Jul 7, 2020
Steven LynchEditor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes
- Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years
running before the then-editor said “I can’t let you win it again, but would
you like a job?” That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the
Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two
sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden
Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers’
Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly “Ask Steven”
question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to
Several of the articles marking the death of the great Everton Weekes mention that he hit only one six in Tests, but his player page says two. Which is correct? asked Lionel Sponder from England
There was a lovely article on ESPNcricinfo a few years ago, by Tony Cozier, in which Sir Everton Weekes explained the other six away as a two plus four overthrows during a Test in India. But actually I think the great man’s memory might have failed him on this occasion, as it seems fairly certain that he hit two sixes – both in the same Test, against Australia in Port-of-Spain in 1954-55.
According to the tour account by the Australian journalist Pat Landsberg, in the first innings “Weekes made some hay from the old ball by hitting [Bill] Johnston for six”. He went on to make 139. And in the second innings Weekes added 87 not out as West Indies made sure of a draw (the Aussies had run up 600). That knock included another six, also described by Landsberg: “Weekes… himself hit [Ian] Johnson, with some contempt, for four and six off successive balls.”
Is it true that Everton Weekes once missed the start of a Test in which he was playing? asked Martin Richards from England
The match in question was the fourth Test of England’s tour of the West Indies in 1947-48, in Kingston. And not only did Everton Weekes miss the start, he actually saw the match in progress from the aeroplane taking him to Jamaica!
Weekes had originally been dropped, after a modest start to his Test career, but received a late recall when the great George Headley picked up an injury. The final place was between Weekes and John Holt, another Jamaican, and the selectors plumped for Weekes, even though he was still en route – and then his plane was delayed by an engine problem that led to an unscheduled stop in Puerto Rico. Weekes wrote: “The plane to Jamaica arrived late. Flying over Kingston we saw that the game had already started. I did not know if I was listed in the final team. I got to the hotel and the first question I asked an official was, ‘Is Weekes in the team?’ I was told yes, and that Holt was substituting for me on the field. I rushed to the ground and walked on to the field amidst loud boos and what seemed like a lifetime of jeering.”
The booing was mainly because the crowd wanted the local favourite Holt to play instead. But Weekes had the satisfaction of shutting them up when he batted, making 141, the first of his eventual 15 Test centuries. “Next day,” he remembered, “the same crowd came on to the field to lift me off after I got my hundred.”
Everton Weekes had for some time been the correct answer to my favourite cricket quiz question: which living cricketer played in a Test match the longest ago? Who is the record-holder now? asked Huw Pritchard from England
Everton Weekes made his Test debut, against England in Bridgetown, on January 21, 1948. The mantle of the male player who appeared in a Test longest ago now passes to someone who started just two days later – Australia’s Neil Harvey, who is now 91, first donned the baggy green on January 23, 1948, against India in Adelaide. There are currently two other survivors of Test cricket in the 1940s, as this list shows: John R Reid of New Zealand, and the oldest surviving male Test player, John Watkins of South Africa, who turned 97 earlier this year.
I noticed that although Adil Rashid has appeared in 19 Tests, he’s never played against Australia. Is this a record? asked Phil Stevenson from England
Adil Rashid has indeed played 19 Tests – all on different grounds, a record he shares with Faoud Bacchus of West Indies – but it’s not quite the most any Englishman has played without one against Australia: another Yorkshireman, Ryan Sidebottom won 22 caps without ever facing the Aussies. Keaton Jennings and Nick Knight played 17 Tests, and Nick Compton and Eoin Morgan 16, without ever playing against Australia either. The Australian with the most Test appearances without one against England is Joe Burns, with 21 caps so far: like Jennings and Rashid, he may yet move up this list, or leave it entirely.
What surname is shared by three players who all played just one Test? asked Ahmad Sawnhey from India
The surname of the three one-Test wonders – all right-arm seamers – is Banerjee. Two of them were around at the same time, and although they were both from Calcutta (now Kolkata), I don’t think they were related. The most famous of the trio is Sarodindu Nath “Shute” Banerjee, although his fame derives more from a tenth-wicket stand in a county match on India’s 1946 tour of England, when he and Chandu Sarwate put on 247 against Surrey at The Oval. Sarwate scored 124 not out and last man Banerjee 121, in the only instance in first-class cricket of Nos. 10 and 11 both scoring centuries. Banerjee’s only Test came a couple of years later, against West Indies in Bombay in 1948-49. He took five wickets – four in the second innings as West Indies chased quick runs – so might be considered unfortunate not to have been given another chance, although he was already 38.
Earlier in that series, Sudangsu Abinash “Mantu” Banerjee made his only appearance, in Calcutta, where although he took five wickets he could make little impression on Everton Weekes, who scored 162 and 101.
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And finally, in 1991-92 another seamer, Subroto Banerjee, played a solitary Test for India, against Australia in Sydney. He took the first three wickets – Geoff Marsh, Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh – so, like the other two Banerjees, might be considered unlucky not to have played again, although he was a member of the one-day squad for the World Cup that soon followed.
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