Captains in only one Test

There are a total of 43 captains who led their Test teams only once. This is for data up to Dec 3, 2019 at the end of the Aus-Pak and NZ-Eng series.

In many cases they happened to captain the side when the regular captain was unavailable due to injury or illness (or other reasons, as in 2018). In the earlier years some teams such as South Africa were not quite settled and had to frequently make changes. And West Indies in the early years had an informal rule that the captain for a particular Test had to be from the country where it was being played.

Some won, some lost and others drew.

Those who won:

Only win

Prominent stand-in captains include Bill Brown, Neil Harvey and Ravi Shastri. Shastri was fortunate to have Hirwani making his debut. CA Smith played his only Test and went on to make a career in Hollywood.

Mortaza was particularly lucky as he was injured for most of the match while Shakib deputised for him in Bangladesh’s second Test win and the first away from home. That was against what can best be called a West Indies C team, as those from the A and B Test teams boycotted the series.

Those who lost:

Only loss

DB Carr is remembered by Indian cricket historians as that loss in 1952 corresponded to India’s first victory. He was a stand-in for ND Howard.

Prominent stand-in captains include Pankaj Roy and Chandu Borde (whose teams were “whitewashed”), John Edrich, Gordon Greenidge, Dwayne Bravo, Mohammad Hafeez and Shane Watson.

And Shahid Afridi impulsively decided to stop playing Tests after this loss. That was one of the few neutral Tests at Lord’s. He was replaced by Salman Butt, and we know how that turned out.

N Betancourt captained because of the prevalent West Indies practice of having the captain from the territory where the Test was being played.

Those who drew:

Only Draw

Prominent stand-ins include George Headley, Ray Lindwall, Tom Graveney, Deryck Murray and Gary Kirsten.

Headley should have captained the West Indies earlier but for the long-established principle that only white men could captain the side.

Hemu Adhikari was thought to have done a good job as his team had lost the last three Tests by heavy margins. He was India’s 4th captain in the final match of a 5-Test series.

Also note the five who captained in their only Tests.

 

Aiden Markram is back

Refresh your memory here:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/600498.html

As readers of this column know, Aiden Markram has the longest palindromic name among international cricketers, with the competition coming from Rangy Nanan and Arun Lal.

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/palindromic-names-for-cricketers/

Apart from that, he had a good run at the start, with 97 on debut and centuries in his second and third Tests. (It helps if you are playing at home in South Africa against Bangladesh for two Tests followed by Zimbabwe).

Anyway, he was a sort of lucky charm for South Africa as they won in each of his first 5 Tests. India broke this spell when they won the 3rd Test of the 2017-18 series.

He had a bad tour of India in 2019, making a second-ball pair (or silver pair) in the second Test before being dropped for the third.

Anyway he holds another peculiar record in all Tests. He has played the most Tests (19) without ever seeing a draw. 11 of these matches were won by South Africa and 8 were lost.

The record was earlier held by George Lohmann (18 Tests) of long ago, who saw 15 wins and 3 losses. Next is a current player KK Jennings with 17 (12 wins and 5 losses).

I wonder if anyone has told Markram of this record. At least it sounds more impressive than being the 21st batsman to make a silver pair.

Test Captaincy Updates-2

Continuing from Part 1:https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/12/12/test-captaincy-updates-1/

We have seen which players have appeared in the most Tests, captained in the most Tests and have played in the most Tests while not captaining.

Now we look at those who 1) played their entire Test career as captains, and 2) played their entire Test careers NOT as captains.

The first list is relatively short:

Pure captains

Only 25 cases here. The top few are less-known except for LK Germon who was captain relatively recently. He was brought in as captain as the selectors felt that no other suitable captain could be found among the existing players. Sherwell and Germon were both wicketkeepers.

Tail piece: LK Germon does possess an odd record-he has scored the most runs on debut without scoring a fifty; 48 + 41 = 89.

We also see James Lillywhite jnr of England who captained his side in the first 2 Tests ever played and never played another,

In some cases certain players were appointed captains as they were amateurs rather than professionals, or if they were from the “nobility” as in the case of “Vizzy” and his British counterparts. In the early days of West Indies cricket, the captain was chosen from the players of the territory where the match was being played.

But clearly the players listed above were not good enough to stay in the team if their presence as captains was not essential. Vizzy, for example, was clearly not competent enough either as a batsman or captain.

More recently, WTS Porterfield captained Ireland in their first 3 Tests.

It is also interesting to note that the last 5 players made only a single Test appearance, in which they captained. The best known was CA Smith, later known as Sir Audrey Smith of Hollywood where he typically played roles of elderly Englishmen.

Now we go on to those who never captained in Tests.

There are over 1500 who played 5 or more Tests without ever being captains. Here we list

Those who played 85 or more Tests without ever captaining:

Pure non captains

England’s current players Anderson and Broad are in the first and third places, Anderson having crossed Warne’s mark of 144 recently. The national record holders would therefore include Anderson (149 for England), Warne (144 for Australia), VVS Laxman (134 for India), Muralitharan (132 for Sri Lanka), Ntini (101 for South Africa), CEL Ambrose (98 for WI) and Sir Richard Hadlee (86 for New Zealand). Further down there is Mudassar Nazar with 76 for Pakistan, GW Flower (67 for Zimbabwe) and Javed Omar (40 for Bangladesh).

There may be various reasons why they were never considered suitable for captaincy. However, Warne did captain Australia in a few ODIs. The knowledgeable feel that he may have been a better captain than some of his contemporaries.

 

Test captaincy updates-1

It is easy enough to get updated tables like this:

(All these tables are updated to Dec 3, 2019):

Most Tests (120 and above)

Most Tests

Current players with the most Tests are Anderson (149), Broad (134) and Amla (124).

Another table which is easy to create:

Most Tests as Captain (40 and above):

Most Tests as captain

Kohli is the only current player here. He has captained in 53 Tests and has still to overtake Dhoni (60). He overtook Ganguly (49), Gavaskar and Azharuddin (47) not long ago.

But this one needs a little more work with Excel:

Most Tests NOT as Captain (105 and above):

Most Tests NOT as captain

Current players here are Anderson (149), Broad (134) besides recent retirees de Villiers (111) and Amla (110). Note that some, like Tendulkar and Kallis, have captained for a few Tests but others such as Anderson and Broad have never captained. More about these cases shortly.

 

 

India-West Indies T20I review-Dec 2019

The 3-match series in India was won by India with  2-1 margin. Earlier this year India had won 3-0 in a series spread over the USA and West Indies.

Here is a summary of the 17 T20I matches between these teams:

Ind v WI T20I results

These can be summarized as:

Results summary

India still has a healthy 10-6 lead.

Individual records: Batting

Most runs (100 and above):

Batting-100 total

The trio of RG Sharma, Kohli and Rahul have the most runs. While E Lewis is the only one with 2 centuries, Sharma and Kohli each have five 50+ scores.

Highest innings (75 and above):

Innings-75

Kohli and Rahul scored 90s in this series.

Most wickets (5 and above):

Bowling-most wickets

Jadeja leads now, with K Yadav and B Kumar from the current series.

Best innings bowling (3wi and above):

Innings bowling

None of these performances are from the current series. But note DL Chahar’s 3-4 from earlier this year.

Fielding: Most dismissals (4 and more):

Fielding-most dismissals

RG Sharma has the most catches followed by Pollard. Dhoni, Pant and Ramdin have the most dismissals as a keeper.

Most innings dismissals (3 and above):

innings dismissals

KD Karthik has the most dismissals by a keeper.

Best all-round match performances (20 runs and 2 wickets):

AR-match.JPG

Bravo’s performance in the 2009 World Championship is one of the best in all T20Is.

Test cricket returns to Pakistan

The last Test in Pakistan was scheduled to be played from March 1 to 5, 2009.

There was no play after the second day. A contemporary report:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/22788732/sl-cricketers-injured-terror-attack

And the scorecard, for what it is worth:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/13778/scorecard/388994/pakistan-vs-sri-lanka-2nd-test-sri-lanka-tour-of-pakistan-2008-09

Since then, Pakistan has played Tests only away or at neutral venues (mainly in UAE, also 2 in England). There have been a small number of T20Is and ODIs played in Pakistan in the past few years:

T20Is in Pakistan since March 2009:

T20Is in Pak since 2009

ODIs in Pakistan since March 2009:

ODIs in Pak since 2009

It is also apparent that any Pakistani player who made his Test debut since 3 March 2009 would never have played at home until now. They are:

Pakistani Test debutants after Mar 2009

It can be seen that these 46 players include the present captain (Azhar Ali) and the previous captain (Sarfaraz Ahmed) who made their debuts in 2010, besides key players such as Asad Shafiq and Shan Masood. There is also Fawad Alam who made his debut in Sri Lanka in 2009 but has not played any Test since that series, but may well play in the forthcoming series.

And there are others such as Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Amir who came and went without ever playing in a home Test.

You can see a review of past Tests between Pakistan and Sri Lanka here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/review-of-pakistan-sri-lanka-tests/

Note that their last meeting was in the UAE in late 2017, when Sri Lanka won 2-0. They were among the very few teams to beat Pakistan in a series in the UAE.

 

RIP Bob Willis-some notes on his career

Basic details can be seen here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/22462.html

He captained England in 18 Tests in 1982-84, when the team won 7, lost 5 and drew 6.

There are relatively few “pure” bowlers who had extended runs as captains. This is an attempt to list them:

Bowler captain (Willis)

Botham did not do well as a batsman or bowler (or indeed as a captain) during his tenure.

Willis also holds a record of taking the most wickets (325) without ever taking a 10-for. These are the bowlers with this distinction with 200 or more wickets:

Most wkts with out 10WM

While Siddle may play a few more Tests, he is unlikely to come close to 325 wickets. Morne Morkel and Brett Lee may have surpassed this after a few more Tests if they had not retired.

For comparison, we see who has taken the most wickets without ever taking a five-for:

Most wickets without 5wi

While Hendrick was certainly a specialist bowler, most of the others here were considered all-rounders. Some were batsmen who bowled occasionally. We can see that NJ Astle has the most wickets without a 4-for.

And finally, he may be one of the few cricketers who legally changed their name to that of someone whom he admired. However, Bob Dylan outlived him. (He is only 8 years older than Willis).

Willis was not much of a batsman, with a top score of 28* and  career Test average of less than 12. He normally batted at No 10 or 11. However, he normally did stay long enough to help other batsmen to add more runs. The best such instance was in this Test in 1980:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17053/scorecard/63269/england-vs-west-indies-4th-test-west-indies-tour-of-england-1980

England made 370 and the West Indies 265 in reply. In the 3rd innings, England collapsed to 92/9 when Willis came in to join Willey (who was not considered to be an established batsman at that time; he had two fifties with a top score of 62* at that time). So England led by 197 with 3:30 hours left, and surely the West Indies would make light work of a target of around 200. But this did not happen. Wisden 1981 had this to say:

“At The Oval, July 24, 25, 26, 28, 29. Drawn. Considering a complete day was lost to the weather, that only 29 wickets fell, and that West Indies averaged 12.3 overs an hour, the fourth Test was a much better match than it might have been. Its main features were Gooch’s tremendous attacking 83 which inspired England’s best batting of the summer, a West Indian collapse that put them in momentary danger of a follow-on, and an unbroken last-wicket stand of 117 between Willey and Willis that saved England from defeat.

How England came to be 92 for nine in their second innings after making 370 in the first is something that requires no explanation to anyone familiar with the brittleness of their batting, or with the potency of Holding, Croft and Garner. When Willey and Willis came together a West Indian victory looked likely with England only 197 ahead and with three and a half hours left. Yet they played with exemplary coolness and courage, and after a surprisingly short time showed no sign of being parted.

West Indies were badly handicapped by injuries to Croft and Garner, but Holding and Marshall were still relatively fresh when the ninth wicket fell twenty-five minutes after lunch. Willis’s 24 not out equalled his highest score in 80 innings for England and followed a sequence of ten innings in which he had only once reached double figures. Sadly, because of his lost bowling form, it proved to be his last Test innings of the season.

For all that was owed to the ungainly effectiveness of Willis’s lunging forward stroke, it was to Willey that England were mainly indebted for survival. Ironically, he would not even have been playing had Greenidge caught him at 13 in the Old Trafford Test a fortnight earlier – an escape which enabled him to add 62 not out to an aggregate of 90 in his ten previous innings for England. It was to his reputation as a fighter that Willey owed his continued presence in the side, and at The Oval he justified the selectors’ faith in him. Arriving at 67 for six, thirty-five minutes before lunch, he showed the full face of the bat to the West Indian fast bowlers from the moment he came in. He held concentration and resolve as Botham, Knott and Dilley were briskly swept aside, resourcefully protected Willis from the strike and, when the West Indian effort faded, availed himself of a well-deserved first hundred.”

While this was not noticed at the time, it was the first time that a 10th-wicket pair succeeded in doubling the score (from 92/9 to 209/9). This happened after over a hundred years of Tests, and has indeed happened only on 6 occasions from 1980 to 2019 as detailed here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/11/13/batting-recoveries-1-doubling-the-score-by-the-10th-wicket-partners/

So the West Indies held on to their 1-0 lead going into the final Test which was also drawn. Later that decade they beat England 5-0 in England in 1984, 5-0 in the West Indies in 1985-86 and 4-0 again in England in 1988. Hence the wisecracks about the “blackwash” being followed by a “dark grey wash” in 1988.