The Al-Jazeera Report Analyzed-1

Anyone who follows cricket (even the Test purists) should watch the report. Numerous bits and pieces can be seen on Youtube and directly on various news sites. But to get a full idea of the extent of the match-fixing industry it is well worth watching the hour-long report:

Some of the key takeaways:

How is it that a key man of the D company is freely functioning in Mumbai apparently without interference from the Mumbai police or anyone else? (One is struck with his quiet confidence and thorough knowledge of the “business”).

A relatively minor domestic player like Robin Morris seems to have made a lot more money from fixing than in his regular cricket career. Even if he had somehow got into IPL he would not have earned much. And he seems to have a particularly dumb sidekick who, unlike him, did play in a few Tests and ODIs.

Then there is the Morris – Rajkumar plan to organize T20 tournaments all over the world-whose only purpose is to make money through fixing. Almost like a never-ending Ponzi scheme or perpetual motion machine.

Although Al-Jazeera did not mention this, someone has already made a start in a “fraudulent” tournament in the UAE earlier this year. This was so blatantly a fixed tournament that the UAE authorities had to throw them out. A sample report:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-31/bizarre-scenes-uae-t20-league-icc-match-fixing-investigation/9377680

Other reports from that period can be found through Google. Not sure what ultimately happened there. But it sounds quite similar to what Morris (mainly) and Rajkumar were talking about. Clearly the players in this tournament had not been “trained” properly.

The allegations regarding Test matches pertain to

1) India vs England at Chennai in Dec 2016, the 5th Test which India won by an innings to take the 5-Test series 4-0: three English players (presumably specialist batsmen) are alleged to have manipulated the scoring rate. They have denied the charges. (Any guesses?) Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10732/scorecard/1034817/india-vs-england-5th-test-england-tour-of-india-2016-17/

Those who followed the match closely on TV or the net may be able to figure out who the guilty trio are. I am not hazarding any guess, except that they would probably be 1-7 in the batting order.

Afterthought: Was even the bowling fixed? Did that allow Karun Nair to make a triple hundred (which is still the ONLY score he has made above 50 in a Test)?

2) India vs Australia at Ranchi in March 2017. This was the third of 4 Tests, the only drawn Test of the series. India won 2-1. Here two Australian players (presumably specialist batsmen) similarly manipulated the scoring rate. Al-Jazeera said that there was no reply from them so far. Here, too we can try to guess who they may be, batting at 1 to 7. Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10839/scorecard/1062575/india-vs-australia-3rd-test-ind-v-aus-2016-17/

3) Sri Lanka vs India at Galle in July 2017. This was the first Test of the series, in which India won all three Tests by heavy margins. This time no players were involved, but merely manipulation of the pitch by the curator (?) and others. (But what was the bet? Merely that the match would be high-scoring). It was, in the sense that India made 600 batting first. But the Sri Lankan batsmen did so badly that they lost by over 300 runs in what was effectively an innings defeat, as India would have won by an innings if they had imposed the follow-on.

Galle has a history of pitch manipulation. The former curator, Test bowler J. Warnaweera, was suspended for 3 years by the ICC in early 2016 for non-cooperation with ICC investigators. This is with reference to earlier matches at Galle.

Here is the scorecard, for what it is worth:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17891/scorecard/1109602/sri-lanka-vs-india-1st-test-sl-v-ind-2017/

The Sri Lankan leg needs a little more study as most of the characters are quite unknown even in neighboring countries.

To be continued.

More about the honors boards at Lord’s-3

Having seen the honors boards for neutral Tests and for England, we now look at the corresponding boards for visitors playing Tests at Lord’s.

First, the 105 centuries by visitors:

Centuries at Lord's-1

Centuries at Lord's-2

Centuries at Lord's-3

The highest score here is 259 by GC Smith for SA in 2003.

India’s DB Vengsarkar is the only visitor to score 3 centuries at Lord’s, while several others have scored 2.

Centuries in each innings were made by Headley (106 and 107 for WI, 1939).

Centuries on debut were made by Graham (107 for Aus, 1893) and Ganguly (131 for Ind, 1996). Ganguly’s 131 is the highest by anyone making his Test debut at Lord’s. Graham was the first visitor to score a century at Lord’s.

Now we look at the 85 five-fors by visitors:

5-for at Lord's-1.JPG

5-for at Lord's-2

The best innings bowling by a visitor is 8-38 by McGrath for Aus in 1997, which is just behind Botham’s 8-34.

CTB Turner, Hadlee and McGrath took 3 five-fors apiece, and several others took 2.

Five-fors by visitors in each innings:

5wi in both innings at Lord's

Massie’s effort was on debut, and remains the best bowling for Australia in any Test. It was also the best match bowling by any debutant until India’s Hirwani inched ahead with 16-136 in 1987.

The following visitors took 5-fors on their Test debut at Lord’s:

5wi at Lord's on debut

Massie’s 8-53 is the best here. Nissar’s debut was in India’s first Test.

Visitors who took 10 wickets in a match at Lord’s:

10-for at Lord's

Ramadhin’s effort came in WI’s first victory in England (and the calypso “Cricket, lovely Cricket”).

Massie has the best match bowling figures at Lord’s. And he is the only visitor to take a 10-for on debut at Lord’s.

Looking at all-round performances, the following visitors have scored centuries and taken five-fors at Lord’s (though they may not be in the same Test):

Century and 5-for at Lord's

Mankad is the only visitor to score a century and take a five-for in the same Test at Lord’s (184 and 5-196 for Ind in 1952), while Miller did so in different Tests. Thus Botham and Mankad were the only ones to do this at Lord’s. Mankad’s efforts (which included another fifty) were not enough to prevent defeat for his side.

DJ Nash (56 and 11-169 for NZ in 1994) is the only visitor to score a fifty and take 10 wickets in a match at Lord’s. He and MM Ali are the only ones to do this at Lord’s.

This concludes our summary of batting and bowling performances which find their place on the various honors boards at Lord’s.

Now you may well ask “But wait! Where are Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Ponting and Lara? Or Lillee, Warne and Ambrose?”

Good questions, which deserve a separate post.

 

 

More about the honors boards at Lord’s-2

We now look at the honors boards in England’s dressing room.

A total of 129 centuries were made for England:

Eng-century at Lord's-1

Eng-century at Lord's-2

Eng-century at Lord's-3

The most centuries by an English batsman are 6 each by Gooch and Vaughan.

Centuries in both innings were made by Gooch (333 and 123 v Ind in 1990) and Vaughan (103 and 101* v WI in 2004). Gooch’s 333 is also the only Test triple century at Lord’s. This was also the first instance of a triple century and century in a first-class match. Some years later Sangakkara repeated this in a Test against Bangladesh.

The next highest score for England here is 240 by Hammond v Aus in 1938.

Those who scored a century on debut were Hampshire (107 v WI, 1969), Strauss (112 v NZ, 2004) and Prior (126* v WI, 2007).

Next we look at the 95 five-fors by England:

Eng-5wi at Lord's-1

Eng-5wi at Lord's-2

Eng-5wi at Lord's-3

The most five-fors are 8 by Botham followed by 5 each by Anderson and Trueman. Anderson may yet add to this.

The best performance here is 8-34 by Botham vs Pakistan in 1978, and he also scored a century in that match. Eight-wicket hauls have been made on 4 occasions by Botham (twice), Verity and Underwood.

There are numerous cases of five-fors in both innings. The most recent instance was by Woakes vs Pak in 2016.

It seems to be easier for debutants to take a five-for than to score a century at Lord’s. Here are those who took a five-for on debut:

Eng-5wi on debut at Lord's

Cork has the best figures here. No one has taken five-fors in each innings on debut.

And finally, we look at the rather shorter list of the 17 who took 10wm for England:

Eng-10wm at Lord's

Underwood is the only one to do so twice.

Verity’s 15-wicket haul is the best here.

Bedser is the only one to do so on debut.

And MM Ali is the only English player to score a fifty and take a ten-for in a Test at Lord’s. He finished the match with a hat-trick.

There are some who have scored both a century and a five-for at Lord’s (though not always in the same Test):

Eng-100 and 5wi at Lord's

Botham (108 and 8-34 v Pak in 1978) is the only one to do so in the same Test.

Those who scored both a century and ten-for at Lord’s:

Eng-100 and 10wm at Lord's

None of them scored a century and took 10 wickets in a match (in fact, this has happened only 3 times in all Tests, Botham being the first to do so.) Oddly enough, Allen and Broad scored their only Test centuries at Lord’s.

Finally, in the third part, we will look at the boards for visiting teams.

 

 

England-South Africa Tests (2017)-2

We now look at bowling records.

Most wickets (35 and above):

Most wickets

Unlike in batting, here the names at the top are from recent times. JM Anderson leads the England tally with 84 wickets, just overtaking the century-old record of 83 by SF Barnes. Morkel is next with 79 while Broad, Rabada and Moeen Ali are also here.

Best innings bowling (includes all instances of 8wi):

Best innings bowling

Most are from the olden days, except for DE Malcolm’s 9-wicket haul in 1994. Note the dominance of Lohmann and Barnes.

Best match bowling (includes all instances of 10wm):

Best match bowlng

From this series we only have Ali’s 10-112 at Lord’s. However, Rabada has the best figures for South Africa. Barnes appears here several times.

Bowling averages (minimum 2000 balls, below 35.00):

Bowl Avg

Barnes inevitably at the top, with Morkel, Broad and Anderson further down. Others such as Rabada and Ali have not bowled enough.

The best economy is by H Verity (1.45), followed by Goddard (1.67) and Laker (1.68)

The best strike rate is by Barnes (25.5) followed by Blythe (41.7) and Vogler (42.2)

Fielding:

Most dismissals (20 and above):

Most dismissals

MV Boucher has by far the most dismissals (103) with TG Evans at 53. Evans however has more stumpings. The most catches by a non-keeper is 43 by Mitchell. Current players here include de Villiers, Bairstow, de Kock and Cook.

Most dismissals in an innings (5 and above):

innings fielding

Only Bairstow from recent times.

Most dismissals in a match (7 and above):

Match fielding

de Kock made 7 dismissals in the current series. Bairstow made 9 in the previous series.

Dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings, 0.700 and above):

Dismissal rate

Boucher has by far the best dismissal rate, while GC Smith has the best among non-keepers. de Villiers, who has played both as a keeper and non-keeper, also ranks fairly high. Bairstow has not completed 20 innings yet.

All-round performance

Overall (note the criteria):

AR-overall

Surprisingly Hammond, a batsman who bowled a little, tops this list ahead of more established all-rounders such as Kallis and Pollock. Broad just makes the cut.

Match performance (Fifty and 5wi):

AR-match

Two such performances by Moeen Ali in this series. Hammond did this on his debut.

Ali achieved the somewhat uncommon feat of a fifty and 10 wickets in the same Test-and that too at Lord’s. This has been achieved only 27 times in all Tests. The only one to do this at Lord’s until now was New Zealand’s DJ Nash in 1994.

Another landmark for Moeen Ali

Perhaps Moeen Ali shaving his head made some difference (apart from being mistaken for Hashim Amla at a distance). In the first Test of the current series against South Africa he became one of the relatively few (25) to score a fifty and 10 wickets in the same match (Sir Richard Hadlee did so 3 times, while a false knight of the present also appears here):

10wm and fifty

He also became part of a select group of 40 to have scored both a century and a ten-for in Tests. Only IT Botham, Imran Khan and Shakib Al Hasan achieved this in the same Test.

Century and tenner

In the third Test, he finished the match with a hat-trick. This was the 43rd hat-trick in Tests and he became the 39th player to achieve this. H Trumble, TJ Matthews, Wasim Akram and SCB Broad took two hat-tricks apiece. The updated list of hat-tricks:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/136977.html

Finally, he joined a rather short list of 7 players who have scored a century and taken a hat-trick in Tests. Of these, Sohag Gazi is the only one to do so in the same Test-though he vanished from the international scene quite rapidly.

  1. J Briggs
  2. Wasim Akram
  3. Harbhajan Singh
  4. IK Pathan
  5. SCJ Broad
  6. Sohag Gazi
  7. MM Ali

Of these, 6 of them (i.e. excluding Sohag Gazi) have scored a century, taken a ten-for AND a hat-trick in Tests.

Saved by the last wicket

The West Indies players Gabriel and Chase should have remembered that no less than 22 Tests ended as a draw when the last wicket pair held on:

Saved by the last wicket-2

In some cases there were only a handful of runs to make for victory. The India-WI match of 2011 ended up as a draw with scores level (not a tie because all wickets had not fallen). England in 1963 also came close to victory with 5 runs to get. But in most cases a heavy defeat was averted because the last wicket did not fall.

They included some draws which critically influenced the result of a series. Take the last entry

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/667899.html

where the No 10 and 11 batsmen Eranga and Nuwan Pradeep survived for a draw.

In the 2nd and final Test of that series, No 11 James Anderson got out with one ball left. Thus Sri Lanka won the Test and the series.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-sri-lanka-2014/engine/match/667901.html

There are quite a few other cases where these 10th-wicket stands were critical. Like the one between Dhoni and Sreesanth in 2007, where India went on to win the series 1-0.

Interestingly the first such Test drawn by the last wicket pair was by India in 1946, with the long-forgotten Sohoni and Hindlekar at the crease:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62663.html

The above list is for the 4th innings where 9 wickets were down and the match ended with a draw. There have also been numerous cases where matches were drawn when 9 wickets in the third innings were down when the side was facing a possible defeat if the last wicket fell.

This cannot be directly be pulled out of Statsguru as in the above table. But all such 10th wicket survivor stories in the 3rd innings can be found below:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;innings_number=3;orderby=start;result=4;size=200;type=team;view=innings;wicketsmax1=9;wicketsmin1=9;wicketsval1=wickets

Ignore the declarations. Also, in many cases there would not have been enough time for the opponents to make a large number of runs. Maybe we can count cases where the potential target was less than 50 runs.

The narrowest escape would be this one of England vs SA in 1998, where England’s total in two innings exactly equaled SA’s total of 552. SA would have needed just 1 run to win, but England’s last pair of Croft and Fraser spent enough time to ensure that SA would not be able to bat even one ball:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63806.html

England’s escape at Cardiff in 2009 is also there, when Australia needed 13 runs to win.

While we are on this topic, also see the list of one-wicket victories. There have been only 12 in all Test cricket:

P-WI all 1-wkt victories

 

Those who missed the bus at Lord’s (Revised in Aug 2018)

The honors board at Lord’s are well known-anyone who scores a century or takes a fiver or a tenner gets his name on them, even if it is a neutral Test not involving England. If you need to brush up, see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord%27s_honours_boards

and for Indian players featured there, full details are here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/indian-cricketers-on-the-lords-honours-boards/

However, note this extract from the Wikipedia article:

“A number of very distinguished players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Curtly Ambrose and Brian Lara are not named on the honours boards.”

It may be recalled that there was much heartbreak when Sachin failed to score a century in 2011, which was generally understood then to be his last Test there.

We now look at the aspect of prominent players failing to reach a board-worthy performance at Lord’s despite several opportunities. And there are some visitors who simply did not get to play enough at Lord’s.

Many English players whose career lasted about 5 years would have played 10+ Tests at Lord’s. Visiting players with long careers usually manage 4 Tests, unless they miss one Test or series. So we begin by identifying those who batted in  at least 8 innings there. A further stipulation is that their batting position is 1 to 8, to eliminate tailenders without much batting ability.

So we have this for Most matches at Lord’s without a century:

Lord's batting flops

Atherton, Thorpe and Gatting played the most innings there without a century-particularly odd as Gatting played for Middlesex. Atherton did score 99 there and has the most fifties (7).

Visitors are led by Gavaskar and Tendulkar, followed by Azhar Ali,  Faulkner, AW Nourse and Ponting. Lara played in only 3 Tests and 6 innings. The highest averages here are by Dexter (51.62) and FS Jackson (47.71).

While most of the batsmen here scored at least one fifty, some did not. They include Ramprakash (HS 40 in 13 innings), bowling all-rounder Emburey, Brearley, wicketkeeper Downton, Tendulkar, Faulkner and Ponting. The lowest average here is 10.38 by Ramprakash who was a specialist batsman, unlike some of the others. Then comes all-rounder Pringle (16.11) and another famous batsman Ponting (16.87). Tendulkar at least got into the 20s.

Apart from Atherton’s 99, there are 90s by TE Bailey, JM Parks and FS Jackson.

Next, we take up bowlers who bowled at least 1000 balls (while bowling at no 1 to 5) and never took a five-for:

Lord's bowling flops-1

Hoggard has the most Tests (11) and innings (20) here with a best of 4-27. However Edmonds has the best bowling figures of 4-6, while Hoggard has the most wickets (37). Lillee (17 wkts), Kumble and Gibbs are the only visitors here.

Ambrose and Warne did not bowl enough balls here.

The best bowling average here is Laker’s 24.43, followed by Wardle’s 26.78.

And one gets similar results if we look for those who made the same effort and never took a ten-for:

Lord's bowling flops-2.JPG

Here, Anderson has the most wickets (103) with a best of 9-43. He may, of course, play a few more Tests at Lord’s. He also has the most 5-fors (6). Oddly enough Anderson has almost twice the wickets of the next bowler Willis with 47. The best bowling average is by Willis with 18.76 followed by Illingworth with 19.85.

Sir Richard Hadlee has the most wickets by a visitor (26).

 

 

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.