Wicket-keepers who captained in Tests (Revised in Dec 2019)

Australia’s Tim Paine became the latest of the relatively few wicket-keepers to have captained in a Test. Here is the full list (as on 04 Dec 2019):

WK-captain Dec 2019

Relatively few keepers have had extended runs as captains. However the top two on this list are current players, even though MS Dhoni retired from Tests a few years ago and from the captaincy of ODIs and T20Is more recently.

There are some like Gilchrist, Boucher and Jacobs who captained only when the regular captain was temporarily unavailable. Some, like DL Murray and IDS Smith, had long Test careers but captained their side in precisely one Test.

The only current WK-captain is TD Paine (16). Sarfaraz Ahmed (13) was replaced in October 2019.

It remains to be seen how long Paine continues as captain. But he should be around for a few more Tests.

Dhoni has the most dismissals, followed by Alexander and Mushfiqur at a long distance.

Lee Germon is a special case as he captained his side in all his 12 Tests. He is the only player from an established side to have captained in a Test on his debut in recent years. The last before him was Tony Lewis in 1972. (Obviously we do not count Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland, Afghanistan and the returning South Africa).

Germon is second on the list of those who captained their side in all their Tests. The leader was also a keeper:

Long ago PM Sherwell led South Africa in all his 13 Tests, a record for all countries. He was keeper in all these 13 Tests.

A few such as AJ Stewart played numerous Tests as keeper and non-keeper. The above list only includes the Tests where he was keeper. He also opened the batting in some of these matches. He captained England a total of 15 times, 12 as keeper and 3 as non-keeper. BB McCullum captained New Zealand 31 times, but was keeper in only 1 of them.

Other examples include KC Sangakkara (captained in 15 Tests, never as a keeper), AB de Villiers (captained in 3 Tests, none as keeper), R Dravid (25 Tests, none as keeper) and LD Chandimal (captained in 10 Tests, none as keeper). But they have captained in ODIs and T20Is as keepers. More about these later.

Note that Taibu somehow took one catch as a fielder when he temporarily relinquished his keeping duties. He has also bowled and taken a wicket while a designated keeper.

Here we summarize the batting performance of these captains. The batting average is for those who batted for 20 innings:

WK-captain batting Dec 2019

The highest batting average for long-term captains is Andy Flower’s 49.28, followed by Mushfiqur and Dhoni in the low 40s. Moin Khan did not play enough to reach 20 innings.

The dismissal rate, for those who fielded in at least 20 innings:

WK-captain fielding Dec 2019

While Sarfaraz is no longer captain, his dismissal rate as captain is second only to Paine’s. But he has been dropped altogether from the team. Moin Khan and Mushfiqur are at the bottom.

And finally we look at their performance as captains, considering the win/loss ratio. This is for those keepers who captained for at least 10 Tests:

WK captain-result

Interesting. We saw that Moin Khan performed worst as a keeper, but he did best as a captain. Similarly for FCM Alexander who did not do too well as a batsman or keeper. Next are Dhoni and Paine.

Taibu and Khaled Mashud failed to win a Test as captain, while Germon and Flower were just ahead with one Test apiece.

When Test captains are sacked

The ill-starred Test at Cape Town might well be the first one in which a captain was dismissed in the middle of a match and a replacement named immediately. Statisticians will record Smith as captain  since he was “appointed captain” for the match even if he did not end the match as captain. There have been numerous cases when a captain was absent from part of the match due to injury or illness and someone else acted as captain for the remainder-perhaps as much as 4 days out of 5.

One such Test was this one in 2009: http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/13604/scorecard/401071/west-indies-vs-bangladesh-1st-test-bangladesh-tour-of-west-indies-2009

The appointed captain Mashrafe Mortaza missed over half the match due to injury, and Shakib al Hasan substituted for him. Admittedly this was a third XI of the West Indies, but this was still a landmark for Bangladesh as it was only their second Test win (and the first away from home). Shakib was the appointed captain for the second Test, which led to Bangladesh gaining their third Test victory as well as their first series win abroad.

Mortaza never captained Bangladesh in a Test again, and thus the tables show him with one Test as captain and a 100% success rate. Similar examples include Shastri and Rahane, though Rahane may again captain India soon if Kohli is absent for the proposed Test against Afghanistan. And one cannot help wondering if India’s Test performance in the late 80s and early 90s would have been better if Shastri had been the regular captain rather than his contemporaries Vengsarkar, Srikkanth and Azharuddin.

There have been captains sacked in the middle of a series (Gatting in 1988 for off-field activities, and Denness in 1975 for generally poor results capped by an alleged wrong decision after winning the toss at Birmingham). He was replaced by Greig who seemed to have done a better job in ensuring three draws in the next three Tests against Lillee and Thomson in their prime. Later, when Greig was firmly in place as captain he lost his position in early 1977 following the advent of World Series Cricket.

The 1988 home series against the West Indies saw England with four captains in five Tests (Gatting, Emburey, Emburey, Chris Cowdrey and Gooch). So did India in the 1958-59 home series against the West Indies although that story is more complicated.

Inspector Ghote and the Ghoti

You may have heard of the British crime writer HRF Keating, whose most well-known character was Inspector Ghote of the Bombay Police. There are about a dozen novels written from the 1960s to the 80s. The interesting part is that the author had never been to India until he had written the first 9 books.

There are precedents for this. Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan, was not known to have any connection with Africa. Most of James Hadley Chase’s novels are set in the US, though he had never been there except for brief visits.

Coming back to Keating and Inspector Ghote, the books had some popularity in Britain but did not sell much in India. “The Perfect Murder” with Naseeruddin Shah was filmed in English and Hindi in 1988 but was not too successful. The Hindi version can still be seen on Youtube.

One of the better known books was “Inspector Ghote Goes by Train” (1971) which largely describes the protagonist traveling from Bombay to Calcutta and back, dealing with a master criminal. As a sideline, the writer mentions the train passing this place near Nasik. All trains between Mumbai and Kolkata pass this station, but most expresses do not stop there.

Ghoti

As Bengalis would know, Ghoti is a semi-deregatory term for someone from West Bengal. The counterpart is Bangal for someone from East Bengal. These are supposed to be cultural rather than communal terms. Perhaps they are more used by Hindus rather than Muslims. Similarly, a Probashi is a Bengali permanently settled outside Bengal.

These terms are not mutually exclusive. For instance, it is possible to be of mixed Ghoti and Bangal ancestry and a Probashi at the same time.

Review of the World Cup qualifying tournament-2018

Afghanistan defeated West Indies in the final. These two teams qualified to participate in the World Cup in 2019. Here is a summary of the table (though it does not include the final):

Summary Table

Also: 7th Netherlands, 8th Nepal, 9th PNG, 10th Hong Kong

Individual performances are given below. Matches involving Netherlands and Nepal did not have ODI status at the time of the tournament, and are thus excluded from Statsguru’s database and are not included in the tables below.

However, from now onwards Netherlands, Nepal, Scotland and UAE have ODI status while Hong Kong and PNG do not. A further reshuffle will be done in a process which will end about 4 years from now.

Most runs in ODIs (150 and above):

Most runs

No one scored more than one century, while Rahmat Shah was the only one with three 50+ scores. Note that BRM Taylor scored the most runs, far ahead of CS MacLeod.

Highest innings in ODIs (90 and above):

Highest innings

Note that the two highest scores were by relatively lesser known players.

Most wickets in ODIs (8 and above):

Most wkts

No one took 5wi more than once. 3 players took two 4wis apiece.

Best innings bowling in ODIs (4wi and above):

Innings bowling

Note that the top two performances were almost identical ( 5-27 and 5-28).

Most dismissals in ODIs (6 and above):

Most dismissals

NJ O’Brien was by far the leading keeper. The best by a non-keeper was 8 by N Zadran.

Most dismissals in an innings in ODIs (3 and above):

Innings dismissals

While NJ O’Brien and McKechnie took 4 dismissals as keepers, 4 non-keepers took 3 catches each.

All-round overall performance in ODIs (see criteria below):

AR-overall

Holder, followed by Mustafa were clearly the leading all-rounders of the series.

Best all-round match performances (minimum 30 runs and 3 wickets):

AR-match

A number of good performances.

And finally, the ICC ranking tables after the final got over on 25th March:

ICC rankings

It can be seen that in the long run Zimbabwe and Ireland did not do well enough to claim themselves in the top ten.

 

The Story of Spedegue’s Dropper

Anyone who has followed cricket for a while would have come across “Spedegue’s Dropper” which is referenced in Cricinfo and elsewhere:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/82166.html

You get a general idea of the story here. But try finding more about it through Google. If you had done this a couple of years ago, you would find that virtually all the literary output of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works (including dozens of short stories and novels which have nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes) can be easily read on Gutenberg.org, the Internet Archive as well as free Kindle books from Amazon. But not this story and a few other novellas such as “The Maracot Deep”. Apparently these were the handful of his works which were supposed to be still under copyright. This particular story could only be found in old hardcover books several decades old, or in some anthologies of boy’s fiction which would also date from the 1960s or 1970s. That is where I first read the story while in school.

When I tried to locate it on the net a few years ago I met a dead end and some mention of the story still being under copyright. Fortunately that appears to be no longer true. You can read it below. The original illustrations from the Strand magazine are included.

Note that it was first published in 1928 and was one of the last few stories written by Sir Arthur before he died in 1930.

https://www.arthur-conan-doyle.com/index.php?title=The_Story_of_Spedegue%27s_Dropper

Review of the Nidahas Trophy (2018)

This tournament is an one-off. There was another Nidahas Trophy in 1998 to mark the 50th anniversary of independence. That was also a triangular series but with 50-over matches. T20Is were still in the future.

This tournament was contested by Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand. Though the league matches were badly affected by rain, there was still a narrow 6-run win for India as Sri Lanka came close to chasing down a 300+ total in the final. Such things rarely happened in those days. See the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8560/scorecard/66157/sri-lanka-vs-india-final-singer-akai-nidahas-1998/

At least the host got to the final then, unlike on this occasion. This time it was Dinesh Karthik who won the match with one of the most famous last-ball sixes in limited-overs cricket history. But Javed Miandad may have something to say about that.

Here is a statistical summary of the 2018 edition. The sample size is too small to have meaningful figures for averages, strike rates and the like.

Most runs (90 and above):

Most runs

Kusal Perera made 3 fifties, while three others made two apiece.

Highest innings (40 and above):

Highest innings

Dhawan and RG Sharma have the highest scores.

During the SL v BD match on 16 Mar, there was a wisecrack that Mr Perera had scored 119 runs and took 5 catches.

Most wickets (4 and above):

Most wickets

India’s junior spinners lead here, with a number of highly experienced bowlers following.

Best innings bowling (including all 3wi and above):

Best innings bowling

The 4 top positions are by Indian bowlers.

Most dismissals (3 or more):

Most dismissals

Thissara Perera and Sabbir have the most (6) by non-keepers while Karthik (5) the most by keepers.

Most innings dismissals (2 or more):

Innings dismissals

Sabbir and Kusal Perera lead the non-keepers and keepers respectively.

All round performances (20+ runs and 2+ wickets in a match):

AR

Only one instance.

 

Reviving the Darjeeling Mail route?

Here are extracts showing the timetable of the Calcutta-Siliguri route in 1943:

Darj Mail 001

As you can see, the border line crossed the tracks between Chilhati and Haldibari stations.

Recent pictures of these stations:

Further south, the Radcliffe line crossed the tracks between Banpur and Darsana. Later Gede station was built closer to the border. (Similarly Petrapol station was built close to the border).

As we well know, the Maitri Express and some goods trains cross the Gede-Darsana border. Probably the Haldibari-Chilhati border will  be used for goods trains only. In case you are wondering, there have been many attempts by Indian governments over the years to get Bangladesh to allow transit for Indian road vehicles and trains to cross Bangladesh to reach North Bengal and the Northeast. They do not seem to like the idea. In fact, tourist visas issued to Indians invariably mention that you must enter and leave from the same point if traveling by land e.g. if you enter at Benapole you have to leave at Benapole.

The US and Western countries do not have such restrictions on the entry and exit points. It is understood that the Bangladesh government has made these restrictions as it does not want visitors to use their country as a means of traveling from one part of India to another.

Anyway, there are some interesting stories connected with the Haldibari-Siliguri section, which I will take up next.