ABD and the record books (again)

AB de Villiers is no stranger to the record books for batting in ODIs. See


However, his luck ran out soon after he became South Africa’s captain in the ongoing Test series. He started with 36 and 0 (off 5 balls) in the 3rd test and then a second-ball duck in each innings of the 4th. This might be called a silver pair or queen pair, since the first-ball counterpart is called a golden pair or king pair.

There are relatively few captains who have scored pairs:

Captain with pair

This list includes some famous names like VS Hazare, FMM Worrell and R Benaud amongst others. AB de Villiers is 21st on this list (besides being the second South African after LJ Tancred in the 1912 tri-series).

The above table could be easily pulled out of Statsguru. Getting a list of those who have made a “queen pair” is not so straightforward, but you can see the results below. I have made sure that everyone on this list was dismissed second ball for zero in both innings, according to the Cricinfo records. This may not be a complete list as a number of matches before 2000 do not have full records of balls faced in an innings. Anyway:

Queen Pair

AB de Villiers is not the first captain on this list as tailender BS Bedi suffered this indignity in 1976-77. GD McGrath is the only one to appear here twice, and that too in successive Tests. Other points of interest are mentioned in the “Remarks” column.

Although most of the players listed above were tailenders, the exceptions include OG Smith, Mudassar Nazar and de Villiers.

Update: As on 09 Jul 2017 there were two more instances of queen pairs:

17 Babar Azam, Pak v WI, Bridgetown, 30/04/2017

18 LA Dawson, Eng v SA, Lord’s, 06/07/2017

More on the topic of zeroes and pairs can be seen in this earlier post:



The strange case of Hardus Viljoen

The South African cricketer had a good Test debut, hitting his first ball for a four and then taking a wicket (of the opposing captain AN Cook) off his first ball. He ended up with a relatively modest return, as you can see from the scorecard:


Apparently he is only the second achieve this double on debut. The first was M Henderson of New Zealand, in his county’s first ever Test:


That match is more remembered for MJC Allom’s hat-trick (and 4 in 5) on debut. And Henderson never played in a Test again.

Coming back to Hardus Viljoen, he may well avoid Henderson’s fate and play in more Tests. But there is something odd about him.

Those who compile cricketing records like everything to be black and white, with every run scored and ball bowled being accounted for. But what if even a person’s name is uncertain? That happens often enough in parts of South Asia where a person may have a given name, a middle name, a surname and perhaps several other names. Now we have a mystery from South Africa.

Starting with this Wikipedia article:


His name is listed as Gerhardus C Viljoen, with Hardus apparently being a contraction or nickname. But what does the C stand for?

The Wikipedia article has links to two of the major databases:


which gives his full name as GC Viljoen



which states that “GC is his name, not his initials”

Of course, there are a number of people who have initials which do not mean anything-including an US president, no less.

This is the relevant bit about Harry S Truman’s middle name:

“Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri, the oldest child of John Anderson Truman (1851–1914) and Martha Ellen Young Truman (1852–1947). His parents chose the name Harry after his mother’s brother, Harrison “Harry” Young (1846–1916). They chose “S” as his middle initial to please both of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. The “S” did not stand for anything, a common practice among the Scots-Irish.

This is perhaps the most famous picture of President Truman, after the 1948 elections:


Here are a few more people who have initials which do not stand for anything:


Even the fans of MAD magazine would not know Alfred E. Neuman’s middle name.


ODIs between India and South Africa in India-a review (Oct 2015)

After the one-sided decider at Mumbai, the record of ODIs between India and South Africa stands as:

Total ODIs: 76: SA lead 45-28 with 3 no result

In India:  28:     SA trail 13-15

In SA:     28:     SA lead 21-5 with 2 NR

Neutral:  20:     SA lead 11-8 with 1 NR

We now concentrate on the matches played in India including the just-concluded series.

Batting: All those who have scored 250 or more runs:

Total runs

Tendulkar is far ahead although ABD shows signs of catching up in the next series.

Highest individual scores:

Here we have everyone who has scored centuries:


Tendulkar still leads with the first-ever ODI double century. RG Sharma and Kohli are next, while du Plessis just failed to cross GC Smith’s record of 134* for SA. You can see that ABD’s strike rate in his last century is by far the highest among these centuries, 195 while he also has the second and third highest strike rates with 172 and 142 respectively. He has the most centuries (5).

Looking at career averages and strike rates (for those who have batted in at least 10 innings):

Batting avg-SR

Kallis and ABD have the highest averages. ABD inevitably has the highest strike rate followed by Dhoni.

Now for bowling:


Kumble has the most wickets followed closely by Donald and Steyn (who might not play too many more ODIs in India). Rabada may well rise rapidly on this table.

Best innings bowling:


Oddly enough the record performance occurred in the first series in 1991-92. M Morkel and Rabada recorded 4-wicket hauls in this series.

Now for bowling averages and other parameters, with a minimum of 500 balls bowled.


Kumble has the best bowling average and economy rate, while Steyn has the best strike rate (as well as the worst economy) in this table.



Boucher leads Dhoni, although Dhoni has the most stumpings. Azharuddin and Cronje have the most catches by non-keepers.

Dismissals in an innings:


Boucher has the most dismissals (5) followed by Dhoni and the lesser-known SS Dighe with 4. Azharuddin, Kohli and DA Miller have each taken 3 catches as non-keepers.

Dismissals per innings (for a minimum of 10 innings):


Boucher again leads Dhoni, while Azharuddin and Cronje have the best rate among non-keepers.

All-round performances:


Even if we reduce the qualification to 5 innings and 250 runs, only Tendulkar makes the cut with the help of  his little-used bowling.

For match bowling (minimum 30 runs and 3 wickets) we get:


Clearly Kallis has the best performance here followed by Klusener, while IK Pathan has the best for India.

T-20 International matches between India and South Africa

With the third match at Kolkata completely washed out, South Africa won the series 2-0 with no draw. Thus concluded the only bilateral series (and the only T20Is) between India and South Africa in India.

A total of 10 T20Is (where play got started) have been played between India and South Africa, with India still having a slight edge at 6-4.

Not much by way of statistics for these 10 matches, so they won’t take much time to go through.



Rohit Sharma, Raina and de Villiers have scored the most runs. Dhoni has played in all 10 matches between these teams, though Raina and de Villiers have only missed one apiece.


Rohit Sharma and Raina have scored the only centuries, 106 and 101 respectively. Sharma’s century came in a losing cause in this series. Raina is one of the few international players to have centuries in all 3 formats. Ingram’s 78 is the best for South Africa.

Here we take those who batted in at least 5 innings:


Duminy and Sharma have the highest averages, while Kohli, Raina and Albie Morkel have the highest strike rates.

Now to bowling:


Ashwin has the most wickets (10) while the best for SA is 4 by Botha and Albie Morkel.


RP Singh has the best innings figures of 4/13 which came in the 2007 World cup. Albie Morkel’s 3/12 in this series is the best for SA.

Considering those who bowled in at least 5 innings:


It is easy to see that Ashwin has the best average and strike rate while Harbhajan has the best economy.

Now to fielding:


de Villiers and Sharma have the most dismissals with 8 and 7 respectively. Boucher and Dhoni (3) have the most for keepers.

It can also be seen that several players have taken 3 dismissals in an innings.

For those who fielded in at least 5 innings:


de Villiers and Sharma have by far the highest rate of dismissals per innings, while Dhoni has the highest rate for pure keepers.


No one has reached the modest overall target of 100 runs and 5 wickets.

The best match performance is this modest effort of


in the 2012 world cup.

National anthems of WC 2015

So the festivities have begun. Since the practice of singing the national anthems seems to have picked up in recent tournaments, here is a quick run through the anthems which you are likely to hear over the next month:

AFGHANISTAN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs9y-P0FdOo

AUSTRALIA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8tswkr25A0

BANGLADESH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVjbVPFeo2o

ENGLAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKRHWT6xdEU

INDIA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yMvU73Wr7Q

IRELAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVoWUnKA18k

NEW ZEALAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT9k_7_jP8A

PAKISTAN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d41Ld1-8Mbo

SCOTLAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0MklIdTiaU

SOUTH AFRICA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr0414FrN7g

SRI LANKA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1f4VYi9uE8

U. A. E.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8ArIT7u4Fg

WEST INDIES: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbcbsmeRYC8 

(also see http://www.angelfire.com/ks/davincy/windies.html)

ZIMBABWE : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKJOZ44Ec9k

This has a lot of disclaimers and peculiarities, as we will see. There is no country called the West Indies, so this “anthem” is purely used for cricket. I have been able to get the English lyrics or English translations for all the anthems.

As usual in such matters, the United Kingdom is on its own trip. “God Save The Queen” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppIomb3r_3Q is the national anthem of the United Kingdom. Scotland has a separate song which is not an official anthem, but is played at sporting events. That is given above. England sticks with the U.K. anthem for soccer but uses another song called “Jerusalem” for cricket, which is what you hear above. Ireland here includes Northern Ireland (which comes under the U.K.) and the Irish Republic (which is another country whose anthem is given here).

Several countries have versions of their anthems in different languages: New Zealand’s includes Maori followed by English in the same anthem. South Africa’s has five languages, one after another: Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English. Sri Lanka’s has Sinhala and Tamil versions, but the former is more commonly used. Zimbabwe’s has versions in three languages: Shona, Ndebele and English. Similarly Ireland has it in Gaelic and English. Scotland’s unofficial anthem also has  Scots and  Scots-Gaelic versions, though it is unclear if these are unofficial or even un-unofficial.

The UAE anthem might remind Brits of the term “Blighty”, said to be derived from Urdu: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word derives from “bilayati”, a regional variant of the Urdu word “vilayati”, meaning “foreign”, “British”, “English” or “European.”

Parting shot: Supporters of one of India’s main political parties might find the Sri Lankan anthem particularly inspiring 🙂