The real Knights of cricket

We have grown accustomed to hearing jokes about Sir Ravindra Jadeja. Let us see who are the genuine Knights of cricket.

Firstly, the British sovereign proclaims someone a knight based on the recommendations of the government of the day. The gentleman concerned would be a citizen of the U.K. or one of the other countries which presently regard the British sovereign (presently Queen Elizabeth II) as their head of state. The countries of interest here are Australia, New Zealand and some (but not all) of the countries of the West Indies. Canada is also included, although it has not produced any famous cricketers yet. Those countries who do not regard the  Queen as the Head of State include many Commonwealth countries such as India and its neighbours, besides South Africa. This should make it clear:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_headed_by_Elizabeth_II

So here is a list of those who were knighted for their services to cricket, besides some cricketers who were knighted for other reasons:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cricketers_who_were_knighted

Another article on cricketing knights from the West Indies:

http://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/26392726

Another general article which summarizes the topic:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/60096.html

 

Tests between Pakistan and the West Indies-2

Continuing the review. Hope you have seen the first part.

Looking at fielding:

Dismissals (10 and above):

pak-wi-fielding

Imtiaz Ahmed has the most stumpings (8), Alexander the most catches by a keeper (25) and Viv Richards the most catches by a non-keeper (23) followed by Greenidge with 19. No current players here other than Younis Khan.

Most catches in an innings (4 and above):

pak-wi-innings-field

No recent instances. The much-maligned Kamran Akmal did do his share of catching.

Most catches in a match (5 and above):

pak-wi-match-field

As above, no instance after 2005 but Kamran Akmal tops the list. Note Imtiaz Ahmed’s consistency.

Highest dismissal rates (Minimum 20 innings, all instances):

pak-wi-dis-rate

Oddly enough no specialist wicketkeeper appears here as none of them played enough. Richards, Majid and Richardson top the list. You can however see their dismissal rates in the first table above, with Kamran Akmal having  a rate of 2.777 in 9 innings.

All-round performance (overall):

pak-wi-ar

Only these two played enough to meet this modest target.

All-round performance in a match (50 and 5wi):

pak-wi-match-ar

Gayle’s forgotten all-round ability appears here.

Tests between Pakistan and the West Indies-1

Better late than never. Here is a summary of all Tests between these countries including the recently concluded series in the UAE. A point of interest was that the West Indies recorded their first victory over Pakistan in neutral Tests, having lost 2-0 in 2002 and now 2-1. We see that they had lost all 4 neutral Tests against Pakistan till then.

49 Tests have been played between these countries. Pakistan now lead 18-16 with 15 draws. A summary:

                    Pak      WI       Draw  Total

In Pak         9              4          8           21

In WI           5             11          7           23

Neutral       4               1         0             5

Total          18            16      15           49

We now look at batting:

Most runs (500 and more):

pak-wi-runs

M. Yousuf has the most centuries (7) followed by Inzamam and Lara with 4 apiece

M. Yousuf also has the most 50+ scores with 10, while four others have made 9.

And M. Yousuf has scored the most runs in this series though he played in  a relatively small number of Tests.

Highest innings (150 and above):

pak-wi-hs

The top score here was the world record Test score for almost 40 years and strangely enough, Gary Sobers’s maiden Test hundred. In the same series, Pakistan recorded their highest score of this series which was one of the longest in all first-class cricket. It is still Pakistan’s highest Test score and the longest innings in all Tests (though no longer the first-class record).

Azhar Ali is the only current player here.

Highest batting averages (20 or more innings, all instances):

pak-wi-avg

Wasim Raja tops this rather surprisingly. But heavy scorers such as M. Yousuf (101.16 in 14 innings), Sobers (89.45 in 13 innings) and Hanif (73.60 in 11 innings) did not play enough to feature here. See the first table above for their averages.

Mention must also be made of Kraigg Brathwaite’s batting feat (which deserves a post to itself): https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/kraigg-brathwaites-unique-feat/

Now for bowling:

Most wickets (20 and more):

pak-wi-bowling

The top few names are as expected, while newcomers such as Bishoo and Yasir Shah are climbing rapidly.

Imran has the most fivers (6), followed by 4 each by Akram and Walsh. No one has taken more than one tenner.

Best innings bowling (6 or more wickets):

pak-wi-innings-bowl

Bishoo’s 8-49 was the second best in this series, though his team did not win that match. The only other current player here is Yasir Shah at the bottom, though at least his team did win.

Best match bowling (9 or more wickets):

pak-wi-match-bowl

Bishoo and Yasir Shah also appear here.

Best bowling average (Minimum 2000 balls, all instances):

pak-wi-bowl-avg

Current players will take a while to reach here.

It can be seen that the best economy rates are 2.05 by Gibbs and 2.36 by Fazal. The best strike rates are 39.6 by Younis and 41.7 by Croft.

To be continued.

Kraigg Brathwaite’s unique feat

In the excitement over the West Indies finally winning a Test against a “respected” opponent, an unique record was overlooked. KC Brathwaite became the only opener to remain unbeaten in both innings of a Test.

The scorecard: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/1050233.html

You would expect that this would have happened before, but it hasn’t.

kc-brathwaite

The nearest equivalent I could think of was Desmond Haynes who opened and was last out in both innings in this test-though he had the mortifying experience of seeing his side lose the Test (and series) by one wicket: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63259.html

Other points of interest: Kraigg is one of the few who have scored over 200 runs in a Test in two unbeaten innings:

kcb-2

He is also one of 28 to have scored unbeaten 50-plus scores in each innings-which Chanderpaul was fond of doing. GC Grant and Azhar Mahmood achieved this on debut. Aravinda de Silva remains the only one to make two unbeaten centuries in a Test. Other surprising entries in this list include Wriddhiman Saha:

kcb-3

Probably Kraigg deserves a little calypso in his honour.

(Thanks to Abhishek Risbud for suggesting this potential record).

Bangladesh’s greatest Test win

While Bangladesh has made good progress in limited-over cricket in recent years, the just-concluded Test at Mirpur is historic. To understand this clearly, we look at the the team’s 8 Test victories:

bangladesh-test-history

This is their first victory against a full-strength “regular” team, not a fellow minnow such as Zimbabwe-even if it was a 3-0 sweep as in 2014.

And we don’t count the two wins against a West Indies third XI which included many debutants who (apart from Kemar Roach) vanished without a trace. The stand-in captain Floyd Reifer witnessed clean-sweep losses in the Test as well as the ODI series. In the course of the series he talked about his team improving. A journalist asked him, “Have you been smoking something that sounds like your name?”

(Those familiar with American crime novels would know that “reefer” is one of the numerous synonyms for marijuana).

It should be remembered that Bangladesh came very close to winning their first Test back in 2003, but were thwarted by the last-wicket pair of Inzamam (138*) and debutant Yasir Ali (1*): http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64045.html

Yasir Ali never played a Test again, but much was heard of another debutant Salman Butt in years to come.

 

The saga of Uton Dowe

You might not have heard of the West Indian cricketer  Uton Dowe. Not surprising, as he played only 4 Tests in the early 1970s without great success. As we will see, he did lend his name to some of the better remembered PJs in cricket.

A summary of his cricket career:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/player/51653.html

At least his picture is there, unlike in many of the Cricinfo profiles of lesser-known players.

It is evident that he was not much of a batsman, so we move to his Test bowling performances:

dowe-bowling

His first Test was at Bridgetown vs India in 1970-71, the series which marked India’s first Test and series wins against the West Indies. This was the 4th Test of the series, and it is worthwhile to look at the scorecard: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63069.html

Dowe took the wickets of Gavaskar (1), Krishnamurthy (1) and Jaisimha (0) to help reduce India to 70/6 facing a WI total of 501. This was the only time in 8 innings in this series that Gavaskar scored less than 50, so this was quite an achievement on Dowe’s part.

In those days the Indian lower order were not expected to stage comebacks, but times had changed and Sardesai (150), Solkar (65) and even Venkat and Bedi contributed to a total of 347. The match ended tamely with Gavaskar making his second Test century (117*). Dowe finished with 4/69 and 1/22. He again played in the 5th Test with less success, with 2/99 and 0/55. West Indies narrowly escaped defeat and a 2-0 series loss here.

Now we come to the Gavaskar calypso:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V2UUuKcIeA

Note this stanza in which our friend Uton Dowe figures:

“Govindraj and Durani
Solkar, Abid Ali
Dilip Sardesai and Viswanath
They make West Indies bowlers
Look like second raters
When those fellas came out here to bat
West Indies tried Holder and Keith Boyce
They had no other choice
They even try with Uton Dowe
But ah sure that they sorry they bring him now

Anyway, he played 2 more Tests. Against NZ in the first Test of the 1971-72 series, he took 3-75 and 1-46 and was not seen again in the Test side for that series. Incidentally that 5-Test series was all-drawn. This is the 4th and last time this has happened, and the only such series not involving India.

He was to play one more Test, which was against Australia in 1972-73. This time he took 1-96 and 0-72, while Keith Stackpole took a particular liking to his bowling:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63100.html

It was not surprising that this ended up in his Cricinfo profile:

Prone to being wildly erratic, he was mauled by Keith Stackpole to such an extent in the Jamaican Test of 1971-72 that the crowd erected a series of banners proclaiming an 11th commandment: “Dowe shalt not bowl.”

He did not play international cricket after that. But he should have the satisfaction of having his name immortalized in a calypso and an entry in any book of famous cricketing slogans.

A more detailed account of cricket calypsos (the 1950 one and the 1971 one) can be seen here: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/down-memory-lane-the-cricket-calypsos-of-1950-and-1971/

Ken Higgs R.I.P.

Ken Higgs, who played 15 Tests for England in the mid-1960s, died on September 7 aged 79. Highlights of his career can be seen here:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/14189.html

He played a role in what may be called one of the greatest fightbacks in Test cricket.

In 1966 the all-conquering West Indies team captained by Gary Sobers had won 3 of the first 4 Tests (two by an innings, another by over a hundred runs). When Brian Close was pulled out of near-oblivion as captain, the 5th Test started predictably.

In reply to WI’s 268, England got to 166/7. Then followed one of the greatest tail-end recoveries in all Tests:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62995.html

Graveney and JT Murray put on 217 for the 8th wicket, while the no 10 and 11 (K Higgs and JA Snow) scored fifties apiece in a stand for 128 for the 10th wicket, bringing the total up to 527. Stung by this unexpected resistance, West Indies made 225 and lost by an innings and 34 runs.

Higgs also held the record for the best 4-wicket analysis in Tests jointly with Pervez Sajjad from the mid-60s onwards. Their 4-5 was surpassed by Graeme Cremer’s 4-4 a few years ago. Here are the best 4-wicket innings analyses in all Tests:

best-4-wkt-hauls

Anyway, Higgs could enjoy his joint world record for over 47 years.