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 (20) without ever seeing a draw, up to Dec 29, 2019. 12 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). Alok Kapali shares this tally of 17 (0 wins and 17 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.

They saw only victories in their Test careers

These are the only players (who played in 5 or more Tests) whose team won all the tests in their career:

All win

Apart from Baptiste (to a limited extent), none of them had particularly distinguished Test careers. For instance, Lord Hawke was a specialist batsman whose Test batting average was under 10.  While GJ Bailey was a good limited-overs batsman he made only one fifty in Tests. They were fortunate in being in the right team at the right time-which was particularly true of Eldine Baptiste: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/51211.html

But there were others who had even longer winning streaks at the start of their careers.

Adam Gilchrist played 96 Tests, of which his team won 73, lost 11 and drew 12. They won all of his first 15 Tests from 5 Nov 1999 to 27 Feb 2001, until Harbhajan, VVS and Dravid spoilt Australia’s party at Kolkata.

Records of this type are not well documented, but the next in line seem to be Stuart Clark and Tim Bresnan with victories in each of their first 13 Tests.

Clark’s winning streak was from 16 Mar 2006 to 2 Jan 2008, and his career figures were 18 wins, 2 losses and 4 draws. He appears to have some Indian connection as his parents were Anglo-Indians who had migrated to Australia. As in Gilchrist’s case, his successful run ended when India won against Australia. This time it was at Perth.

Bresnan’s winning streak was from 6 May 2009 to 25 May 2012. He finished with 15 wins, 4 losses and 4 draws. He is unlikely to play Tests again.

More recently, Imran Khan (II) and “Palindrome Man” Aiden Markram saw victory in each of their first 5 Tests. While the latter is still a key player for his side, the former seems to have finished with 9 Tests with 6 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw.