taken 589 wickets in Tests and 471 in other first-class matches, a difference of 118. But he's only third on the list, and you don't have to look outside the Australian dressing-room for the leader: Glenn McGrath has taken 508 Test wickets, and 268 in other first-class matches, a difference of 240. Shaun Pollock comes next, with 377 in Tests and 239 elsewhere, a difference of 138. Jason Gillespie lies fourth, with 248 in Tests and 149 in other first-class games.

Who wrote a book called "Sort of a Cricket Person"? asked Daniel O'Sullivan from York

That was the name of the first volume of autobiography by EW "Jim" Swanton, the distinguished Daily Telegraph cricket writer. The book was published by Collins in 1972. It was reviewed in one overseas newspaper as "Sort of a Cricket Peron", which caused amusement in press-boxes everywhere.

Steven Lynch is the deputy editor of The Wisden Group. For some of these answers he was helped by Travis Basevi, the man who built Stats Guru and the Wisden Wizard. If you want to Ask Steven a question, contact him through our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries