Ask Bearders #170
Welcome to Ask Bearders, where Test Match Special statistician Bill "The Bearded Wonder" Frindall answers your questions on all things cricket.
Below are Bill's responses to some of your questions posed at the end of his last column and if you have a question for Bill, leave it at the end of this blog entry. Please do include your country of residence - Bill loves to hear where all his correspondents are posting from.
Bill isn't able to answer all of your questions, however. BBC Sport staff will choose a selection of them and send them to Bearders for him to answer.
Q. It was the first game of the new season at my local club last weekend, and I took an unusual catch. The batsman crashed a long-hop into short leg's head; fortunately the fielder was wearing a helmet, and it looped off his helmet to me at square leg. The ball had not been grounded so the wicket counted, but our opposition were grumbling that the ball was dead and the wicket should not be given. Who was right? Tom
Bearders' Answer: The opposition was dead right! If the ball is deflected off a helmet worn by a fielder, it remains in play. However, Law 32, note 3 (e), states that the striker cannot be caught out from the delivery.
Q. Following Marcus Trescothick's recent retirement from Test and limited-overs international cricket, I wonder if he was he England's best batsman of the modern era. Who has scored the most runs for England in both formats since the start of the year 2000? J. Entwistle (Sheffield)
Bearders' Answer: Yes, 'Tres' is substantially England's highest scoring batsman since the start of the current century, being the leading scorer by a distance in both formats.
In Test matches, Trescothick scored 5,825 runs, avge 43.80, with 14 hundreds and 19 fifties in 76 Tests. The only other England player to score 3,500 runs in that period (prior to the start of England's home series against New Zealand) is Michael Vaughan with 5,391 runs.
In limited-overs internationals, he scored 4,335 runs, avge 37.37, with 12 hundreds and 21 fifties in 123 games. Paul Collingwood (3,526 runs) is the only other England batsman to exceed 3,500.
Q. I was playing in a recent amateur league match in Edinburgh when an unusual situation arose. Very strong winds meant that the bails kept on being blown off. Having no heavy bails, a decision was made to play on without bails at all. The opposition ninth batsman was subsequently given out when the ball looped up off his pad and trickled on to the stumps at a speed almost certainly too gentle to have dislodge the bails. Was this decision correct? Also what would happen in first-class or Test cricket were the use of bails impossible? Would play stop? John Logan (Edinburgh)
Bearders' Answer: Law 8 (note 5), which applies to all levels of cricket, allows the umpires to dispense with bails if heavier (lignum vitae) ones are unavailable. They must be dispensed with at BOTH ends and replaced as soon as conditions permit. This has occurred in first-class and Test cricket but not often because umpires usually carry a set of heavy bails.
In your match the decision was correct because in those circumstances (Law 28, note 4) the wicket is deemed to have been 'put down' if the umpire concerned is satisfied that that the wicket has been struck by the ball. Its velocity is irrelevant.
Q. I am interested in the phenomenon of bowlers running out the non-striker while he's backing up. I think it is called "Mankading". How many times has this happened in Test cricket? Does the ball count as having been bowled? Is there some reason that this practice is considered poor form? Larry (Leeds)
Bearders' Answer: India's outstanding all-rounder, 'Vinoo' Mankad, was the first of four bowlers to run out a non-striking batsman for backing up before he had bowled the ball in Test cricket. His victim at Sydney in 1947-48 was Australia's Bill Brown and Mankad had successfully rehearsed this unusual dismissal against the same batsman at the same venue when the tourists played an Australian XI there a month earlier. Mankad had also warned Brown when he had backed up in their next match against Queensland.
The subsequent three Test match instances involved Ian Redpath (Australia) by Charlie Griffith (West Indies) at Adelaide in 1968-69, Derek Randall (England) by Ewen Chatfield (New Zealand) at Christchurch in 1978-79, and Sikander Bakht (Pakistan) by Alan Hurst (Australia) at Perth in 1978-79.
The ball doesn't count because it hasn't been bowled! It's only bad form if the bowler hasn't previously warned the batsman - who is stealing a run. Law 42, note 15, now permits the bowler to attempt to run out the non-striker only before entering his delivery stride.
Q. I believe there are a number of instances in Test cricket where all 11 batsmen have scored double figures. Could you please tell me what the most runs scored is by the batsman with the lowest score within the team? John B (High Wycombe)
Bearders' Answer: There have been 11 instances of all 11 scoring at least 10 in a Test innings. The highest score by the lowest contributor to such an innings is 12 by R.G.Nadkarni for India (359) v New Zealand at Dunedin in 1967-68.
Q. Did Don Bradman ever bowl in first-class or Test cricket and, if so, what are his stats? Also, what was his catching record? Clive (London)
Bearders' Answer: The Don bowled 2,114 balls (leg-breaks) in first-class cricket, 160 of them in Test matches. In all first-class matches he took 36 wickets at 37.97 runs apiece with a best of 3-35 for the 1930 Australians against Cambridge University at Fenner's. His two Test wickets (best analysis 1-8) were West Indies wicket-keeper Ivan Barrow at Adelaide in 1930-31 and the prime scalp of Wally Hammond (bowled for 85), also at Adelaide, on the "Bodyline" tour of 1932-33.
Bradman held 131 catches in his 234 first-class matches, 32 of them in 52 Tests. He also made a stumping off the leg-breaks and googlies of Frank Ward when deputising as wicket-keeper for South Australia against New South Wales at Sydney in 1937-38.
Q. What is the highest Test innings by a player who did not hit a boundary? Has there ever been a Test hundred without fours or sixes? Sam Plackman
Bearders' Answer: Geoffrey Boycott's 77 for England v Australia at Perth in 1978-79 is the highest score in Test cricket without a boundary. He batted 454 minutes and faced 337 balls. His only four included two overthrows. Lindsay Hassett, TMS summariser and former captain of Australia, described this marathon as 'an exceptional innings by someone who could not find the middle of his bat'.
Q. Which batsman holds the record for the most innings scores in the 90s in Tests or limited-overs internationals? Jai
Bearders' Answer: Steve Waugh (Australia) and Rahul Dravid (India) head the leaderboard for one of the least coveted records in Test cricket having each failed to escape from the nineties on 10 occasions.
In the short (50/55-overs) format, the list is headed by India's Sachin Tendulkar with 17 nineties from 407 innings, 190 more than anyone else. Next on the list are three batsmen with nine nineties. Only three batsmen have been stranded in the nineties in international Twenty20 games: Damien Martyn and Ricky Ponting (Australia), and Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa).
Q. Who is the youngest person to have played first-class cricket in England? Dan (Southampton)
Bearders' Answer: Charles Robertson Young was 15 years 131 days old when he played for Hampshire against Kent at Gravesend on 13 June 1867. Born in Indiaat Dharwar near Bombay, the son of an assistant superintendent revenue surveyor for Southern Marathee County, his date of birth has been confirmed as 2 February 1852 at the India Office.
Q. What is the lowest total that has been successfully defended in a completed limited-overs game (excluding any that were shortened by the Duckworth/Lewis Method)? Matt
Bearders' Answer: The lowest total to win batting first in English domestic limited-overs matches is 98 by Worcestershire against Durham (82) in a 60-overs Gillette Cup match at Ropery Lane, Chester-le-Street on 4 May 1968.
The lowest in limited-overs internationals is 101 for 9 (30 overs) by Australia v West Indies (87 off 29.3 overs) in a rain-abbreviated floodlit World Series match at Sydney on 8 December 1993. The lowest in a full 50-overs international is 125 (42.4 overs) by India v Pakistan (87 off 32.5 overs) in a Four-Nations Cup match at Sharjah on 22 March 1985.
Q. I wonder if you could clarify for me an issue with wicket-keeping gloves. A couple of years ago it seemed the law had been tightened up to say that a strap between thumb and glove was allowed as long as it was not webbed. I'm sure recently more and more keepers have reverted back to an illegal glove. Am I mistaken or does the law vary for different levels of the game? Paul (Canterbury, Kent)
Bearders' Answer: No. Law 40, note 2, of the 2000 Code (incorporating 2003 changes) applies to all levels of cricket. It stipulates that gloves shall have no webbing between the fingers except joining index finger and thumb, where webbing may be inserted as a means of support.
If used, the webbing shall be (a) a single piece of non-stretch material which, although it may have facing material attached, shall have no reinforcement or tucks; and (b) such that the top edge of the webbing (i) does not protrude beyond the straight line joining the top of the index finger to the top of the thumb and (ii) is taut when a hand wearing the glove has the thumb fully extended.
Q. Is it true that you used to score for Reigate Grammar School at their old St Alban's Road Ground in Reigate? This year is the Silver Jubilee of the Nutley Hall CC playing at St Albans Road, and we delight in telling the opposition that you were there as a lad. Bill Benton (England)
Bearders' Answer: No, prior to my debut for TMS the only scoring I had ever done for was Temple Bar, the Kingswood (Surrey)-based cricket club for employees of the Legal & General Assurance Society sited opposite to where I was living. However, I did play many matches on the Old Reigate Horse Show Ground in St Alban's Road for Reigate Grammar School's various age teams, my last two seasons (1956-57) being for the 1st XI, but I was never the scorer.
In those days your ground was cared for by a Mr Hammond. Although an excellent mower of outfields and neat trimmer of hedges, his knowledge of pitch preparation was a little patchy and the square was a little rough. I began as an opening batsman and probably my most remarkable feat there was to score 35 not out and carry my bat through an innings of 57 all out.
If Nutley Hall CC requires any help with its celebrations, please contact me via my website!