More odd station signs in India

A number of odd things can be seen in station signs if one keeps one’s eyes open. Here are a couple picked up from the net. Copyrights of the pictures are that of their respective creators.

First, this one from New Delhi.

New Delhi..

Nothing out of the way, right? Now see this one, also from New Delhi:

New Delhi unofficial

See how the Punjabi inscription has been added. Just wondering if this was done by the railway staff or someone else.

Something similar has happened at Titagarh station near Barrackpore.

First see this one of Barrackpore, which can be taken as the “standard practice” in this area:


It can be seen that it has Bengali, Hindi and English.

Now see the sign at Titagarh:


It looks as if  an unofficial Urdu inscription has been added, like in the case of New Delhi above. Thanks to those who pointed this out.

It does look to be unofficial as the official signs would have the inscriptions of different languages to be of similar sizes and not in relatively tiny sizes as in these two examples.

To end on a lighter note, here is a more humorous example of modifying signs (this time from England):

Turban outfitters

Good neigbours

Examples of station signs with languages of neighbouring states.

Copyrights of the pictures belong to the respective photographers.

Raichur station-5 languages

Raichur in Karnataka and close to Telangana. Has Telugu apart from English, Hindi, Kannada and Urdu.


Nearby in Telangana there is Krishna. Has Kannada apart from English, Hindi, Telugu and Urdu.


Kollengode, Kerala. Has Tamil apart from Malayalam.


Pollachi, Tamil Nadu. Has Malayalam apart from Tamil.


Sini, near Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. Has Odiya and Bengali.

Finally, Pimpalkhuti in Maharashtra, close to Telangana.


Another odd thing. Many stations in Maharashtra have separate inscriptions for Hindi and Marathi even if they are identical, but not here. A typical example is this one from Miraj where Hindi and Marathi inscriptions are identical:


These are a few samples of good neighbourliness. Numerous other cases can be seen in other parts of India.

Station signs in undivided India

Here are some pictures of stations and signs as they were in the 1940s or earlier. It is interesting to see the languages used in some of  the signs, as these places are now in Pakistan

First, Karachi Cantt in the 1940s (from a film shot by a British soldier):

Karachi Cantt-1

Lahore, probably 1940s:


Landi Khana. This is truly a rare picture, as it could have been taken only between 1926 and 1932. Note the Gurumukhi script.


Landi Kotal, probably 1930s:

Landi Kotal Railway Station during British Raj

Landi Kotal another old

Shelabagh, close to Chaman on the border with Afghanistan and not too far from Kandahar. Note the southern end of the Khojak tunnel:

Shelabagh (old)

And finally Tanduri, on the now-closed Sibi-Khost section. It appeared in the 1891 timetable and never again. Perhaps the extreme heat gave it its name and hastened its closure:


(This picture seems to have been taken in 2009). The sign does look to be a century old.

Finally, this is what you would see while entering British India from Afghanistan at the Khyber Pass border checkpoint in the 1930s:

Afghan border

Afghan border (4)

It is easy to guess that the milestone refers to Peshawar, Jamrud and Landi Kotal. The station of Landi Khana was still closer to the border. It appears that an embankment and maybe rails were laid from there to the border, but trains never ran on them.

And when you tried to cross into Afghanistan at other points on the border, you would see this:

Afghan border(3)

All-round fails in Test matches

Data correct as of April 4, 2017.

No runs and no wickets in Test career:

No runs no wickets

There are 33 such cases. Only one, TAP Sekhar of India, has played in more than 1 Test. But he has been reasonably successful as a coach.

Most of the other names are unfamiliar, as they were dropped after one lacklustre performance. The names of JCW MacBryan and V Rajindernath would be more familiar to trivia-hunters. We will see more of them in a moment.

A further step is to identify those who had

No runs, no wickets and no fielding dismissals in their Test careers:

No run no wkt no dis

This is a subset of the upper table, as 12 of them had taken at least one fielding dismissal (notably V. Rajindernath with 4 stumpings). The 21 listed here did not even have that. TAP Sekhar is again the only one with more than one Test.

The case of HM Thurlow is of some interest as he was run out for 0 to leave Bradman on 299 not out in a Test against South Africa. See the 4th entry here:

Next we come to those who

Never batted or bowled in their Test career:

No batting no bowling

Our two friends again-but they did field. You may want to look up their entries:

Never batted, bowled or fielded in their Test career:

No batting no bowling no fielding

While two Netherlands players have achieved this in T20Is and one Sri Lankan in ODIs, everyone who played a Test has at least fielded, if not made a fielding dismissal. You may want to see MacBryan’s Test career here:

Play was possible only on the first of the three days scheduled, in which South Africa batted for 66.5 overs. MacBryan would have fielded through the day, but did not take a catch. Presumably he must have touched the ball at some point.

And Rajindernath could at least console himself with sharing the record for the Most stumpings on debut (4):

Most stumpings on debut



Scores which have never been made

To be precise, individual scores which have never been made in the different formats of Tests, ODIs and T20Is. Data is correct as on 3rd April 2017.

In all these cases * indicates “not out”. I feel that it is better to distinguish between the out and “not out” cases for each score. While some of the “not out” scores may have been scored in the course of an innings, they have never appeared in the final scorecards.

Tests: (Excluding match involving ICC XI), scores up to 310.

140*, 180*, 181*, 186*, 190*, 195*, 196*, 212*, 215*, 218*, 219*, 220*, 221*, 224*, 225*, 226*, 227*, 228*, (229, 229*), 233*, 234*, 237*, (238, 238*), 239*, 240*, 241, 243*, 244*, 245*, 246, 247, 248, 249*, 250*, 251*, (252, 252*), 254*, 255, 256*, 258*, 260*, 263*, (264, 264*), (265, 265*), 266*, 268*, 269, 271*, (272, 272*), (273, 273*), (276, 276*), 277*, (279, 279*), 280, 281*, (282, 282*), (283, 283*), (284, 284*), 285, (286, 286*), 287*, (288, 288*), (289, 289*), 290*, 291*, (292, 292*), 293*, 294*, (295, 295*), (296, 296*), (297, 297*), (298, 298*), (300, 300*), (301, 301*), 303, 304*, (305, 305*), (306, 306*), 307*, (308, 308*), 309*, 310.

ODIs: (Excluding matches involving ICC XI, Asia XI and Africa XI), scores up to 200.

147, 148*, (155, 155*), 158*, 164*, (165, 165*), (166, 166*), 167, (168, 168*), 170, 173*, 174, (176, 176*), 177*, 179*, 180, (182, 182*), (184, 184*), 186, (187, 187*), 188, (190, 190*), (191, 191*), (192, 192*), (193, 193*), (195, 195*), (196, 196*), (197, 197*), (198, 198*), (199, 199*), 200.

T20Is: scores up to 110.

82, 87, (92, 92*), 93, (95, 95*), 97, (102, 102*), 103, 104, (105, 105*), 106*, (107, 107*), (108, 108*), (109, 109*), 110.

The 140* in Tests seems to be a particularly strange outlier since it is far from the next score of 180*, which is followed by a number of 180s and 190s. ODIs and T20Is do not have such outliers.

Those who are interested in this area can extend this to First-class, List A and other T20 matches.

More on acronyms true and false

We begin with one of the frequent renamings of a railway station in India:


You can see that this is the new name of Mhow station. The town has been renamed by the state government. An example of the old sign:


Now, someone will say, is Mhow not a British name which needs to be changed? A surprisingly large number of people believe that the name means “Military Headquarters Of War”, an example of an acronym

However, if we look more closely into the description of this town, we find that this is not so.

From the section on “Etymology”, we see that it was known as Mhau or Mau long before the British built the cantonment there, and that the above explanation of the name is a backronym

We can guess that someone (probably a bored British soldier) invented this backronym as a joke which somehow became popular. After all “Military Headquarters Of War” is a non-standard phrase which really has no meaning-why not just Army Headquarters? And which war?

There are several other (non-Indian) examples of backronyms in the Wikipedia article. There are a couple of other place names in India which are thought to be acronyms but are not. Here is another one


This is another cantonment town, about 25 km south of Jhansi. Unlike Mhow which is a suburb of Indore, this is more of a standalone cantonment town. There is a brief article in Wikipedia:,_Uttar_Pradesh

Here it is mentioned that the name is derived from “British Army Base In Native Asia”. Elsewhere I have seen it with “Northern Asia”. As in the case of Mhow, someone seems to have “created” this explanation which got accepted by others. It is easy enough to see that this is a joke; have you come across the phrase “Native Asia” in any standard reference book or historical document? And Northern Asia is generally understood to mean Siberia, Mongolia and perhaps part of China which were never ruled by the British. And when there were hundreds of British Army bases all over the country, what was special about this place to deserve this name? It was and is of some importance, but is certainly not one of the largest cantonments in the country.

Yet another one pertains to this Air Force base. There is no railway station for hundreds of kilometres, so we make do with a map reference:’00.0%22N+77%C2%B022’48.0%22E/@34.65,77.38,13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d34.65!4d77.38?hl=en

and this

which mentions that the name stands for Transit Halt Of Indian Soldiers Enroute (to Siachen). This sounds a little more plausible than the examples quoted earlier.

However, a veteran IAF pilot who had served in this area in the 1960s pointed out that IAF transport aircraft were using this airstrip back then, long before anyone had heard of the Siachen Glacier. It was not until 1984 that our army took up positions there. It was known as Thoise even then, presumably named after a village in the vicinity.

One which is more likely to be a genuine acronym is Amla, short for AMmunition LAnd – unless it was named after the Amla fruit (and not the South African cricketer):

Amla station,_Madhya_Pradesh

Another Mhow-like joke which is quite persistent relates to Avadi in Chennai. This extract is from

“The word ‘Avadi’ has been considered as an acronym for “Armour-ed Vehicles and Ammunition Depot of India”, however this fact has no base since, the defense establishments in Avadi were set up only in the 1960s, whereas the town itself had existed long before this happened and with the same name. The name Avadi actually means in Tamil ‘a place filled with lot of cows’ ஆ (Aa) = cow + அடி (Adi) = location.”


More on Chinaman bowlers in Tests

This article:

gives a comprehensive history of all those who have bowled in the Chinaman style (left-hand wrist-spinner) at some point in their Test careers. I am going a little further in studying the performances of those who exclusively bowled in this style (even if they were not regular bowlers). A number of famous names including the alleged inventor Ellis Achong, Johnny Wardle, Gary Sobers and Bernard Julien bowled in various other styles.

So here are the “exclusively Chinaman” bowlers and their careers in brief. This is in chronological order:

Chinaman overall

Even the change bowlers have taken fivers and tenners.

The best innings bowling in this category is 7-75 by Lindsay Kline:

The best match bowling is 10-106 by Paul Adams:

There is also Michael Bevan’s tenner along with 85*, which makes him among the relatively few to score a fifty and take 10-wickets in a match:

A few years before that Allan Border also scored 75 and took 11 wickets with his little-used left-arm spin against the West Indies:

The full list of those who scored 50 and took 10 wickets in a match:

50 +10wm

Sir Richard Hadlee is the only one to do this more than once, while “Sir” Ravindra Jadeja also makes an appearance.

It is interesting to see that these occasional bowlers achieved a ten-wicket haul which well-known bowlers such as Willis, Brett Lee, Kallis, Thomson and Sobers were not able to manage during their long careers:

Over 200 wickets with no 10-for:

200 wkts without 10-for

Coming back to the Chinamen bowlers, here are the best innings and match bowling figures on debut:

Chinaman debut

The trio of PADLR Sandakan, LO Fleetwood Smith and Kuldeep Yadav have the best performances in innings as well as match bowling. Here is Sandakan’s debut:

We now look forward to competition between Sandakan and Yadav for being the best current Chinamen bowlers.

Footnote: Michael Bevan, who seems to have had some Indian ancestry, was soon dropped from the Test team as his batting was not good enough. He then became one of the mainstays of Australia’s ODI middle-order.