Ireland’s record in Test cricket

Ireland played its first Test in 2018. Here are the results of their first 7 Tests:

This looks bad-even Bangladesh had a draw in their 5th Test. But South Africa lost their first 8 Tests before drawing the 9th. In the early days SA was much weaker than England and Australia.

A Balbernie is the only player who played in all 7 Tests. Two others (McBrine and McCollum) have played in 6.

Most runs (200 or more):

Headed by LJ Tucker (351) and HT Tector (336).

4 batsmen have made a century. Tector has the most 50+ scores (4).

Highest innings scores (75 or more):

Headed by KJ O’Brien in their maiden Test. No one else scored a century until 2023.

Most wickets (7 and above):

The most wickets are 14 by McBrine followed by 13 by Murtagh.

The best innings bowling is 6-118 by McBrine, followed by 5-13 by Murtagh. That helped to dismiss England for 85 in 2019. No one else has taken 4 or more wickets in an innings.

The best match bowling is 7-170 by McBrine, followed by 6-65 by Murtagh.

Fielding (3 or more dismissals):

The most dismissals are 7 by LJ Tucker, which includes 5 catches and 2 stumpings. GC Wilson has 6 catches as a keeper.

Balbirnie and Stirling have 4 catches each as fielders.

The best all-rounder appears to be the present captain A Balbirnie, who has 318 runs and 14 wickets.

Another train to Nepal

A new line for goods services between India and Nepal has been opened in June 2023. It connects Forbesganj with a point in Nepal close to the border.

Note that the Nepal Custom Yard comes under the Nepal Railways.

This line takes off from the Forbesganj-Jogbani section at Bathnaha.

The line terminates at a point near Biratnagar, which is said to be the 6th largest city in Nepal and a transport hub.

However, there does not seem to be much prospect of passenger trains running here. The rails have not been built up to Biratnagar. There seems to be a lack of interest from both countries.

Oddities: Ben Stokes vs Ireland

After England won their Test against Ireland, we see that their captain Ben Stokes did not bat or bowl during this match. He did take one catch.

Stokes thus became the 5th captain to win a Test without batting or bowling. Now you can see that the other 4 instances involved captains who were wicket-keepers.

Thus Stokes became the first captain to win a Test without batting, bowling or wicket-keeping.

Oddities-the northern-most metre gauge station in India.

(Thanks to Amar Kalia for a major correction.)

Copyrights of pictures are those of the respective photographers.

The first long run at this position was Jhelum (which Indians know better as PM IK Gujral’s birthplace). Jhelum was the terminus of an MG line from Lahore from September 1873. This 172-km section was converted to broad gauge soon after (October 1878).

From the NWR, the action now shifted to the lines which became part of the BBCIR and later NR. A MG line was built from Sirsa to Ferozepur Cantt (now spelt Firozpur Cantt) via Bathinda and Kot Kapura . It was opened on 01-10-1884. Thus Ferozepur Cantt became the northern-most MG station. An MG line from Kot Kapura to Fazilka was also built and opened on 01-01-1885

After a few years it was decided to make the connection to FZR broad gauge (probably because all the lines around it were broad gauge). By 15-06-1899 we had

i) Kot Kapura to FZR converted to BG

ii) Kot Kapura to Fazilka remained MG.

iii) The Bathinda-Kot Kapura section now had a BG line along with the existing MG line.

This meant that Kot Kapura was now the northern-most MG station in undivided India. It held this title for over a century.

This map extract should make the geography clear:

Note the relative positions of Bathinda, Kot Kapura , Fazilka and Firozpur Cantt.

This map is from “The Great Indian Railway Atlas”, 2022 edition.

This route to Firozpur Cantt was used by the famous Punjab Mail from Mumbai and Delhi.

The time came (in the 2000s) to convert most lines in India to broad gauge. The MG line from Bathinda to Kot Kapura and Fazilka was converted to broad gauge leaving no metre gauge lines in Punjab. For a while the northern-most MG station seems to have been Vrindavan, but the Mathura-Vrindavan line has now closed for conversion to BG.

At the time of writing in June 2023, the northern-most functioning metre gauge station seems to be Dudwa in the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh. Other nearby MG stations include Mailani, Nanpara and Tikunia.

The map for this region:

Some of the MG lines shown here will be converted, and others may be closed down. The dense forests and animal life are factors which may affect the longevity of these lines.

We also take a quick look at the northern-most MG station in Gujarat, which is further south than Dudwa. In this case all the adjoining MG lines are likely to be converted in the next few years.

Amreli in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The Bhuj-Naliya section is north of this, but has not seen trains for over a decade. The other MG lines near Amreli have been closed or converted. They are likely to be converted to broad gauge soon.

Once the MG lines in UP and Gujarat are converted, the title will pass to Udagamandalam in the far south. This line is very unlikely to be converted to broad gauge, so the title will remain with it.

IPL finals from 2008 to 2023

Here we summarise results of the IPL final matches since their inception:

Some points of interest:

The IPL trophy has been won 5 times by Chennai and Mumbai

2 times by Kolkata and Deccan/Hyderabad

1 time by Rajasthan and Gujarat

Of the 8 teams which played in 2008, three have never won the trophy. They are Punjab, Delhi and Bangalore (though they have been runners-up)

An interesting meme here: Virat Kohli is a Punjabi living in Delhi who plays for Bangalore 🙂

Looking at the Man of the Match awards:

There is a mix of batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders.

The highest score by a MOM is 117* by S Watson in 2018

The best bowling by a MOM is 4-16 by A Kumble in 2009

The best all-round performance is probably 56 and 3-22 by YK Pathan in 2008

The only MOM who did not represent his country is M Bisla (2012)

Next is B Cutting (2016), who played for Australia in a few matches.

Both the Pandya brothers are here.

The story behind Port Albert Victor

The Western Railway had many obscure metre gauge and narrow gauge lines in Gujarat. Many have now been closed or converted to broad gauge. One of the more obscure ones was Victor on the southern coast of Saurashtra. This is what appeared in the 1975 timetables

The two terminals shown here are Rajula City and Victor, connected to the junctions Rajula Jn and Dungar respectively. Rajula City had three daily pairs of trains, while Victor has one pair of trains on 4 days of the week.

Going back to 1944:

Here we see the station listed as Port Albert Victor. It has a train only on two days of the week. At least we now have a clue as to its history. It can also be seen that the line to this terminal was opened in 1928.

But who was Albert Victor? You would have heard of Queen Victoria, but there was no British monarch called Victor. Maybe we have to go down the ladder a bit.

Prince Albert Victor was born in 1864. He was the eldest son of the future King Edward VII, who was then heir to the throne. Queen Victoria was the ruler, and would continue to be on the throne until 1901.

A younger brother (who later became King George V) was born in 1865.

Prince Albert Victor suffered from poor health in his childhood and did not seem to have done anything worth noting.

In 1889, he was sent to tour India for several months from October 1889 to May 1890. Wikipedia sums this up:

“The foreign press suggested that Albert Victor was sent on a seven-month tour of British India from October 1889 to avoid the gossip which swept London society in the wake of the scandal.[54] This is not true;[55] the trip had actually been planned since the spring.[56] Travelling via AthensPort SaidCairo and Aden, Albert Victor arrived in Bombay on 9 November 1889.[57] He was entertained sumptuously in Hyderabad by the Nizam,[58] and elsewhere by many other maharajahs.[59] In Bangalore he laid the foundation stone of the Glass House at the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens on 30 November 1889. He spent Christmas at Mandalay and the New Year at Calcutta. Most of the extensive travelling was done by train,[60] although elephants were ridden as part of ceremonies.[61] In the style of the time, a great many animals were shot for sport.[62]

Presumably, the port in Gujarat was named after him during or soon after his tour.

However, he died of typhoid in 1892, when his grandmother Victoria was still the ruler and his father was still the heir apparent. His father ruled as King Edward VII from 1901 to 1910, while King George V (born in 1865) ruled from 1910 to 1936.

However, if Prince Albert Victor had lived beyond 1910 the entire line of succession would have changed. Perhaps the persons now known as Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III would not have become monarchs.

During George V’s rule the rail link from Dungar to Port Albert Victor was opened in 1928. As we have seen, it did not seem to generate much passenger traffic. Today the line appears to have been abandoned.

Meanwhile, a new port came up at Pipavav to the south of Rajula City. This is one of the success stories of Indian ports today. It is unclear if Victor port will be revived.

More about his visit to India:

Uri-end of the line in J &K

There is a tender for conducting a survey for a railway line from the present terminus of Baramula to Uri (about 50 km).

This would be the end of the line, with Uri being the last station in J &K. It will not, however, be the northern-most station in India as it is south-west of Baramula. It’s latitude would be a little north of Srinagar.,73.7043953,10z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x38e05748af885045:0xa67531f1a8648f93!8m2!3d34.0881166!4d74.0339852!16zL20vMDg4dzEx

Looking ahead to the 2023 World Cup

By mid-May, we know the 8 teams which have qualified for the main tournament as well as those who will participate in the qualifying tournament which will be held in July in Zimbabwe. A similar tournament was also held in Zimbabwe in 2019.

Here we list the teams with their ICC points as on 15 May:

Main draw:

  1. Australia (118)
  2. Pakistan (116)
  3. India (115)
  4. New Zealand (104)
  5. England (101)
  6. South Africa (101)
  7. Bangladesh (97)
  8. Afghanistan (88)

Qualifiers- 2 of these will go into the tournament along with the 8 listed above:

  1. Sri Lanka (80)

2. West Indies (72)

3.Zimbabwe (51)

4. Ireland (47)

5. Scotland (46)

6. Nepal (37)

7. USA (35)

8. Netherlands (26)

9. Oman (20)

10. UAE (18)

At the moment, it seems most likely that Sri Lanka and West Indies will qualify. There can be some fluke results along the way, but the end result is still likely to be the same two teams qualifying.

Cumulative Test bowling records (World and India)

Here we look at how the record for the best innings bowling has progressed.

The very first Test in 1877 saw Australia’s TK Kendall taking 7-55 against England.

7-55, TK Kendall, A vs E, Melbourne, 15/03/1877

7-44, FR Spofforth, A vs E, Oval, 28/08/1882

7-28, W Bates, E vs A, Melbourne, 19/01/1883

8-35, GA Lohmann, E vs A, Sydney, 25/02/1887

8-11, J Briggs, E vs SA, Cape Town, 25/03/1889

9-28, GA Lohmann, E vs SA, Johannesburg, 02/03/1896

10-53, JC Laker, E vs A, Manchester, 26/07/1956

In the first 20 years the record changed hands frequently. Then GA Lohmann’s 9-28 became the record for over 60 years. JC Laker’s record has stood for over 66 years.

Next we look at the corresponding Indian records.

India’s first Test had M Nissar taking a 5-for at Lord’s.

5-93, M Nissar, vs E, Lord’s, 25/06/1932

5-90, M Nissar, vs E, Mumbai, 15/12/1933

7-86, L Amar Singh, vs E, Chennai, 10/02/1934

8-55, MH Mankad, vs E, Chennai, 06/02/1952

8-52, MH Mankad, vs P, Delhi, 10/10/1952

9-102, SP Gupte, vs WI, Kanpur, 12/12/1958

9-69, JM Patel, vs A, Kanpur, 19/12/1959

10-74, A Kumble, vs P, Delhi, 04/02/1999.

The current record by Kumble has stood for over 24 years. Before that, JM Patel’s record had stood for over 39 years.

More junctions which are not attached to stations

Note: Pictures are copyright of the respective photographers.

We start with this map extract of Ernakulam Jn and its surroundings. Note C cabin at the top left and D cabin at the top right. Both are junctions without any nearby stations. C cabin is in between Ernakulam Town and Junction, and D cabin is between Junction and Tripunittara on the east.

I could not locate pictures of these cabins.

Next there are a few examples from the Kolkata area.

Baltikuri near Howrah:

This has the code BALT. A Balt is a native of the Baltic republics such as Estonia.

Near Dankuni we have CC Link East Cabin and CC Link Cabin West. CC stands for Calcutta Chord.

In North Bengal, there is the curiously-named Y-Leg Connector near Domohani and New Domohani stations.

It can be seen on this map:

Here we have two lines crossing at almost 90-degree angles. There was no interconnection between these lines. When an interconnection was made, it joined the westward line at the Y-Leg Connection Cabin. This is what it looks like:

along with

Near Hubballi, we have already seen Hubballi South as a station where no passenger train stops. There is also Hubballi East Cabin:

And even Hubballi Bypass East Cabin:

IR’s junctions which are not stations

There are a few hundred junctions among the 8000-odd stations on the Indian railways. There are some prominent junctions which do not have a passenger station. Some may have a passenger station where no train stops regularly.

Here are some of the better-known ones:

Vyasarpadi, near Chennai Central;

There is a nearby station called Vyasarpadi Jiva.

Nethravathi, near Mangaluru. It is, naturally, near the Nethravathi river.

This picture is taken while travelling north. The left branch goes to the terminus of Mangaluru Central, the right branch goes to Manguluru Junction and beyond.

Kankuragachi Road, near Sealdah:

Magnesite, near Salem:

For a short time a passenger train stopped here.

Pagidipalli, near Hyderabad:

Back to the Chennai area: Melpakkam near Arakkonam:

This is also called Arakkonam west cabin.

Hubballi South which does have a station but without any passenger service:

Hindon Cabin near Saharanpur in UP.

This is near the WAG-12B maintenance centre along with a regular ELS at Khanalampura.

Deaths of cricketers in 2022

We start with the list of (male) Test players who passed away in 2022. This list has been compiled from Cricinfo and Wikipedia:

For the “others”, we include:

Test umpires

ODI players

Women’s Test players

Prominent FC players (with a stress on India)

Prominent administrators and journalists

This list is subjective and depends on the amount of coverage a person has in the media.