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Ask Bearders #176

Bill Frindall | 10:12 UK time, Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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. During the recent Test series against New Zealand I remember one of the commentators asking you to find out which county had produced the most England Test captains. Sadly I was on my way to the airport at the time and missed your answer! Boredkentjames

Bearders' Answer: Kevin Pietersen is England's 78th Test captain. Middlesex has provided the most with 12: G.O.B.Allen, J.M.Brearley, J.E.Emburey, M.W.Gatting, F.G.Mann, F.T.Mann, T.C.O'Brien, R.W.V.Robins, G.T.S.Stevens, A.E.Stoddart, P.F.Warner and A.J.Strauss. Distribution for the other 17 counties is: eight - Surrey, Yorkshire; seven - Lancashire, Sussex; six - Kent ; five - Essex, four - Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire; three - Hampshire, Somerset, Worcestershire; two - Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire; one - Derbyshire, Glamorgan; none - Durham.

Q. The other day I noticed that Robert Key's one and only Test century was converted into a double. Have any other Test cricketers done this? Phil Hopton

Bearders' Answer: Nine others have registered a solitary Test century in excess of 199. Kuruppu and Lloyd failed to reach another fifty. The full list is: England - R.E.Foster (8 Tests, 14 innings, HS 287), R.W.T.Key (15, 26, 221), D.Lloyd (9, 15, 214*); Australia - J.N.Gillespie (71, 93, 201*), B.J.Hodge (6, 11, 203*); New Zealand - M.P.Donnelly (7, 12, 206); West Indies - S.F.A.F.Bacchus (19, 30, 250), D.St E. Atkinson (22, 35,219); Pakistan - Taslim Arif (6, 10, 210*); Sri Lanka - D.S.B.P.Kuruppu (4, 7, 201*).

Q. Is there a Stats site you can recommend that does not include the farcical Australians v ICC World XI match played in Australia in 2005-06? Cricinfo insists on including these figures despite the ICC definition of Test matches not being met by the match in question. Phasla

Bearders' Answer: Ric Finlay's Tastats site allows you to exclude all matches involving multinational teams (except West Indies!) from its Test and limited-overs matches. Another Australian, Charlie Wat, compiles and updates Test records excluding that match. You will not find it included in any figures published under my name. Hopefully the ICC will soon see the error of their ways and revoke its phoney status.

Q. There was a friendly between England U19 and Canada U19 in Loughborough in 2006 or 2007 - I am trying to find the scorecard for it but haven't has luck yet, please advise if you any details of that match. Baz

Bearders' Answer: Sorry, I cannot help you. The Cricket Archive website's only record of Canada U-19 playing in England was in 1989 when they were involved in an International Youth Tournament staged at Radley College, Oxford. England U-19's opponents from 2004 to 2007 were Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. England U-19s have played only two matches in Loughborough - on the Haslegrave Ground - and neither featured Canada.

Q. A friend and I were discussing hat-tricks and the likelihood of the same batsman being dismissed twice within the same hat-trick. Has this ever occurred at first-class level? Andrew Bak (Bradford)

Bearders' Answer: I don't know of such an instance but, as hat-tricks can extend over both innings of a match (but not over successive matches), it is certainly possible.

When Australia's diminutive leg-spinner, Jimmy Matthews, took his two hat-tricks in separate innings at Old Trafford in the Triangular Tournament on the afternoon of 28 May 1912, his victims twice included wicket-keeper Tommy Ward. Apart from being the only batsman to feature in two hat-tricks on the same day, Ward is also the only Test cricketer to have been electrocuted while working in a gold mine.

Q. 'Freddie' Flintoff became the bowler with the least amount of 'five-fors' to take 200 Test wickets recently. Which player has the most Test wickets without ever having taken five wickets in an innings? Fink

Bearders' Answer: Andrew Flintoff has taken 199 wickets in his 69 Tests for England.

England's Mike Hendrick's tally of 87 wickets, average 25.83, is the highest by a bowler who never took five in an innings. His best analysis in 30 Tests was 4 for 28.

Q. There is always much discussion about how wicket-keepers hate conceding byes. Has a table of the biggest bye-conceders been produced? Could one produce a keeping average, based on byes conceded divided by the number of dismissals they have taken? Antony Hopker

Bearders' Answer: Yes, tables of byes-per-wicket-keeper are available. Mark Boucher, who has made most dismissals in Tests (447), has also conceded the most byes (771). His average of byes-per-wicket is 1.72. Adam Gilchrist (409 dismissals and 602 byes) has a superior byes-per-wicket average of 1.47.

Q. Thank you for the answer to my previous question on the number of overs bowled without a wicket in a Test match. Atkinson must have been at the other end when Sonny Ramadhin bowled all his overs at Cowdrey and May. As you may know Sonny still claims to this day he had both LBW a number of times without success from the umpires' fingers. This leads on to another question if I may. I noticed in the recent Yorkshire v Notts match that Yorkshire had 11 lbws against them in the match. Is this a record number of lbws in a match? Friarmere111

Bearders' Answer: It may be. No one has scoured nearly 50,700 first-class matches to find out.

The Test record is the ten inflicted on New Zealand by Pakistan at Lahore in 1996-97. The most involving both sides in a Test is 17 (West Indies (8) v Pakistan (9) at Port-of-Spain in 1992-93. The most in a Test match innings is seven (Zimbabwe v England at Chester-le-Street in 2003 and New Zealand v Australia at Christchurch in 2004-05).

Q. Recently Mark Ramprakash scored his 100th first-class hundred. How many players have achieved 100 limited-overs (either 40 or 50 over matches) hundreds? MontyPanesar

Bearders' Answer: None. Sachin Tendulkar has scored the most - 53. The only other batsmen to have scored 40 or more are Graham Gooch (44) and Graeme Hick (40).

Q. On which overseas ground have England won the most Test matches?
My guess would be Sydney, or another Australian ground. cabbagehead

Bearders' Answer: Your guessing ability is far superior to your choice of an alias! England's most successful overseas grounds are Sydney (21 wins) and Melbourne (19). England have played 53 Tests on each. Five of the six English grounds on which 30 or more home Tests have been played have not surprisingly produced most England victories: Lord's (43 wins, 115 Tests), The Oval (36, 91), Headingley (30, 68), Old Trafford (24, 72), Edgbaston (22, 43). The exception is Trent Bridge where England have won only 17 of their 54 Tests.

Q. A good-humoured debate with an Australian colleague as to the most logical way to quote a cricket score (wickets first or runs first) has resulted in us 'agreeing to disagree'. Is it known how or why the difference came about? Matt (Croydon)

Bearders' Answer: Apparently it came about because of the different layouts of scoreboards. Australian ones tended to have the wickets preceding the totals, whereas English one had the totals first. Commentators read the scores in those respective orders.

Q. Other than in first-ever Tests for each Test-playing nation, has any Test team been comprised of eleven uncapped players? nigel-in-upper-hutt

Bearders' Answer: No. The only instances of all eleven players making their debuts in the same match have been by Australia and England (Melbourne, March 1877), South Africa (Port Elizabeth, March 1889), West Indies (Lord's, June 1928), New Zealand (Christchurch, January 1930), India (Lord's, June 1932), Sri Lanka (Colombo, February 1982) and Bangladesh (Dhaka, November 2000).

Zimbabwe had ten debutants in their inaugural Test at Harare in October 1992, A.J.Traicos having played the last of his three Tests for South Africa some 22 years and 222 days earlier.

Pakistan had only nine debutants when they played their maiden Test at Delhi in October 1952, Amir Elahi and A.H.Kardar having previously appeared for India.

South Africa had ten debutants when they played their first Test (Bridgetown, April 1992) after being re-admitted to full ICC membership, K.C.Wessels making his debut for the country of his birth after 24 Tests for Australia.


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello, Why don't Bermuda play for the West Indies?

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.


    In the last Test between England and South Africa I noticed all 5 front line bowlers took at least one wicket in each innings. Has this happened before?

    Have more than 5 bowlers ever taken at least one wicket in each innings of a test before?

  • Comment number 4.

    Do you record a player's weight? If so, who (at their heaviest) was the heaviest person to play for England? Some contenders I can think of: Colin Milburn, Andrew Flintoff, Devon Malcolm, Robin Smith, Ian Botham, Graham Gooch and of course Mike Gatting.

  • Comment number 5.

    Is 229 still the lowest score never achieved by a batsman in Test cricket? I note it was 228 up until Gibbs scored 228. What's the lowest in ODIs?

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Bill, my question (or perhaps series of questions) concerns being run out at the non-striker’s end before the ball has been bowled. Last weekend we had a bit of a palaver because of it. We were the fielding side and the non-striker was backing-up rather enthusiastically. For some reason the bowler decided enough was enough and ran him out before bowling the ball. The batsman protested because he should have been warned first. Our coach was furious with the bowler, indicating that ‘this is not cricket’ and ‘we don’t play cricket like that…ever!’ In the end, the umpire ruled the non-striker to be not out since the bowler was going against the spirit of the game, and the game continued as normal. So, who was right? Should the batsman be given a warning, is it a viable dismissal, and does it contravene the spirit of the game (anymore than say a bowler bowling underarm to prevent a six of the last ball)? And, has this ever occurred at first-class or even international level?

  • Comment number 7.

    RobM1974 - if players' weights are recorded, they may not be accurate. Kent's profile of Rob Key has always had his weight at 12 stone 7 pounds!

  • Comment number 8.

    In our leage, Warwickshire Prem, you cant be run out by the bowler before the ball is bowled or Mankad i believe the phrase is. A rule is in place to prevent this happening, all the bowler can do is ask the batsman not to back up too far, this seems to work, never had any problems with it

  • Comment number 9.

    As far as I know, the bowler cannot run out the non striker once he has put his back foot down in his delivery stride. Before then, he his free under the laws to try and run out the batter; there is no actual requirement to give a warning though this has become the convention. Different leagues and competions will have their own rules.
    This did happen in an England v NZ test match once - Botham was moaning about it because the Kiwi bowler gave no warning - though he did say it was fair enough to try if the non striker was taking the micky.

  • Comment number 10.

    bill i am a huge fan but have only recently got internet access, is there anyway to view the previous blogs, other than the previous weeks blog?
    Also, we all know that Gilchrist has scored the most 6s in test cricket in his career, , i was wondering who the bowler to concede the most 6s in test cricket is?

    thanks and keep up the great work,

  • Comment number 11.

    In a recent limited-overs Sunday friendly match I played in, our third-change bowler was forced to abort an over after two deliveries having sustained an injury. A team-mate who had not previously bowled in the match completed the over, but had it been an international or domestic cup tie, would a bowler who had already completed his allocation of overs been allowed to complete his injured team-mate's over?

    Mike, Cheshire

  • Comment number 12.

    This is my first blog and off course I have a question or should I say two questions,
    1-Who has hit the most centuries before lunch?
    2-Has anyone ever hity a century before lunch and then another between lunch resuming and before tea, and then after tea resumes before the end of play?
    Thx in advance

  • Comment number 13.

    #11 - If a bowler is either injured, or suspended by the umpires mid-over, and the over has to be completed by another bowler, this then counts as a full over for BOTH bowler's allocations, and the fielding side then ahs to use (at least) 6 bowlers to complete the innings.

  • Comment number 14.

    A rather unusual incident occurred whilst playing a league game a few Sundays ago. we were playing on a little village green in bennenden with very short straight boundaries and our fast bowler was on. On one occasion he bowled a ball with a bit of extra pace and it flew past the batsman and burst through the keeper's gloves, hitting him on the head and going for six byes! I was wondering if there is any other instance of six byes being given in first class cricket or any other form of cricket you have records for.

    Dan, kent

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Bill,

    Dont know why, but I was looking at Mark Ramprakash's profile, and saw that in his first match for England against the West Indies back in 1991, he made 27 in the first innings and had made 27 again in the second.
    Also, his test average now is 27 (Dont think there is another chance he would play again)
    Like him, is there any test/odi players who have made a certian amount of runs in thier first innings, which ended up to be thier average at the end of thier careers?

    Keep up the good stuff!

  • Comment number 16.

    #14 - 6 byes cannot be awarded without overthrows, and the umpire was wrong to signal 6 byes, if indeed he did.

    A boundary 6 can only be scored when the ball has been struck by the bat.

  • Comment number 17.

    Presumably opening batters have lower batting averages than those batting slightly down the order because they have to face the new ball and fresh bowlers. What is the batting average of batters number 1,2,3...11?
    Adam, New York

  • Comment number 18.

    Apologies for the long windedness, but this just happened the other day in a game and I'm interested if people can clear up some questions about it:

    As the batsmen completed their second run a throw was fired at the stumps and went to the boundary.

    a) Am I correct that 6 runs are scored?

    b) What should the umpire signal? Does he just signal a four to confirm that the ball crossed the boundary (and assume the scorer knows his own job well enough to add on the two runs) or should he signal 6 to indicate the full number of runs scored?

    c) How does the scorer record in the book that this was NOT a boundary for the batsmen? I.E. This would not be counted in the 4's and 6's column yet in the book a 6 is written so it might appear to be a mistake. Does the scorer have a special mark he makes to indicate the 6 was a result of overthrows?

    d) What if the runners had only completed one run when the throw was fired in, and in the time it took the overthrown ball to reach the boundary they crossed for the second run?
    My understanding was that they get the second run plus the four based on their position at the moment the ball crosses the boundary. However, law 19 states that they receive the four runs "...together with the run in progress if they have crossed AT THE INSTANT of the throw or act."
    So if the throw was made from one boundary before the runners had crossed for their second run, and crossed the boundary on the other side of the field after the runners had crossed for their third run, they just get 4 + 1, rather than 4 + 3?

  • Comment number 19.


    My Notts side game with Durham was abandoned without a ball bowled, and was wondering if there has ever been a Test match abandoned ( due to weather ), and what is the longest run of ODI abandonments involving a side?

  • Comment number 20.

    #18 - the umpire would signal a boundary 4, and verbally confirm to the scorers how many runs should be awarded. He also needs to make sure that the batsmen return to the correct ends.

    The total runs scored are based on the number of runs the batsmen have completed at the time of the throw, plus the run in progress if they've crossed. In the same way that you don't get extra runs when the ball's on the way to the boundary when it's been hit, you don't get extra runs if you run after an overthrow if the ball reacches the boundary.

    There's no requirement on the scorer to make any additional notation, but most scorebooks nowadays have a section for notes, and this would be ideal for that.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hello Bill

    Mark Ramprakash has just scored 490 runs across consecutive innings in multiple matches before losing his wicket.

    Who and what are the records for this in tests and 1st class cricket?

    Is over 500 commonplace or as exceptional as I'd imagine?


  • Comment number 22.

    Hello there, Grand High Bearders!

    In my village game on this weekend past, one of our players caught and bowled an opposition batsman in the first innings. In the second innings he returned the favour and offered up a simple return catch to the same opposition player who had come on as first change.
    I wonder if it has ever happened in a Test or ODI that a pair of players has caught and bowled one another in the same match?


  • Comment number 23.

    Re 22.

    There are 13 pairs of test players who have caught-and-bowled each other at some time in their careers but only one instance of it occurring in the same match. That was at Bulawayo in 2000-01 where the players involved were AM Blignaut (Z) and Manural Islam (B),
    There are five other instances of it occurring in the same series but not the same match::
    MA Noble (A) - JT Hearne (E), 1897-98 in A
    FS Jackson (E) - H Trumble (A), 1902 in E
    EJ Barlow (SA) - GD McKenzie (A), 1966-67 in SA
    CEL Ambrose (WI) - ARC Fraser (E), 1997-98 in WI
    AF Giles (E) - DJ Bravo (WI), 2004 in E.

    In ODIs there is also a unique instance of the feat occurring in the same match - the 5th match of the 2006 series between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, the players involved being P Utseya and Rajin Saleh respectively. In the 1985-86 World Series in Australia there was another instance featuring DR Gilbert (A) and JG Bracewell (NZ) but not in the same match.

    In Twenty20 only one player - Mohammad Hafeez (P) - has been both a victim and the executioner in a caught-and-bowled but that was with different players.

  • Comment number 24.

    1. LordLarge - not sure. Maybe because the countries that make up the WI team are all independent whereas Bermuda is a British colony?

    5. NMSPL - yes, 229 is now the lowest score never made in a Test. I *think* 155 is the ODI record, not absolutely certain of that.

    12. westcotoby - no-one has ever scored a century before lunch in a Test more than once, or scored a century in each session of the day (only one, Don Bradman, has scored more than 300 in a day's play, and he didn't make a century in the last session). It's been done at least once in first-class cricket, by Neil Fairbrother in the course of his 366 for Lancashire vs Surrey at the Oval in 1990 - possibly on other occasions, I don't have a complete list.

    19. Mondraker - yes, there have been numerous Test matches abandoned without a ball being bowled, mostly due to the weather but sometimes for political or security reasons (Guyana's refusal to grant a visa to Robin Jackman, the assassination of Indira Gandhi, civil unrest in Sri Lanka, a bomb in Karachi).

  • Comment number 25.

    Dear Bill,

    My question regards wicket keepers opening the batting, as seems to be the current trend.

    Statistically, is this tactic generally successful at One Day level, as it does not appear to be so for England.

    Also, has anyone consistently opened and kept wicket in tests?

  • Comment number 26.

    Not strictly speaking a Cricket question but . . .

    I note that the Archery at the London Olympics in 2012 is due to be held at Lord's, and I know that The Oval hosted some early FA Cup finals (before the original Wembley Stadium was built), but have these two Cricket grounds been used for any other Sports over the years?

  • Comment number 27.

    Re 26. The Oval has also hosted rugby union and Aussie Rules matches. Lords has also hosted baseball. According to wikipedia it has also hosted bowls, tennis and archery along with other sports, and it also has a real tennis court on site.

  • Comment number 28.

    Dear Bill, can you tell me if there is any way of discovering whether a player has made a golden duck or a diamond duck (out first ball without facing)?

    I am not sure if this information is recorded in the scorebook.

    Chris Bangay

  • Comment number 29.

    #28 - All scorers at the professional level, and most good scorers at club level will record the number of balls that a batsman faces in his innings, whether that's 0, 1, or many more.

    The only (relatively) common ways of being out without having faced a ball are either being run out, or stumped off a wide.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Bill, i wonder if you could solve this one for me? Me and my mate was discussing Englands fast bowlers down the pub. He seems to think Craig White has bowled the fastest recorded delivery in an england shirt? Please could you tell me if this is true or not?

    Many thanks,

    Danny Collinson

  • Comment number 31.

    Quick question,

    Should a ball be bowled and it hits the batsman (say on the gloves or on the helmet), bounces behind the stumps and spins back into the stumps, dislodgin the bails, is this classed as the batsman being bowled?

  • Comment number 32.

    Dear Bearders,

    Could you please tell me the difference between a medium-fast bowler and a fast-medium bowler? Which is faster, and at what speed is each bowler generally considered to bowl at?

    I have been assured that medium-fast is quicker by some, whilst just as many others assure me that in fact fast-medium is a speedier delivery. Can you provide a definitive answer on the matter once and for all?

    Ben, Kent

  • Comment number 33.

    Someone once told me that having got it up to approx 100 Bradman's average fluctuated very little during his test career. Is this true? What was the range? And are there any other notable examples of batsmen who had a "true" average rather than a simple mathematical one.

    Have any top batsmen once established had a really volatile average?

  • Comment number 34.

    William Quaife played first class cricket for 35 years and scored 1000 runs in a season 25 times. How many players can beat these two stats?

  • Comment number 35.

    question 10 - Paradino2

    well i'm sure you've figured this out by now but you can either:

    a)click the see "last column" for each blog, taking you back one at a time


    b)click this link to all the blogs since 2007

    (actually there is a 3rd, trickier, way; do you see the URL in your browser? for this blog it is
    change the 176 to 175, for instance, you will find you need to change the 08 and the 2008 depending on the date the blog was started,
    for example)

  • Comment number 36.

    oh and i forgot,

    if you want pre-2007 answers they are all here, going back years,

  • Comment number 37.

    question 34 - Sir Ian Blog

    the length of 1st class career

    B Close played from 1949 to 1986, which is 37 seasons

    Hirst from 1891 to 1929, or 38 seasons

    but the winner by far is WG Grace, he started playing 1st class cricket in 1865 and finished in 1908, or 43 seasons

    also in twenty-six different seasons he scored over 1,000 runs, in three of these years being the only man to do so, and five times being one of only two

  • Comment number 38.


    Is there any reason why Bermudans should play for the West Indies?

    It's 1000 miles from the nearest Carribean cricketing island (Anguilla). It's closer to Canada

  • Comment number 39.

    Hampshire dismally lost 5 wickets without adding to their score of 65 against Durham. If this is not equal to some kind of unwanted record on their part, which other teams have lost more wickets without scoring in first class or international cricket?

  • Comment number 40.

    Which player has dismissed a sibling most times in first class cricket?

    My first thought was the Martin Bicknell. However, due to two divisions (and Darren moving to Notts later that I thought), he didn't play against his brother that much. He did dismiss him three times in the four games they played against each other.

    He did like getting him out - he also got him twice in the 3 list A games in which they opposed each other.

    Phil Britton (Wilts)

  • Comment number 41.

    Not surprising to see that southern counties have nearly twice as many England captains per county championship won as northern counties.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Bearders,

    I remember seeing Gilchrist hitting a six off the first ball of an innings in an ODI.

    Has this ever happened in a test?
    If so has it happened off the first ball of the test?

    Along those lines, has a player ever hit a six or four off his first ball of his debut?

    Sam P

  • Comment number 43.

    question 39 - Wondercloak

    MCC were 0 (runs) for 7 (wkts) against Surrey in the 1872 match, before going on to make 16 all out

    i'm not sure if more than 7 wkts have fallen for no runs but at the start of an innings this is the worst

  • Comment number 44.

    question 42 - Safe 69

    a partial answer, to your DEBUT 6 question,

    this is culled from a May 2007 CricInfo column

    ...we don't have ball-by-ball details for many early Tests. As far as [it] can [be] establish[ed], no one has ever hit the very first ball of their Test career for a six, although there are at least three people whose first scoring shot in Tests did sail over the ropes:
    Australia's Eric Freeman, against India at Brisbane in 1967-68;
    Carlisle Best, for West Indies against England at Kingston in 1985-86 (that was off his third ball, from Ian Botham);
    and Zimbabwe's Keith Dabengwa, against New Zealand at Bulawayo in August 2005 (off Daniel Vettori, after 15 balls on 0).

  • Comment number 45.

    Hi Bill,

    I was interested to see Sydney is England's most successful overseas ground in terms of Tests won - presumably this is due to it being the overseas ground England have played most tests at. Is it possible to work out which is England's most successful overseas ground in terms of wins to matches played? This surely would be a truer measure of overseas success.

  • Comment number 46.

    As a followup to the question on debutants what is the highest number of debutants from one side in a Test and all debutants from both sides other than for the first match of a team.

    Ajay Baluja, Canada

  • Comment number 47.

    In a recent match that I played one of our batsmen was given out bowled by a looping delivery that passed him at chest height but then dipped to hit his stumps. The batsman stood still for a while, assuming that it would be called as a no-ball, but no such call was made. Is this correct?

    Jon, Leeds

  • Comment number 48.

    question 47 - J Dunster

    the call of no-ball for a ball that passes above the waist it totally dependent on the umpire's idea of the speed of the delivery, if the umpire thinks it was a "slow" delivery then it would be fair

    ....the problem here being "slow", in tests Warne for example bowled leggies at speeds in excess of 55 mph, but the umpire would have deemed this to be "slow", whereas in village cricket 55mph is not "slow"

    i would imagine that any delivery that passed the crease at chest height and then "looped", in your words, onto the stumps would be classified as "slow". Notice "at the crease" (although this brings in the problem of the waist height of extremely small or large batsmen) i assume that the law has been worded to be amiguous from the point of view of "slow" to allow the umpire's discretion, but has been framed so that a fast ball (at waist height) would indeed pass over the stumps, meaning that any ball that actually hits the stumps after passing the crease above waist height must be a "slow" one

    so you can decide yourself, or not, here is the relevant section of law 42 part 6

    b.Bowling of high full pitched balls
    (i) Any delivery, other than a slow paced one, which passes or would have passed on the full above waist height of the striker standing upright at the crease is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker.
    (ii) A slow delivery which passes or would have passed on the full above shoulder height of the striker standing upright at the crease is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker.

  • Comment number 49.

    Looking through the batting averages for this seasons county Championship I noticed Ben Smith of Worcestershire was up to about 950 runs this season yet he has failed to notch up a century (9 fifties this season only).

    So my question is, Is it a normal occurance for a batsman to reach 1000 runs in a season without registering a ton along the way.

    Hope to hear your answer to this, thanks.

  • Comment number 50.

    Looking through the batting averages for this seasons county Championship I noticed Ben Smith of Worcestershire was up to about 950 runs this season yet he has failed to notch up a century (9 fifties this season only).

    So my question is, Is it a normal occurance for a batsman to reach 1000 runs in a season without registering a ton along the way.

    Hope to hear your answer to this, thanks.

    Dean, Leeds

  • Comment number 51.


    This may well have been asked before, but is there any record of which bowlers have taken the highest number of top 6 batsmen's wickets in tests?

    Thank you from Japan.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hey bearders, long time reader, never asked a question. So heres mine; Alex Stewart has done everything as an international. Wicketkept, bowled, opened the batting and captained. Is he unique in this regard?

  • Comment number 53.

    question 52 - Ben Is Right

    no he isn't (and worse is to come)

    both Imitiaz Ahmed (1952-62) and Wasim Bari (1967-84) did all, open, keep, captain and bowl in their test careers for PAK

    however, both the above bowled when they started the test as 'keeper, something Stewart never did

    also Stewart never took a wkt as a bowler, and while there has never been a keeper who opened and captained and took a wkt there have been 2 who took wkts and did 1 of the other 2

    Taibu (ZIM) kept and took a wkt in his as yet unfinished test career, and also was national captain several times

    Lyttelton (ENG) took 4 wkts, kept and opened the batting, all in the same match

    (there may be others who have bowled in matches when they didn't keep, like Stewart, but i can't easily search for them, sorry)

  • Comment number 54.

    Regarding No6, isn't that a "Mankad", named after the Indian gentleman who was roasted by the Aussie press after he ran Bill Brown out without warning (not for the first time) in a Test Match (Australia v India) just after the war. The only question is whether Don Bradman was playing. It is perfectly legal, and it is odd that it is regarded as dashed poor form when surely trying to steal a march in such a manner is cheating.

  • Comment number 55.


    I have been told that there is only one player in english first class cricket who has opened both the bowling and the batting on their debut. Firstly, is this correct? And if so, who is it!?


    Andy, Oxford

  • Comment number 56.

    Re 52

    At county level there are lots of players who have done all these things. But the Notts side of the 70s and 80s must have been unusual as it had two players who did it at the same time. I'm sure I watched both Pasty Harris and Basher Hassan keep, captain, open and bowl with the other one in the same side. They both had other strings to their bows too. MJ Harris has been an excellent umpire while Basher was in my opinion the best outfielder at Notts at the time (runner up DW Randall)

  • Comment number 57.

    Dear Bill,

    I've just spotted the ongoing SAF A vs SL A match saw all of SL's first 7 score fifty or more as part of 749/5 declared. What is the record for most players scoring 50+ in a single innings, and is this a record for most consecutive players registrer the half ton?



    UK via Brisbane

  • Comment number 58.

    question 57 - Alex Coe

    in his 2006 column ( ) the bearded one states:

    "The record [in first class cricket] is eight (three hundreds and five fifties) by the 1893 Australians against Oxford and Cambridge Past and Present at Portsmouth...
    ...Prior to Sri Lanka's epic second innings at Lord's [in May 2006] there had been two previous instances of seven fifties in a Test innings: England (627-9 dec) v Australia at Manchester in 1934 and Pakistan (599-7 dec) v India at Karachi in January/February 2006."

    the last actually contains 7 consecutive 50's or 100's (in fact all the "out" batsmen in this innings), scored in just 599, which i assume is harder than in 749 (which also wasn't a test)

  • Comment number 59.

    Re 42. David Gower hooked his first ball in Test cricket for four.

  • Comment number 60.

    Okay - not very likely but how would I score the following:

    Fast bowler bowls a high no ball.

    Wicketkeeper misses the ball, which hits his helmet (on the ground behind him) "on the full"

    Ball richochets off, going over the boundary, also "on the full"

    1 run "no ball" + 5 penalty runs?
    1 run "no ball" + 5 penalty runs + 6 "no balls?

  • Comment number 61.

    #60 - the ball is dead as soon as it hits the helmet, so 1 no-ball is scored, together with 5 penalty runs. Only the 1 no-ball counts against the bowler.

  • Comment number 62.

    Do many people know that WG Grace won a gold medal in the Olympics ...or the equivalent?
    1866 National Olympic Games held in London (United Kingdom) and first modern
    Olympic Games to be held outside of Greece that actually looks like an
    Olympic Games. Dr William Penny Brookes was the President of the Olympic
    organizing committee. Athletics events took place inside the original
    Crystal Palace (no stadium yet and no Greek competitors, but the Crystal
    Palace was used as an indoor sports arena, and although not purposely built
    for the Games, it was the first indoor arena used for an Olympic Games). The
    programme of events started to look very much like the events in a modern
    Olympic Games. W.G. Grace, at the age of only 18, won the 440 yard hurdles
    at these Games, before he became a famous cricketer.

  • Comment number 63.

    question(?)62 - A Load of Pollocks

    yes, and he was captain of the English Lawn Bowls team in 1903, as well as being the 1st president of the English Bowling Association...but what was your question? (or all that was in answer to what?)

  • Comment number 64.

    oh and by the way, he was hardly an unknown cricketer at the age of 18, in fact a few days BEFORE he won the 440 yards hurdles he had scored 224 not out for ENG vs SURREY (although not famous)

  • Comment number 65.

    Hi Bill,

    Could you explain please how the number of overs each bowler can bowl is afeected by rain interruptions in limited over matches. For example if a 50 over match starts on time and is then interrupted and reduced to 45 overs a side is the maximum a bowler can bowl reduced to 9? Is the answer changed if one bowler has already bowled 10?

    Would the second innings start at 9 overs per bowler? Again would the answer be changed if any of the first team had bowled 10?

    Charlie in Essex

  • Comment number 66.

    What does "four nil" do to England's standings?

    We've been told that "five nil" would get England to number 2 in the one-day league. Today's fixture made two final scores possible: "five nil" and "four-one". But as the day's cricket recedes in probability, we have to live with the possibility of no play, and a score line of "four nil."

    How is the league standing calculated?


  • Comment number 67.

    I seem to remember from the (about) 1976 Observer Book of Cricket that the record distance for a bail to fly having been hit by a bowled ball is 65 yds and 4 inches. Can anyone confirm this? or give me the new record?


  • Comment number 68.

    Hi Bill,

    I'd like to start by congratulating England Women on their excellent year so far. 12 consecutive wins (when not rained off) against New Zealand, the West Indies, South Africa and India, two of them by 10 wickets and one by 225 runs. Additionally, Sarah Taylor has captured three international records: youngest player to reach 1,000 runs, highest score by a wicket keeper and, with Caroline Atkins, highest partnership.

    Therefore, it surprises me to read several recent news articles that say England Women are ranked 4th in the world, and India 2nd. Is this correct? I suspect the press may be misquoting seedings for the world cup made last year as current rankings. Do official ICC women's rankings actually exist? I can't find them published anywhere online.

    The only women's rankings I've found are an unofficial set maintained by Shane Booth, which rate England as the number one side:

    Also, in the 2nd game of the series, Indian opener Jaya Sharma hit a 32-ball duck. I've read Runako Morton hit a men's ODI record 31-ball duck for the West Indies against Australia in 2006. Is there a longer duck recorded in any form of limited overs cricket?

  • Comment number 69.

    Hi Bill,
    Most summaries of career batting averages apply a filter of a certain number innings to qualify, and of these Bradman's 95.14 is a clear leader. Presumably, though, there must be a few people who have, through short but successful careers, finished with first class career averages even higher. Is a table of such unfiltered career averages available? What is the highest first class career batting average of all time?

    Keep up the good work, and best wishes,

    Mike Hobbiss

  • Comment number 70.

    Dear Bill,

    Having out played South Africa in the ODI series England were cruelly denied a 5-0 series victory and second place in the ODI rankings by the rain. Despite the fact that cricket was played.

    Could not the Duckworth Lewis method be adapted: (a) to recognise that 6-1 off 3 overs is a well-below-par score; (b) that recent form suggested an England victory; and (c) that respected institutions such as Ladbrokes and William Hill were predicting an England win.

    Assuming that the Duckworth Lewis can be amended accordingly, can you suggest the best means by which we can get the ICC to recognise the England win. Do we have to wait two years or can it be done earlier?

    For a full debate on this issue please check out the following article and discussion thread.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hi Bill,

    Earlier this summer I was at Edgbaston for a Pro40 match between Warwickshire and Northamptonshire. Warwickshire narrowly won in the end with Northants needing 18 from the last over, and 6 from the last ball (if my memory is right). I was wondering what the highest final over successful run chase has been? Has there ever been a successful "six-sixes"?

    In the same game, Warwickshire dropped three fairly simple catches in the penultimate over. Do scorers keep records of dropped catches? Or would it be too subjective to decide what has been "dropped" and what was never a possible catch in the first place? If they are recorded, what is the record in an over?


  • Comment number 72.

    Re 69. That's problematic, as presumably there may be a player out there who never got dismissed, hence their average would be infinity...I can say that AG Ganteaume averaged 112 in Tests though which beats the Don.

  • Comment number 73.

    What are Geoffrey Boycott's fastest innings in test and one-day cricket? How many sixes did he hit in his international career? Was there an innings in either form when he hit more than 2 sixes?

    Prashant from New York

  • Comment number 74.

    question 73 - PBHA Walker

    a partial answer only

    Boycott never scored any sixes in ODIs and 8 in his 108 Tests, of these 8 he scored 4 in 1973, 2 in the 1st innings vs NZ at Lords and 1 in the 2nd, together with a 4th at the oval vs WI (he also hit 2 in 1971 and one each in '66 and '67)

    so he never hit more than 2 in an innings, and this only once, but did hit 3 in match

    question 69 - Hobbo 69

    there are 60 players with an infinite average, having never been out in tests

    the one with the highest score is Stuart Law, who scored 54 Not Out for Aus vs SL in 1995 in his only test innings, giving him an infinite average

    T Yohannan played in 3 matches, batting in 4 innings for his total of 13, never being out, Adrian Gover played in 4 matches but only batted one innings for his 2 not out, several others have played in two matches batting 4 times

    20 players have played tests and never batted (is this better than an infinite average?) including CF Root who in 1926 played 3 times for ENG never batting

    question 67 - Jusara

    according to Wisden the record (in 1925) was 83 yards 1 foot 9 inches, from a letter to the editor

    [in a match between] "New Town and North West Hobart on Nov. 1925 AO Burrows of New Town bowled one of his opponents with a ball that sent the bail 83yds 1ft 9in. The statement is vouched for by no fewer than half a dozen different men...among the being Joe Darling...who captained AUS... Previously the record was 70 and a half yards by AF Morcom for Beds against Suffolk in 1908"

  • Comment number 75.

    Is it possible to get complete lists of all those players registered to play county cricket in 1990 and 2008 to be used as part of my dissertation on Kolpaks?

  • Comment number 76.

    71 - chasing 36 off the last over has never been achieved in professional one-day cricket.

    Dropped catches have never been an 'official' statistic, but many scorers keep a note of them in the margins, or notes section of scorebooks. I believe that dropped catches have also been part of some betting schemes, with a drop counting if the fielder touched the ball on the full.

    75 - Bill's Playfair Cricket Annuals are probably your best source for full lists of players registered in the years concerned.

  • Comment number 77.

    The recent County Championship game at Blackpool between Lancashire and Surrey was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Has a test match ever been abandoned without any play at all?

  • Comment number 78.

    If a batsman retires hurt, if the batting side then loses their 9th wicket on the last scheduled ball of the match (in a "first-class" type game where a draw is a possibility) do they lose or draw ? Does it depend if the retired hurt batsman is padded up ready to return, as opposed to say in hospital injured ? We had this scenario in a recent league match in which I was playing, although in the end the 9th wicket fell before the last ball.

  • Comment number 79.

    question 77 - parcher9

    there have been 7 tests abandoned without a single ball being bowled:

    ENG vs AUS Old Trafford 25 Aug 1890
    ENG vs AUS Old Trafford 8 Jul 1938
    AUS vs ENG Melbourne 31 Dec 1970
    NZ vs PAK Dunedin 3 Feb 1989
    WI vs ENG Guyana 10 Mar 1990
    PAK vs ZIM Faisalabad 17 Dec 1998
    NZ vs IND Dunedin 18 Dec 1998

  • Comment number 80.

    78 - this question's been answered before.

    If the 9th wicket falls on the last scheduled ball, the result of the match is a draw, regardeless of whether the last man is on the ground, in hospital, or as tragically ahppened once in a match in India, dead

  • Comment number 81.

    Whilst watching the Ashes 2005 DVDs recently, I saw Andrew Flintoff hit a 6 out of the ground.
    It made me wonder what happens in the event of this - when I presume the exact ball is not found. As I presume that a new ball is not given to the bowler as this would put the batting side at a disadvantage.

    Thank you!

    Craig, Huddersfield

  • Comment number 82.

    question 81 - Craig Addy

    before the start of play the umpires have boxes of balls of various "ages", 10, 20, 30 etc, overs, should a ball go missing, or need replacement, the closest looking one to the original is used

    this is why the umpires inspect the ball regularly, every two overs or so, and certainly after every wkt falls, so they know the "state" of the old ball if it should need replacing

    in amateur cricket the ball should be given to the bowling end umpire at least on the fall of every wkt, for this very reason (obviously in most cases a selection of "aged" balls is not available, but the closest looking "net" ball should be used)

  • Comment number 83.

    i should say all of this is actually in the laws, see LAW 5 - THE BALL, or click here,31,AR.html

  • Comment number 84.

    Dear Bill

    I was wondering if you could help me track down some information on a fellow cricket statistics super-brain. He goes by the name "PortIan" and seems to know more about cricket than anyone I've ever met in my life. Do you know anything about his cricketing pedigree? Is he an ex-professional, or just a keen amateur? Do you have any details on his batting / bowling average?

    I tried searching for him on wikipedia, but it just came up with an article about Armenian surnames, and I'm sure there are no famous Armenian cricketers.


    ps PortoIan, (without wanting to sound too much of a brown nose), please do ignore the comments from the moaners who keep asking you to leave the answers to Bill - as you rightly say, Bill can't possibly answer all the questions on here, and if you stopped, I wouldn't be able to continue making it sound like I know what I'm talking about to my mates by using your answers.

  • Comment number 85.

    Hi Bill,

    I recently took a hatrick and i managed to bowl all three batsmen.

    I was wondering if any first class cricketers have took a hatrick by bowling all three batsmen???


  • Comment number 86.

    Hi Bill

    Could you please tell me who is featured on the most honour boards? If they have scored 5 centuries at one ground i would like that to count as 1
    I think that it might be beefy or hadlee

    Colin Derbyshire

  • Comment number 87.

    Who are the ten best paid players of professional cricket around the world?
    If there is any record of that?
    Or those ten who have earned more than others.

  • Comment number 88.

    As Sachin Tendelukar is near to beat Brian Lara´s test runs record(it took him 18 yrs.I think);
    Do you think anyone else be able to make that record in near future, keeping in mind,more of 20-20, ODI and less of test matches being played now a days,

    Pran from Sweden

  • Comment number 89.

    Dear Bearders

    You will be aware that Lancashire beat Kent at Liverpool in the County Championship after scoring only 107 in their first innings.
    Do you know the lowest first innings score of a winning side in County cricket and test cricket?

    Many thanks

    Andrew Lancashire

  • Comment number 90.

    question 89 - Meat and Potato Pie

    the test record is 45 when ENG batted first vs AUS in 1887, they went on to win by 13 runs

    there are 5 tests when the side batting first scored less than 100 and then won

    by the way a new blog, number 177, has already started


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