3:55 PM IST
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
After the first match in Southampton, Shai Hope averaged 26.71 in Tests but 52.20 in ODIs – is that the biggest difference for anyone? asked Alexander Appleyard from England
Given a minimum of 20 innings in both formats, the only batsman with a bigger difference than Shai Hope‘s 25.49 is the current Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq, who averages 53.84 in ODIs but only 25.52 in Tests, a difference of 28.32. He has had only 21 innings in Tests, though. This pair are both currently ahead of the most celebrated case, Australia’s Michael Bevan, who averaged 53.58 in ODIs but only 29.07 in Tests, a difference of 24.51.
If you raise the bar to a minimum of 50 innings in both formats, then Hope is well clear of the next man, New Zealand’s Martin Guptill, who averages 42.50 in ODIs but 29.38 in Tests, a difference of 13.12. The most consistent performer is the West Indian opener Gordon Greenidge, who averaged 45.03 in ODIs and 44.72 in Tests, a difference of just 0.31.
The biggest difference the other way is by another Australian, Greg Matthews, who averaged 41.08 in Tests but only 16.72 in ODIs.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Test career lasted 24 years – are there any longer ones? asked Ricky Brathwaite from Barbados
The Test career of Sachin Tendulkar started on November 15, 1989, when he was 16, against Pakistan in Karachi – and finished 24 years (and one day) later, with the end of his 200th match, against West Indies in Mumbai in November 2013.
Although 200 Tests is a record that might never be beaten, four players have enjoyed longer careers. The West Indian George Headley pipped Tendulkar by nine days, starting in 1930 and finishing in 1954. Three Englishmen head the list: Frank Woolley‘s Test career lasted almost 25 years from 1909 to 1934, while Brian Close‘s was just short of 27 years, between 1949 and 1976. But the Test career of Wilfred Rhodes lasted a record 30 years and 315 days, from his debut alongside WG Grace at Trent Bridge in June 1899 to his farewell appearance, against West Indies in Kingston in April 1930, when he was, at 52, the oldest man to play in a Test match.
How many instances are there of a player scoring a duck and a century in the same Test match? asked John Baumfield from New Zealand
This is a surprisingly common achievement: it has now happened no fewer than 170 times in Test matches. The first to do it was the Australian captain Billy Murdoch, with 0 and 153 not out at The Oval in 1880, in the first Test ever played in England, while the most recent occurrence was by Azhar Ali, with 0 and 119 for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in Karachi in December 2019.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Andrew Strauss did it three times, while 22 men managed it twice: Asif Iqbal, Azhar Ali, Don Bradman, Colin Cowdrey, Martin Crowe, Daryll Cullinan, Mike Gatting, Adam Gilchrist, Desmond Haynes, Imtiaz Ahmed, Mahela Jayawardene, Jacques Kallis, Usman Khawaja, Gary Kirsten, Vijay Manjrekar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Viv Richards, Virender Sehwag, Garry Sobers, Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Vaughan and BJ Watling.
Seven batsmen have scored a double-century and a duck in the same Test.
Who was the first bowler to take 100 wickets in ODIs? And 200, etc? asked Kinjan Mehra from India
The first man to take 100 wickets in one-day internationals was the great Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee, who got there when he dismissed Grant Paterson of Zimbabwe during a World Cup match at Trent Bridge in 1983. Lillee finished with 103 wickets in ODIs.
First to 200 was India’s Kapil Dev, in October 1991, but then Wasim Akram took up the baton for Pakistan. He was the first to 300 (October 1996), 400 (January 2000) and 500 (February 2003). Wasim finished with 502 wickets in ODIs, the record until Muttiah Muralitharan passed it in February 2009: he ended up with 534. Of players who have appeared in the last year, Lasith Malinga and Mashrafe Mortaza lead the way, with 338 and 270 wickets respectively. But both of them seem unlikely to play any further one-day internationals, which means a long gap between Shakib Al Hasan who’s next with 260 wickets and to Tim Southee (190 wickets) and Ravindra Jadeja (187).
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Is it true that the Indian tennis player Sania Mirza is related to several Test players? asked Geoff McCormack from Australia
Sania Mirza, who won six doubles titles at the four Grand Slam events (three in women’s doubles and three in the mixed), has several connections with cricket – and once said, “If I’d been a boy I’d have been a cricketer.”
Mirza’s cousin, Nisar Ahmed, is the son of the former Indian offspinner Ghulam Ahmed, who played 22 Tests, mostly in the 1950s, captaining in three. A few years ago, Nisar explained the relationship to the Indian writer Gulu Ezekiel: “Our grandmothers are sisters – Sania’s father’s mother and my mother’s mother.” Ghulam Ahmed was also the uncle of the Pakistan Test captain Asif Iqbal.
There’s a third Test captain in the mix: in April 2010, Sania Mirza married Shoaib Malik, who skippered Pakistan in three of his 35 Tests, 41 of his 287 ODIs, and 20 of his 113 T20Is. Their first child, Izhaan Mirza Malik, was born in October 2018.
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