When Sardar Patel walked out from a plane crash (Revised)

A little known fact about Sardar Patel: he had a little adventure when his plane force-landed near Shahpura about 65 km north of Jaipur on March 29, 1949 where he was going to attend the inauguration of the new state of Rajasthan. He and the other occupants of the  aircraft were unhurt, but his whereabouts were not known for a few hours until he reappeared in Jaipur. The other passengers included his daughter Maniben and the Maharaja of Patiala.

Today Shahpura is a small and bustling town on the Delhi-Jaipur highway.

Here is a link to the Indian Express of March 31, 1949. It can be magnified to suit the reader’s convenience:

The Indian Express – Google News Archive Search

It is not clear from these reports whether it was an aircraft of the Air Force or some other government agency, and it is wrongly mentioned to be a Dove (see the link below):

This link from veteran aviation writer PVS Jagan: http://jaganpvs.tripod.com/trivia05.htm

tells us that it was an RIAF Devon piloted by Flt Lt KG Bhimrao. Although the aircraft was written off, no one was injured.

The confusion arose because the de Havilland Dove and Devon were essentially the same aircraft, although the military version was called the Devon. Some information and pictures here:

http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/threads/historical-fighter-planes-of-india.48691/page-8

The biographical film “Sardar” (1993) with Paresh Rawal in the title role briefly shows this incident near the close of the film, though one would not expect the technical details to be accurate in a popular film like this.

The Sardar’s  colleague Jagjivan Ram had not been so fortunate. He was seriously injured in a BOAC airliner’s crash in Iran shortly before Independence in which several people were killed. So he was the only cabinet minister who was unable to attend the Independence celebrations on August 15, 1947. A brief account of the crash is here (though it does not mention his name):

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19470716-0

There are, of course, several prominent Indians in politics who have been killed in aviation accidents, ranging from senior ministers such as Mohan Kumaramangalam and Madhavrao Scindia to other powerful persons such as Sanjay Gandhi and Dhirendra Brahmachari.

Footnote: The Maharaja of Patiala was one of the passengers on the Sardar’s aircraft. Earlier, as Yuvraj of Patiala, he had played one Test match for India in 1933-34 scoring a fifty. He would have played more Tests for India if he was not actively involved in politics. His son Captain Amarinder Singh, continues to be an important force in Punjab’s politics.

 

 

The strange case of Hardus Viljoen

The South African cricketer had a good Test debut, hitting his first ball for a four and then taking a wicket (of the opposing captain AN Cook) off his first ball. He ended up with a relatively modest return, as you can see from the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/800465.html

Apparently he is only the second to achieve this double on debut. The first was M Henderson of New Zealand, in his county’s first ever Test:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62572.html

That match is more remembered for MJC Allom’s hat-trick (and 4 in 5) on debut. And Henderson never played in a Test again.

Coming back to Hardus Viljoen, he may well avoid Henderson’s fate and play in more Tests. But there is something odd about him.

Those who compile cricketing records like everything to be black and white, with every run scored and ball bowled being accounted for. But what if even a person’s name is uncertain? That happens often enough in parts of South Asia where a person may have a given name, a middle name, a surname and perhaps several other names. Now we have a mystery from South Africa.

Starting with this Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardus_Viljoen

His name is listed as Gerhardus C Viljoen, with Hardus apparently being a contraction or nickname. But what does the C stand for?

The Wikipedia article has links to two of the major databases:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/current/player/375126.html

which gives his full name as GC Viljoen

and:

http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Players/373/373892/373892.html

which states that “GC is his name, not his initials”

Of course, there are a number of people who have initials which do not mean anything-including an US president, no less.

This is the relevant bit about Harry S Truman’s middle name:

“Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri, the oldest child of John Anderson Truman (1851–1914) and Martha Ellen Young Truman (1852–1947). His parents chose the name Harry after his mother’s brother, Harrison “Harry” Young (1846–1916). They chose “S” as his middle initial to please both of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. The “S” did not stand for anything, a common practice among the Scots-Irish.

This is perhaps the most famous picture of President Truman, after the 1948 elections:

 

Here are a few more people who have initials which do not stand for anything:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/26920/quick-10-people-fake-middle-initials

Even the fans of MAD magazine would not know Alfred E. Neuman’s middle name.

 

Big and small currency units

As we have seen earlier in https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/the-ding-and-the-dong/   ,the Vietnamese dong was the world’s least valuable currency but it was recently “superseded” by the Iranian rial.

There are numerous articles on the net about the most valuable and least valuable currencies. These are typical:

http://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/the-10-most-expensive-currency-in-the-world-337022/

http://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/the-14-least-valuable-currencies-in-the-world-346598/

As we see, the Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD) is undoubtedly the most valuable currency unit, while the Vietnamese Dong (VND) and Iranian Rial (IRR) bring up the rear.

Let us see what one KWD can get you (based on Yahoo Finance quotes on 19th Jan)

https://in.finance.yahoo.com/

2.31 British Pounds

3.00 Euros

3.28 US Dollars

3.28 Swiss Francs

4.71 Singapore Dollars

222 Indian Rupees

385 Japanese Yen

3,957 South Korean Won

(now into the stratosphere…..)

45,360 Indonesian Rupiah

73,508 Vietnamese Dong

98,954 Iranian Rial

(Full records are not available so it is difficult to say if a KWD has ever been above 100,000 IRR, but in the last few days it has traded above 99,500)

Anyway, if you want to feel like a millionaire or billionaire, you now know where to go. Mourn the passing of the Italian Lira which was had the lowest value among the major European currencies

 

 

 

The ding and the dong

You would probably not think much of dings and dongs except in the context of bells (and American slang). However, the disambiguation feature of Wikipedia tells us about several other dings and dongs:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ding

There are a couple of examples from India which Wikipedia did not catch-such as the small railway station of Ding in Haryana:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@29.4609337,75.2582959,15z

It is served by a number of trains (mainly slow passenger trains) between Hisar and Bathinda.

You may also have heard of Ding as a derogatory term for Anglo-Indians. The internet has an explanation for this, apparently from a blogger from Tamil Nadu:

http://www.samosapedia.com/e/dingo

Not sure if that was to be taken seriously. However there is a traditional Anglo-Indian dish called ding ding, which is called jerky in other countries:

http://bridgetwhite-angloindianrecipes.blogspot.in/2014/08/ding-ding-savoury-sundried-meat-crispies.html

The dong has many more meanings including names and places, and even a large company based in Scandinavia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dong

Dong is a common name in China and Vietnam, where Pham van Dong was one of the architects of their victory over the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ph%E1%BA%A1m_V%C4%83n_%C4%90%E1%BB%93ng

Then there is the Vietnamese dong, which until recently was the least valuable world currency unit. More recently the thinly traded Iranian rial has taken this position.

At the moment the US dollar will get you over 22,400 VND (Vietnamese dong). while the Indian rupee will get you over 330. Even the Indonesian rupiah will get you 1.6 VND. The most valuable currency unit is the Kuwaiti dinar, which will get you 3.29 US dollars, 221 Indian rupees or…73,800 Vietnamese dong.

And Dong is the easternmost village in India. Its population fits into three huts. You still have to travel about 20 km further east to reach the tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dong,_Arunachal_Pradesh

This map shows its location more clearly:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@28.0680455,96.7613483,10z

There is no railway line anywhere in that area, though there are stations such as Dongargaon and Dongargarh:

 

 

The latter station used to have a large steam shed earlier. It lies in Chhattisgarh on the main line from Mumbai to Kolkata.

Then there is the more common American usage for the dong, which needs no explanation.

The dong had its place in Bollywood. In the early 90s the film “Tahalka” featured Amrish Puri as Dong, dictator of Dongrila. One catchphrase of his has persisted down the years:

 

Review of Test matches between Australia and the West Indies

Australia won the recent 3-Test series 2-0 with one draw, with the drawn match being badly affected by rain. After this series, a total of 116 Tests have been played between these countries. Australia leads 58-32 with one tie and 25 draws.

For the 66 Tests in Australia, the hosts lead 37-18 with one tie and 10 draws. In the 50 Tests in the West Indies, Australia still lead 21-14 with 15 draws.

A look at various statistical records at the end of the series:

Most runs (1000 and above):

Most runs

Nobody from the present sides, the most recent entries being that of Ponting and Chanderpaul.

Highest scores (175 and above):

Highest scores

Here newcomer AC Voges made the highest score for Aus v WI, surpassing the 242 by KD Walters in 1968-69. That was an important landmark as Walters became the first to score a century and double century in the same Test, a feat which was soon repeated by SM Gavaskar and others.

Now to highest averages (for a minimum of 20 innings batted):

Batting Avg

The top two names might be a little surprising, as well as the relatively low positions of Richards, Sobers and Greenidge who were prolific scorers against most teams.

The most centuries are 9 by BC Lara and RB Richardson, followed by 7 by RT Ponting and SR Waugh.

The most 50-plus scores are 20 by BC Lara, followed by 19 by DL Haynes and IVA Richards and 18 by CH Lloyd.

Bowling: Most wickets (40 and more):

Most wickets

The most 5-fors were 8 by Ambrose and McGrath, while McGrath was the only one to take two ten-fors. It can be seen that McGrath is the most recent entrant in this table.

Now we look at bowling averages (for a minimum of 2000 balls bowled):

Bowling average

This is on expected lines.

The best economy rates are 2.06 by LR Gibbs, followed by 2.27 by MHN Walker and 2.33 by R Benaud and GD McGrath

The best strike rates are 42.2 by B Lee, 44.7 by JR Thomson and 47.0 by J Garner.

Fielding: (20 or more dismissals):

Most dismissals

The most stumpings were 9 by the now-forgotten GRA Langley. The most catches by non-keepers were 45 by ME Waugh and 38 by CL Hooper.

The most dismissals in an innings was 7 by RD Jacobs, and in a match it was 9 by DA Murray and RD Jacobs.

Highest dismissal rate (for a minimum of 20 innings fielded):

Best fielding rate

Note that RB Simpson has the highest rate among non-keepers.

All-round performances (overall):

As usual, we have to use some semi-arbitrary criteria to identify all-rounders here. However, this has got most of those who are generally considered to be better all-rounders (though one may say that AR Border’s second place is surprising).

All-round overall

And finally, best all-round performances in a match:

Allround match

DS Atkinson and Mushtaq Mohammed are the only ones (in all Tests) who have scored a double century and taken a five-for in the same match.

 

The Test debutants of 2015

Here we look at the players who made their Test debuts in 2015, and the highlights of their performances.

We start with batting, listing those who scored at least a fifty:

Debut 2015-batting

Only one centurion-but Adam Voges went on to cross 1000 by the end of the year. Ronchi played in only that one Test, Dowrich played in 2 and was not heard of again. Kusal Perera hit two fifties on debut but is now under a doping cloud. CR Brathwaite started promisingly in the end of the year and scored another lower-order fifty in the new year.

The best innings bowling figures (minimum 4 wickets):

Debut-inngs bowling

The only five-for was by Rashid, after he took 0-163 in the first innings which is the worst innings bowling by a debutant. He played in 3 Tests of that series but did not go on the tour to South Africa. The others made steady progress without anything spectacular.

The best match bowling figures (minimum 6 wickets):

Debut-match bowling

As mentioned above, these three bowlers progressed steadily.

Best innings fielding (minimum 4 dismissals)

Debut-innings dismissals

Only Australia’s wicketkeeper Peter Nevill qualifies. He has held on to his place in the team.

Best match fielding (minimum 4 dismissals)

Debut-match dismissals

Ronchi and Ojha have not played Tests again, Nevill is thriving and Perera’s future is uncertain at least in the short term.

Best all-round performance of batting and fielding (mimimum 50 runs and 4 dismissals)

Debut-allround-fielding

All three have not been fortunate, as mentioned above.

Best all-round performance of batting and bowling (minimum 20 runs and 2 wickets in match)

Debut-allround

This is really scraping the bottom of the barrel-but these are the best all-round performances on debut which can be found. They have continued to play steadily without major scores in Tests.

 

Most wickets in Tests in first calendar year (updated in 2018)

In the last post https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/most-runs-in-tests-in-first-calendar-year/ we saw that only three Test players have scored over 1000 runs in the calendar year of their debut (which is not the same as the first 365 days after debut).

Here we do the same study for the landmark of 50 wickets. Only one Test player has achieved this in the calendar year of his debut, and he is reasonably well-known but not considered one of the top bowlers of his country. Below we have a list of all those who took 40+ wickets in the calendar year of their debut.

To achieve this is primarily a matter of luck, as it is useful to make your debut in the earlier part of the year. However, some of them started off in the English season or as late as September when their country had a large number of Tests in the latter part of the year (such as India in 1979).

TM Alderman (Aus)      54    1981

CEL Ambrose (WI)        49    1988

JJ Bumrah (Ind)             48    2018

ST Finn (Eng)                 46    2010

R Tattersall (Eng)          44    1951

JV Saunders (Aus)         42     1902

DG Cork (Eng)                42    1995

SR Clark (Aus)                42    2006

DR Doshi (Ind)               40    1979

MS Panesar (Eng)          40   2006

As you may guess, this table is derived from getting a list of wicket-takers in a calendar year from Statsguru and then checking the date of their Test debuts. It is just possible that I may have missed someone.

Note that both Clark and Panesar achieved this in 2006. In the same year AN Cook became the second to make over 1000 runs in his first calendar year.