Long-lived cricketers

A small landmark went unnoticed earlier this month. Lindsay Tuckett, who played 9 Tests for South Africa in 1947-49, passed away at the age of 97. He was the last surviving Test player who had played first-class cricket before World War 2. He started playing FC matches in 1934-35

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/47559.html

Norman Gordon, also from South Africa, played 5 Tests in 1938-39, died in 2014 and was the last surviving Test player from before the War. He is also the only Test player (and one of a handful of first-class players) to have lived for more than a century.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/45239.html

Fortunately Cricinfo keeps track of these things. The link given below is for the longest-lived Test players (and there is also one for ODI players). This is a dynamic link which is apparently updated daily. Anyway I am also giving a snapshot of part of the page as it was on 17/09/2016.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283740.html

oldest-test-players-sep-2016

As of today, Lindsay Tuckett is 4th on the list of longest-lived Test players. Andy Ganteaume, who died earlier in 2016 at 95+, is a little further down. And MJ Gopalan at 94+ is the longest lived for India.

The above list is of people who are no longer alive. It is also of interest to see the details of those who are still living. Here is Cricinfo’s list as of today:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283742.html

oldest-living-test-players

This snapshot is listed as being correct as on 15/09/2016. The earliest Test debuts were that of Weekes and Harvey almost simultaneously in January 1948. So there is no one living who had played Tests in 1947 and earlier.

I have included everyone who have crossed their 86th birthday. We see that JC Watkins, who played 15 Tests for  South Africa in 1949-57, is the oldest living player at 93+. Somewhat further down is India’s oldest living player DK Gaekwad (father of Anshuman) at 87+. And Gary Sobers, who crossed 80 some time ago, is also on the list (though not in the above snapshot).

RH “Deepak” Shodhan, who died earlier in 2016, was older than Gaekwad by a few days and was India’s oldest living player for some time. See this interview which was conducted shortly before he passed away. And here is another interview with DK Gaekwad.

Anyway, I checked the details of the top few names and verified that none of them had played first-class cricket before the War. We do have Weekes and Imtiaz Ali who made their first-class debuts in 1944-45, during the war. Everyone else started in 1946 or later.

What about non-Test players? Though Cricinfo doesn’t help here, there is a Wikipedia article which is also updated frequently:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_oldest_cricketers#Oldest_first-class_cricketers

Snapshot as of 17/09/2016: This covers the top 10 on the list. There were a total of 18 such players.

oldest-fc-players

This covers all FC players who lived/are living past their 100th birthday.This tells us that the oldest FC player was Jim Hutchinson (1896-2000) who lived to be a little short of 104. Norman Gordon is 3rd on the all-time list, while DB Deodhar represents India at 101+

John Manners is the only living FC player above 100. He had made his first-class debut in 1936.

Professor Deodhar is the only Indian to achieve this “century”. However, BK Garudachar died earlier in 2016 soon after crossing 99. He had started his FC career in 1935-36. My fellow trivia-hunter Sreeram points out that Vasant Raiji (better known as a cricket writer) is India’s oldest living FC player (96+) and had made his debut in 1938-39, just before the war. He succeeded Garudachar as the oldest living Indian in this category. Also see:

http://cricketbadger.com/2016/02/vasant-raiji-is-now-indias-oldest-living-first-class-cricketer/

This article from the 2016 Wisden also mentions John Manners as well as Leo Harrison (94+). The latter is the only other surviving player from pre-war England, having made his FC debut just in time in 1939.

Finally, you can also read this post about 250-year old tortoises:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/how-to-live-to-be-250/

 

 

 

 

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Making the most of limited chances-batting

There are many unfortunates who got a chance to play exactly one Test (or ODI or T20I). Some of them did well enough to deserve more chances but somehow this never happened. We look at the batsmen who made the most of their chances in limited Test opportunities, and then in ODIs and T20Is.

Scoring at least one fifty in their only Test:

Fifty in only Test

Of these, only Redmond scored a hundred and a fifty, and Ganteaume scored a hundred. SC Cook played his only Test so far in 2016 and should get off this list soon. Ronchi is the only one to score over 100 runs without a century, while three others scored over 90.

There are various reasons why they did not play again. Eyesight issues were the main reason for Rodney Redmond not playing again. His son Aaron Redmond played 8 Tests in recent years with a top score of 83.

Zulqarnain Haider stopped playing for Pakistan under peculiar circumstances. Cook and (perhaps) Ronchi should play again. India’s sole representative the Yuvraj of Patiala (also known as Yadavindra Singh) dropped out of cricket to concentrate on politics, though he might well have captained India in the 1936 tour of England where he would certainly done better than Vizzy. His son Amarinder Singh is still active in the politics of Punjab state.

Now we look at

Scoring at least 50 runs in their only Test:

Fifty or more runs in only Test

This includes a few others who made 50 or more runs without a fifty. The highest total among these is JK Moss with 60. There is also Humayun Farhat, who did score 54 runs in his only Test but also became the only wicket keeper who did not make a single dismissal in his career. (There are some other keepers who did not make any dismissal on their debut).

Scoring at least fifty in their only Test innings:

Fifty in only Test innings

Ganteaume and Stollmeyer lead here. Albie Morkel probably deserved to play a few more Tests, but is now unlikely to get another chance. And McGirr played his only  innings in his 2nd and last Test, as he did not get to bat on his debut. Law is the only one in these tables to remain unbeaten in his short Test career. His fellow Australian debutant RT Ponting went on to bigger things.

Now for ODI matches:

30 or more runs in their only ODI:

30 plus in only ODI

Barnett and Woodcock are the only ones to score fifties, though there are several others close behind. Some of them were moderately successful in Tests, such as AV Mankad.

30 or more runs in their only ODI innings:

We get exactly the same list as above.

Now for T20Is:

20 or more runs in only T20I:

20 plus runs in only match

India’s lesser-known S Badrinath has the highest score here. Dinesh Mongia’s only T20I was India’s first. Some prominent Test and ODI players such as Dravid, Ganga, Gillespie and North find a place here, along with the hapless Reifer who was once asked by journalists “Are you smoking something which sounds like your name?”. This was at that the time he captained a West Indies C Team which gave Bangladesh its first two Test victories away from home.

20 or more runs in only T20I innings:

We get exactly the same result.

To be continued with bowling, fielding and all-round performance in their only match or innings.