More on long names in cricket

You would have heard of this Sri Lankan player with 6 initials:

UWMBCA Welegedera:

and his compatriots with 5 initials:

HMRKB Herath

MKGCP Lakshita


In fact, two or more of them have played together in Tests and ODIs several times.

Other countries have not been able to come up with anyone with more than 4 initials. You may think they are mainly from India, but the 4-initial group includes representatives from the West Indies (SFAF Bacchus, EDAS McMorris), England (JWHT* Douglas), India (GAHM Parkar), South Africa (NHCD Theunissen) and Australia (HSTL Hendry) besides a long list of Sri Lankans. Pakistan has a few hyphenated triples such as Misbah-ul-Haq while Bangladesh has an one-word name (Mahmudullah).

*  “Johnny Won’t Hit Today”

But they all pale into insignificance before this first-class cricketer with 10 initials:

As he is apparently referred to as Rajitha Amunuguna, Indians may think this is a female name.

Here is the scorecard of his last first-class match:

in which his opposing team included WADAP Perera and MMDNRG Perera.

Meanwhile, there is competition from Fiji:

IL Bula, who is apparently still living, has the longest surname among any recognized first-class cricketer. He did score two centuries.

You can count the number of letters in his surname, but they are clearly far more than the Test record-holder Sivaramakrishnan (16 letters) and his hyphenated friend Bromley-Davenport. With 15 letters we have Kuruppuarachchi, Venkataraghavan and Wijegunawardene. At the other end of the scale there are a few Alis beside Gay, Law and Su’a.


Onwards to the T20 Cricket World Championship

With the qualifying tournament over (uniquely with both the finals and the third-place match washed out) we know which teams will participate in the  T20 World Championship (NOT World Cup) to be held in India in March/April 2016. The 10 Test nations will be joined by Scotland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Oman.

As in 2014, the first round will be played by 8 teams (Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the 6 qualifiers) and the two top teams will join the other 8. There are two groups of 5, and the top 4 teams qualify for the semi-finals.

The winners of the first round need not be taken for granted; in 2014 Zimbabwe did not qualify but the Netherlands did.

A point of interest was this player:

He does not play for the Netherlands as one would expect. His team does not have official T20 status so his matches do not qualify as T20Is. However, he would be the only international cricketer with quadruple repeated initials. He does have a counterpart from first-class cricket:

While in Test cricket there are triple repeated initials in

WW Wade:

WW Whysall:


HHH Johnson:

The last player seems to have been unfortunate in playing only three Tests after taking ten wickets on his debut.


The forgotten electric locomotives of Pakistan

The railways of Pakistan have been going through a decline in the last few years for a variety of reasons, mainly government apathy and the lack of funds for modernization. One result of this has been the abandoning of whatever little electrified track it had.

By 1966, the 290-km route between Lahore and Khanewal had been electrified on 25 KVAC. 29 locomotives of 3000 hp rating were acquired from what was then known as British Rail Traction (including the conglomerate AEI and English Electric). These were classified as BCU30E and were numbered 7001-29. Here is one which is currently lodged at the museum at Golra Sharif (north of Rawalpindi):

And one of the few which were still running in 1996:

In the initial years it was planned to extend electrification towards Rawalpindi and Peshawar but the presence of a few tunnels caused second thoughts. Another place where electrification would have been useful was the Bolan Pass route up to Quetta with its 1:25 gradient, the steepest main line in South Asia. Power shortages put an end to any further plans for electrification.

By the 2000s the traction lines on only one of the two  tracks were functioning. By 2009 the locos were showing their age and had been taken off passenger duties. The few which were functional were used on short goods trains. Here you can see one of these at Sahiwal (formerly Montgomery); one of the few videos of these locos available on the net.

By 2011, it was decided to stop electric services:

But even in 2013 the media felt that extending electrification would be a good idea even with the limited locos and infrastructure. The theft of overhead wire was cited as one reason for abandoning electrification. On the other hand India and numerous other countries are extending electrification, which is well known to the media there. As in India, there is alleged to be a diesel lobby plotting against electrification.

This TV report (in Urdu) is critical of the government’s decision, and also shows the railway worker’s reactions.

But it looks as if it will be a long time (if ever) when we can see electric locos running in Pakistan.

Reference: a good general description of most locos presently seen in Pakistan can be seen here:

Best performances in cricketing defeats-2

We now take a quick look at Test career figures of the best performances in defeats:

Batting: Highest averages with a minimum of 10 innings:


The top 3 places go to England regulars who played in Ashes series when Australia was generally stronger, though Bradman makes an entry lower down. And Hazare did better than later Indian greats. Current players here include DA Warner, AD Mathews and S Chanderpaul. The highest average from the recent past is that of A Flower closely followed by BC Lara.

Bowling: Best averages with a minimum of 10 innings bowled:


Mostly from the olden days, while McGrath and Akram are the only ones to have played in this century. The best economy and strike rates also seem to be from the distant past.

Wicket-keeping and fielding: minimum of 10 innings fielded:


Here we do have some of the moderns like Gilchrist and the much-maligned Kamran Akmal near the top. No non-keepers appear above, so we create a separate list for them:

Non-keepers: minimum of 10 innings fielded:


The person at the top of the list is a real surprise, while famous catchers like ED Solkar also appear.

Finally we look at all-round performance.

As usual, some tweaking is needed to consider “true” all-rounders. The criteria are given below-10 innings batted and bowled, batting average above 15, bowling average below 45 and at least two fifties and two four-fors in the matches in question:


Here there is an interesting mix of new and old, with the all-time greats such as Pollock, Kapil, Imran and RJ Hadlee in the middle although the lesser-known GA Faulkner and CL Cairns are at the top. We are also reminded that Gayle is a bowler of some ability.

Best performances in cricketing defeats-1

Every now and then when England does badly in an Ashes series we hear this wartime quote from Churchill:

In Defeat: Defiance,

So this seems to be a good time to look at team and individual performances in defeats. As we will see, scoring 500-plus or centuries in both innings may not be enough to save you or your team from defeat.

Here we consider all tests up to and including the one just concluded at Lord’s (and not the Aus vs ICC XI match of 2005).

Highest team totals (above 500):


Only one in the 3rd innings and none in the 4th.

Highest Individual innings (200 and above):


Here there is one in the 4th innings and none in the 3rd.

Now we consider 225 or more in the match.


This even includes a double and single century in the match.

Coming back to team performances, here we look at good bowling performances which still resulted in defeat.

Losing after bowling out the opposition for 100 or less:


Looking at individual performances, first in match bowling figures:

Best match bowling (12 wickets or more)


This is headed by a prominent Indian bowler who broke a 97-year old record. Also note the strange coincidences in the India vs Australia Tests of 1959 and 1979. All tests at this venue in the intervening 20 years had been drawn, giving it the reputation of the world’s dullest Test pitch. In each case, Australia lost after taking a first-innings lead. What was even stranger was that in each case an Australian left-arm pace bowler (Davidson, then Dymock) took 12 wickets. And Krejza was making his debut.

Now for innings bowling:

Best innings bowling (8 wickets or more):


This list is again headed by a prominent Indian bowler. The unfortunate JJ Krejza again figures here. He and the better-known AL Valentine were making their debuts. Valentine and his little pal Ramadhin both made their debuts here and recovered well enough to win the remaining three tests of the series. To refresh your memories:

Now to wicket-keeping and fielding:

8 or more dismissals in a match:


WAS Oldfield and Wasim Bari share the stumping record of 4, while six fielders have taken 6 catches. This includes a current player AN Cook.

6 or more dismissals in an innings:


Jacobs stands tall as he often did in the disintegrating West Indies team. The most stumpings is 4 by WAS Oldfield (who else?) and the most catches by a fielder is 5 by K Srikkanth (a world record he shares with several others).

Finally, all-round performance (a century and 5 wickets in an innings):


A rather short list which includes 2 Indian players.

In the next installment we will look at career figures in defeats.

Colonel Bogey and his successors

Most adults in Commonwealth countries have heard this tune, possibly through military bands which still play it. It dates back to 1914, but the words came later during World War 2. It became famous worldwide with the film “Bridge on the River Kwai” which was released in 1957, but was still making the rounds of cinemas in India in the 1970s.

Here is the “official version” by a British army band:

You are more likely to have seen this version from the film:

Although most of the film was shot in Sri Lanka, the actual bridge still stands in Thailand and is a popular tourist destination:

It is not very close to Bangkok, but many conducted tours will take you there and back in a day.

The tune became so ingrained in popular culture that: “Since the film portrayed prisoners of war held under inhumane conditions by the Japanese, there was a diplomatic row in May 1980, when a military band played “Colonel Bogey” during a visit to Canada by Japanese prime minister Masayoshi Ōhira”

As to the lyrics, Wikipedia goes into them in great detail:   Most versions had only the first four lines, though longer versions exist. Variations in the second line mention local prominent buildings such as the Albert Hall in London and the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Also, as General Rommel was one of the few German military leaders who was respected by soldiers on the other side, the second line sometimes became “Rommel has three but small”. The more obscure variations (particularly on the second verse) are here:

Indian schoolboys made up other variations such as:

Hitler, he had but one big ball,

Rommel, he had three but small,

Nehru, he went to Peru,

And poor Gandhi, he had none at all.

Cricket odds and ends-2

As the Lord’s Test proceeds to its logical conclusion, here are some more odds and ends from bowling in Test cricket. These figures do not include the current Test in progress or the Australia vs ICC XI Test of 2005.

Most wickets taken by a player who did not take 10 wickets in a match:

325   RGD Willis (BB 9-92)

308   B Lee (BB 9-171)

291  JH Kallis (BB 9-92)

Now we move to wickets taken in an innings.

Most wickets taken by a player who did not take 9 wickets in an innings:

702   SK Warne (8-71)

560   GD McGrath (8-24)

519   CA Walsh (7-37)

Most wickets taken by a player who did not take 8 wickets in an innings:

519   CA Walsh (7-37)

421   SM Pollock (7-87)

414   Wasim Akram (7-119)

Most wickets taken by a player who did not take 7 wickets in an innings:

308   B Lee (5-30)

291   JH Kallis (6-54)

259   J Garner (6-56)

Most wickets taken by a player who did not take 6 wickets in an innings:

308   B Lee (5-30)

219   A Flintoff (5-58)

151   RJ Shastri (5-75)

Most wickets taken by a player who did not take 5 wickets in an innings:

87    M Hendrick (4-28)

78    Mashraf Mortaza (4-60)

75    BM McMillan (4-65)

Most wickets taken by a player who did not take 4 wickets in an innings:

51    NJ Astle (3-27)

47    BL D’Oliveira (3-46)

46    SR Tendulkar (3-10)

Now the reverse cases:

Least wickets taken by a player who took 10 wickets in a match:

11    SF Burke

11    CS Marriott (only 1 Test)

13    HHH Johnson

13    JJ Krejza

Least wickets taken by a player who took 9 wickets in an innings:

17    JM Noreiga

29    JM Patel

99     AA Mailey

Least wickets taken by a player who took 8 wickets in an innings:

13    JJ Krejza

25    BJT Bosanquet

26    AE Trott (both for Aus and Eng)

Least wickets taken by a player who took 7 wickets in an innings:

9    M de Lange

9    T Emmett

13    KJ Abbott

Least wickets taken by a player who took 6 wickets in an innings:

7    PJ Cummins (only 1 Test)

8    GM Parker

9    WH Cooper

Least wickets taken by a player who took 5 wickets in an innings:

5 in 5 instances