People born on Leap Day

2016 being a leap year, has 29 days in February. Every fourth year is a leap year, EXCLUDING century years such as 1800, 1900, 2100 and 2200 but INCLUDING every 4th century year such as 1600, 2000 and 2400.

Here is a rather short list of notable people born on February 29, who got to celebrate their real birthday every 4 years. One of the people listed below was born in 1896 so he got to celebrate his first birthday only in 1904. Anyway, he lived until 1995 so he did celebrate many birthdays.

Herman Hollerith (US inventor)-1860

Morarji Desai (Indian politician)-1896

Rukmini Devi Arundale (Indian dancer)-1904

Alf Gover (English cricket coach)-1908

Sean Abbott (Australian cricketer involved in the Phil Hughes tragedy)-1992

Advertisements

Another record for Brendon McCullum (Revised in Sep 2017)

As we all know, Brendon McCullum recorded the fastest ever Test century in the Christchurch Test when he crossed 100 in 54 balls.

He also became the only Test player to score a century in the last test of his career, while captaining his country. This is what you get from Statsguru:

Century in last career Test, while captain

Naturally, Smith can be discounted as we know he has not retired. So McCullum is the only one who qualifies.

This seemed a bit odd, so I repeated this check to identify those who scored a fifty in the last test of their career, while captaining their side. We get this:

50 plus in last career Test, while captain

This live link may be more useful: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?captain=1;class=1;debut_or_last=2;filter=advanced;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=25;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;opposition=8;opposition=9;orderby=start;qualmin1=1;qualval1=fifty_plus;team=1;team=2;team=25;team=3;team=4;team=5;team=6;team=7;team=8;team=9;template=results;type=batting

As many as 34 names here. But it includes some whose Test careers are not over, essentially everyone from Mushfiqur Rahim downwards excluding McCullum and now Misbah. So we remove Mushfiqur, Kohli, Mathews, AN Cook and SPD Smith.

So we are left with 29 who scored a fifty in their last Test when they were captaining. In some cases their retirement was known in advance, in other cases they may not have known they were playing their last Test.

McCullum has scored the most runs in the match (170) among these, though a few others have crossed 100 without making a century. The WI player RK Nunes is the only one to score two fifties in this category.

We may as well see the list of all those who scored centuries in the last Test of their career, regardless of captaincy:

Century in last Test

This live link may be more useful: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/282931.html

Here we have a total of 42. We remove current players who are likely to keep playing for a while: Hafeez, Rahane, SE Marsh, Amla, SC Cook, de Kock, Burns and SPD Smith. This leaves 34 who scored centuries in their last Test (unless McCullum makes a comeback). In contrast, 100 players scored 102 centuries on debut (Remember Rowe and Yaseer Hameed).

Naturally our old friends AG Ganteaume and RE Redmond are there, as their first and last Tests were the same. Others who scored centuries on debut and last Tests are Duff (104 & 146), Ponsford (110 & 266), Greg Chappell (108 & 182) and Azharuddin (110 & 102). In case SE Marsh does not play another Test he will also join this club with 141 & 182.

Centuries in their last Test include those by Sandham (325, the first Test triple century) and double centuries by Ponsford, Nurse, Aravinda de Silva (last f-c match) and (strangest of all) night-watchman Gillespie making his only Test century.

CAG Russell is the only one to score centuries in both innings of his last Test. He was the first English player to score centuries in both innings of a Test.

Bangalore to Mysore by rail: Renaming runs wild

First we take a look at different signs at SBC station, in its various avatars as Bangalore City, Bengaluru City and finally Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna (Bengaluru Station). Also don’t ask why the S got into SBC.

Bangalore CityBengaluru CityKR Bengaluru station

But the average Bangalorean might prefer to stick to calling it Majestic, like the way Hyderabadis stick to Nampalli, Amdavadis to Kalupur and Banarsis to Cantt (well, it was officially known as Benares Cantt until the 1940s).

At the other end of the line 138 km away we have Mysore (now Mysuru):

mysore-railway-station

Mysuru station

But the line between these cities has seen more than its share of renaming. Let us first look at an Indian Bradshaw entry from 1935:

Bangalore Mysore 1935

The reproduction is not too good, and the mileage is not visible in this scan. Odd things you can see here are Maddur listed as a junction (though no branch line from there is listed in this Bradshaw or anywhere else). And several place names do not appear in present timetables.

Here is an extract from an official website showing the timings of a passenger train between Bengaluru and Mysuru:

Bangalore Mysore TT 2015

Even this train does not stop at a few stations such as Krishnadevaraya Halt (5 km from SBC), Palahalli Halt (between S and NHY) and Mysuru New Goods Terminal (4 km before MYS) which is a pure goods station.

(Palahalli is apparently not on the present alignment but is still mentioned in railway documents).

Note the rare one-letter codes for Yeliyur (S) and Shrirangapatna (S)

Apart from the changes to the names of SBC and MYS, we also note:

Closepet is now Ramanagaram (possibly it had been named after a British official)

French Rocks is now Pandavapura

Seringapatnam is now Srirangapattana (changing the simplified spelling of the British).

Other points of interest: the 1935 timetable shows 13 intermediate stations. The present slow passenger train stops at 19, while at least 3 more are known to exist.

Of course, there has been progress on this line. It was converted to broad gauge by the mid-90s and electrification continues at a snail’s pace-apparently it is complete up to Mandya. There is now a Shatabdi from Chennai along with numerous trains to different corners of the country. Even the former single track MG line is almost completely doubled apart from a short stretch outside Shrirangapattana where Tippu’s armoury building is being bodily shifted to make way for the new line, as you can see here:

Armoury

Thanks to Raghavendra Rao and Sandeep Mohan for useful updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Prime Minister’s plane crashed

Morarji Desai is remembered for various things (particularly his drinking habits and his birthday on February 29), and more seriously for being the first non-Congress Prime Minister (for what it is worth). He was also one of the few major political figures of India to escape a fatal plane crash (unlike Sardar Patel’s case in 1949 where no one was injured although the plane was written off).

A bit of legend has come up regarding this crash, citing the valiant crew of the IAF who “sacrificed their lives in order to save the passengers”. Things have not been helped because the results of inquiries into military aviation accidents are not generally released to the press.

In contrast, the DGCA now does put detailed accident reports on its website www.dgca.in

Click on the Aircraft tab and then Accident/Incident

Summaries of civil aviation accident reports going back to 1960 can also be seen there. You can even get this information back to 1950 through RTI.

Anyway, we come back to the crash of an IAF TU-124 near Jorhat on November 4, 1977. I was not able to obtain any Indian newspaper for that period. The basic details can be seen here:

https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19771105-0

The only picture available on the net:

As you can see, the front portion was badly damaged but the rest of the aircraft was relatively intact. The TU-124 was carrying 11 crew and 9 passengers. 5 of the crew in the front portion were killed while some of the passengers and other crew were injured, some seriously including the PM’s son Kanti and the then CM of Arunachal PK Thungon. The PM appears to have been unscathed.

Now the report of the inquiry commission headed by Air Marshal Subbiah does not seem to be available to the public. The next best reference may be this blogpost by a retired senior IAF officer:

https://tkstales.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/754/

Read it carefully. Many of the follow-up comments are of interest.

It does seem to be due to human error, but whether the crew or someone else in the IAF was resposible is still unclear.

The accident site appears to be near Takelagaon village near Bhalukmara railway station, about 10 km south-west of Jorhat airport.

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@26.6644431,94.1154097,14z

Footnote: More about Morarji Desai here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/morarji-desai-everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-him-but-were-afraid-to-ask/

 

Cricket obituaries of 2015

Here we tabulate the prominent cricketers who passed away in 2015 with brief notes about some of them. All Test players are covered, as well as a few others who played ODIs or were prominent domestic players, Test umpires and administrators. Naturally,the choice of players here would be somewhat subjective depending on the compiler’s knowledge. Obits-2015

You can also see it here:

Obits-2015-1 (1)

Obits-2015-2