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:

Later this longer clip appeared on Youtube. The dates are not clear:

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)

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:

Even in 2019, current videos on Youtube show the traction masts still in position although the overhead wires have been removed.

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

Cricket odds and ends-1

(From 2015 and not updated)

Normal service seems to have resumed at Lord’s, complete with attritional batting by England. Here are a few odds and ends from Test cricket: (These do not include the current Test at Lord’s, or the Aus v ICC XI Test in 2005).

Most runs by a player who never scored 300:

15921 by SR Tendulkar (HS 248*)

13278 by RT Ponting (HS 257)

13265 by RS Dravid (HS 270)

Most runs by a player who never scored 200:

8463 by AJ Stewart (HS 190)

8029 by ME Waugh (HS 153*)

7728 by MA Atherton (HS 185)

Most runs by a player who never scored 100:

3142 by SK Warne (HS 99)

2084 by CPS Chauhan (HS 97)

1993 by DL Murray (HS 91)

Most runs by a player who never scored 50:

1010 by Waqar Younis (HS 45)

981 by FS Trueman (HS 39*)

940 by CS McDermott (HS 42*)

Most runs by a player who never scored double figures:

45 by BJ Arnel (HS 8*)

34 by M Mbangwa (HS 8)

31 by Arshad Khan (HS 9*)

31 by GB Studd (HS 9)

Now the converse of these:

Least runs by a player who scored a triple century:

879 by A Sandham (HS 325)

2047 by LG Rowe (HS 302)

2061 by RM Cowper (HS 307)

Least runs by a player who scored a double century:

320 by DBSP Kuruppu (HS 201*)

501 by Taslim Arif (HS 210*)

503 by BJ Hodge (HS 203*)

Least runs by a player who scored a century:

112 by AG Ganteaume (HS 112)

130 by KL Rahul (HS 110)

144 by W Place (HS 107)

Least runs by a player who scored a fifty:

51 by HM McGirr (HS 51)

52 by KL Wishart (HS 52)

54 by SG Law (HS 54*)

Least runs by a player who scored double figures:

10 by several players

Performance in the first 25 Tests and ODIs

The learning curve can be quite steep in international cricket, although Bangladesh have now shown some signs of improvement since they started. Their performance in Tests is still quite dismal, and it is therefore worthwhile to compare how other countries fared in their first 25 Tests and 25 ODIs. It is often forgotten that India and New Zealand took some 20 and 25 years respectively to record their first Test wins. Here we see a tabulation of all Test-playing countries in their first 25 matches:


It can be seen that England (closely followed by Pakistan) lead the table. New Zealand, Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka had a rather unimpressive run of wins but were able to draw more consistently than Bangladesh.

Australia is the only team to win its first Test, and Zimbabwe the only one to draw its first Test. The other 8 teams all lost their first Tests.

Now let us look at the first 25 ODIs for the top 12 teams at the moment, being the 10 Test nations plus Afghanistan and Ireland. As in the case of Tests, we have removed the multinational teams. Apart from the ICC XI there are Africa XI and Asia XI to be removed.


Afghanistan and Ireland have a bit of an advantage as they played more matches against lower-ranked teams which are on the fringes of ODIs, though not good enough to dine at the high table of the main ICC rankings. As we might guess, the West Indies were the big bosses from the beginning though Afghanistan and England tie for the second place, closely followed by Australia. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh take up the bottom. Bangladesh sadly is at the bottom in both formats.

4 of these teams won their first ODI: Afghanistan, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe while the other 10 lost their first matches.

It might be instructive to see how they fared in their first 50 Tests and 50 ODIs.