The last time it happened

The last time the West Indies won a Test in England was at Birmingham on June 15, 2000.

On that date:

Hillary Clinton was in the White House-as First Lady.

Few outside the US had heard of Barack Obama. They had heard of an eccentric millionaire called Donald Trump.

Few outside Gujarat had heard of Narendra Modi. If they heard his name, they assumed that it referred to Sushil Modi, then and now the main BJP leader in Bihar.

But some things do not change. On that date Vladimir Putin and Robert Mugabe were Presidents of their respective countries. They still are (though Putin took a break in between). Even North Korea has seen a change of rulers, admittedly from the same dynasty.

But there are other records which were more durable. England never won a Test against the West Indies  between April 1974 and February 1990 (almost 16 years, a little less than the period mentioned above).

And they never won a Test against the West Indies at home between July 1969 and July 1991, a 22-year stretch.

A long stretch, from Nixon to Bush Sr. , and from Indira Gandhi to Narasimha Rao via Morarji Desai and others. But Queen Elizabeth was there throughout, for a small part of her ongoing 65-year reign. So was Fidel Castro, who was undisputed leader of his country for 49 years.

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The predecessors of Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh

Quite a mouthful. You might as well call him by his stage name MSG, which is more commonly known as monosodium glutamate, which is supposed to be harmful to health.

There are, however, a number of real cases of multi-religious names. One is Major-General George Bharat Singh, who was prominent in the 1965 war. Unfortunately there is no suitable reference on the net, though you will find his name easily enough through Google.

There was a lesser-known but moderately successful cricketer named Ashish Winston Zaidi, who played for UP in the Ranji Trophy for many years:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/36137.html

The Indian film industry was fond of titles like this. The best known is “Amar Akbar Anthony”, but there were also “John Jani Janardhan” (with Rajnikanth, no less) and “Ram Robert Rahim” in various languages around the same time.

And the song “Love Charger” evoked memories of the chargers used by Papillon and his friends.

“From the beginning of the book you’re left in no doubt as to how hard you needed to be to survive. On the boat heading for South America each prisoner carries his own ‘charger’, a slim metal cylinder for storing your cash – cash that would be sorely needed in order to make a break.

I kissed this three-and-a-half-inch , thumb-thick tube before shoving it in my anus. It went up high into my large intestine. It was part of me.”

 

Little-known facts about Bangladesh cricket-1

A common question asked is “Was there any East Pakistani who played in Tests for Pakistan?” and most cricket fans, even from that part of the world, are not sure of the answer.

As Bob Dylan might say: the answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind, but can be found after some research on the internet.

See this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Pakistan_first-class_cricket_teams

and a list of East Pakistani cricketers here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_East_Pakistan_first-class_cricketers

Note this extract:

“These included six Test cricketersMahmood Hussain, Mohammad Munaf, Mufassir-ul-Haq, Nasim-ul-Ghani, Naushad Ali, and Niaz Ahmed[6] No native East Pakistanis, Bengali or otherwise, represented Pakistan’s national side at Test level. The closest was Raqibul Hasan, who was twelfth man against the touring New Zealanders during the 1969–70 season, and the following season represented a full-strength Pakistan side against a Commonwealth XI.[7] Raqibul went on to serve as Bangladesh’s inaugural captain in the 1979 ICC Trophy, and later played two One Day International (ODI) matches for the team.[8] Two other East Pakistan players went on to play for Bangladesh in ICC Trophy matches—Ashraful Haque and Shafiqul Haque.[9][10]”

However, the information in this extract is not quite correct. The first 5 Pakistani players mentioned were indeed from West Pakistan and appear to have spent some time in East Pakistan for employment or other reasons. Mahmood Hussain and Nasim-ul-Ghani were fairly prominent in their time.

However, the case of Niaz Ahmed is different.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan/content/player/42069.html

and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niaz_Ahmed

The Wikipedia entry is more detailed than the one on Cricinfo. Niaz Ahmed was born in Benares in the United Provinces (now Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh) and his family moved to East Pakistan after Partition. He appears to have spent his early life there, when he made his two Test appearances in 1967 and 1968-69. He and his family then moved to Pakistan after the liberation of Bangladesh and settled in Karachi. He died there in 2000.

While he appears to have been originally from UP and not a Bengali, he did spend his early life in East Pakistan and started his cricketing career there. Thus, although he did not achieve much in his Test career (2 Tests, 17 runs and 3 wickets) we have to consider him as the only permanent resident of East Pakistan to have played in official Tests for Pakistan.

Then there is Raqibul Hasan:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/bangladesh/content/player/56070.html

and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raqibul_Hasan_(cricketer,_born_1953)

He was indeed a Bengali, born in Dacca in 1953. He was also 12th man in the P v NZ Test at Dacca in 1968-69, though those outside the playing XI are ignored in the records. However, he did play in what might be called an unofficial Test side, for the BCCP  XI vs International XI in early 1971, just before the Liberation War began:

Scorecard of this match:

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1970S/1970-71/INT-XI_IN_PAK/INT-XI_BCCP-XI_26FEB-01MAR1971.html

The BCCP  XI seems to be practically a full-strength Pakistani team, as most of the players did play in the Test series in England later in 1971-the same season in which India recorded its first Test and series win in England.

Note that the International XI consisted mainly of English players (essentially fringe and former Test players). Probably the best known members would be wicketkeeper JT Murray and the Australian bowler Neil Hawke. It is not clear how Pakistani test player Younis Ahmed and another Pakistani first-class player Wahid Yar Khan were playing in this team.

(Wahid Yar Khan, like Asif Iqbal, had grown up in Hyderabad in India and started his cricket career there before moving to Pakistan in the 1960s).

After this, Raqibul, like most Bengalis in East Pakistan, underwent a lot of hardships when the war resulted in  the deaths of many of his family and friends. He went on to be Bangladesh’s first cricket captain in the initial stages, and even played in two ODIs in the Asia Cup in 1985-86 besides a number of other limited-over matches (such as those in the ICC Trophy in 1979) which did not have ODI status. At that time Bangladesh was classified as an Associate and only their Asia Cup matches had ODI status.

So the question is now answered. Niaz Ahmed was the only permanent resident of East Pakistan who played for Pakistan in Tests.

And Raquibul Hasan was the only Bengali who played for Pakistan in what can be described as an unofficial Test.

 

A strange little cricket tournament

This was an international 50-over championship, but is not even considered as List A as the teams are not considered to be of a sufficient standard. This is one of the steps which need to be taken by teams aspiring for a higher status in cricket’s pecking order. In this recently conducted cricket tournament (held at Chiang Mai, Thailand), the participants were from different parts of Asia, ranging from Qatar to Bhutan to Thailand.

This was the points table:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-wcl-asia-region-division-1/engine/series/1089458.html?view=pointstable

Also, the determined cricket fan can skim through the results and scorecards:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-wcl-asia-region-division-1/engine/series/1089458.html

Note that China failed to cross three figures in all matches, with scores ranging from 28 to 74. Bhutan was slightly better as they beat China and once managed 104/9.

But one would be foolish to write off Chinese cricket. Hong Kong is doing well enough in the Associates. More importantly, remember how China came from nowhere to become a major force in the Olympics.

More about the lower rungs of cricket-playing countries in the link below. The rankings may not be up to date, but you do have a clear idea of who comes after Afghanistan and Ireland, with ranks going down to 30 (Italy) and 31 (Guernsey).

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

Tail piece: Anyone in that area who was bored by the cricket could also have played porn ping pong at this place:

http://www.pornpinghotelchiangmai.com/

Karun Nair’s Test records

You will remember the fuss about Karun Nair when he scored his triple century in his third Test at Chennai. We now look at his oddly skewed Test career after he has completed 6 Tests. This should be apparent from this sequence of scores:

KK Nair innings seq

He has a respectable average of 62.33. But he scored 303 of his 374 runs in one innings (81.0 %) and never made another score above 50. To be precise, his next highest score is only 26.

It is hoped that he will play at least a few more Tests and score more centuries. Until then, he holds a couple of records in all Tests. This does NOT include the highest maiden century, as Gary Sobers (365*) and Bob Simpson (311) are ahead.

Highest score by someone who scored only one century ( 150 and above):

Highest score with one century

KK Nair heads this list, ahead of England’s RE Foster who held the record for about 113 years. His 287 was the world Test record until early 1930 when Andy Sandham made 325 (in his last Test), though Bradman crossed it with 334 later the same year.

Foster, Kuruppu, Fawad Alam, K Ibadulla, C Bannerman and A Jackson  were making their Test debuts. Gillespie made his only century in his last Test while batting as nightwatchman. There are several other current players here led by MT Renshaw with 184.

Another quirky record is the highest Test score made by someone who never made a fifty (i.e. a score between 50 and 99). This gets a bit messy due to Statsguru’s limitations, but we get these figures:

Highest score by those who scored one century and no fifty (110 and above):

1 century no fifty

Highest score by those who scored two centuries and no fifties (all cases):

Two century, no fifty

And finally:

Highest score by those who scored three centuries and no fifties (all cases):

Three century no fifty

No one has scored more than three centuries without a fifty. For a short time KL Rahul shared the record with Bopara. But Rahul scored his first fifty soon after he scored his third century.

As we can see, KK Nair is the only one to score a triple century but no fifty. David Lloyd and Brendon Kuruppu are the only ones to score a double century but no fifty. And Ravi Bopara’s Test career may be over, but he also holds a record which may not be broken for a long time.

KK Nair is also the only current player with one or more centuries and no fifties.

 

 

 

 

 

More on acronyms true and false

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

mhow-city-railway-station-name-changed-in-dr-ambedkar-nagar-1484832390

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:

Mhow

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.

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

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

Babina

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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babina,_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:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/34%C2%B039’00.0%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

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amla,_Madhya_Pradesh

Another Mhow-like joke which is quite persistent relates to Avadi in Chennai. This extract is from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avadi#Toponymy

“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.”

 

Rail Quiz No 2

Here is a fairly simple one for those who are familiar with timetables of the 1970s:

What was common between these four stations as of the mid-70s (but not today):

 

Answer: These stations had three gauges of lines.

The first to get it right was Abhirup Sarkar.

Notes for those who are interested:

Remember, all this applies to the 1970s and not now.

BG, MG and NG are mentioned in order for each case.

NJP: The main line to New Bongaigaon, branch line from Siliguri, 2’0″ DHR to Darjeeling.

Bangalore City: Main line from Madras, various lines to Mysore, Hubli etc, 2’6″ line  to Bangarapet via Yelahanka, Chikballapur and Kolar. The NG terminus moved to Yelahanka in the 80s. Now that line is also BG. Possibly Yelahanka had all 3 gauges for some time.

Miraj: Main line from Bombay and Poona, main line from Bangalore, branch line to Kurduwadi. (Up to around 1970 it was on the MG line from Poona to Bangalore. BG conversion got up to Miraj and Kolhapur and then stopped for many years).

Ujjain: Major branch line from Bhopal to Nagda and Indore, minor branch line from Indore via Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj, 2’0″ branch to Agar which probably closed in the 80s. This was originally part of the Scindia State Railway which also ran three similar branches out of Gwalior, one of which still runs on NG.