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Does a cricket pitch have a fixed width?

August 04, 2006 17:41 IST

Name: MRS Mani
Country: India
Question: How many Test cricketers -- with their names -- have scored double centuries in their debut Test?

Five batsmen -- England's Reginald Erskine 'Tip' Foster (287 v Australia at Sydney in 1903-04), West Indies' Lawrence Rowe (214 v New Zealand at Kingston in 1971-72), Sri Lanka's Brendon Kuruppu (201* v New Zealand at Colombo CCC in 1986-87), New Zealand's Mathew Sinclair (214 v West Indies at Wellington in 1999-00) and South Africa's Jacobus Rudolph (222* v Bangladesh at Chittagong in 2002-03) -- scored double centuries on debut.

All five did so in their teams' first innings. The highest score in the second innings of debut Test is 176 by West Indies' George Headley, v England at Bridgetown in 1929-30.

Name: Shekhar
Country: India
Question: What is the best bowling performance that did not win the man of the match award in one-day internationals?

Had you asked this question four-five months back Shekhar, my answer would have been 6 for 35 by Shaun Pollock (SA v WI at East London in 1998-99) and Abdul Razzaq (Pak v Ban at Dhaka in 2001-02). It is not that someone else has returned better figures since then, but a face-to-face chat with one of all-time greats of the game has forced me to alter my records.

I was working as statistician for a television channel recently for a series in which former Pakistan paceman Waqar Younis was the chief guest for the studio shows. During one of the informal talks, I casually asked Waqar if he remembered any instance when he played a large role in his side's victory but someone else took the honours.

Waqar was quick to reply: "In a match at Sharjah in 1990 I demolished Sri Lanka, taking six wickets, but it was Ijaz Ahmed who got the man of the match award."

He later added ruefully that Ijaz's '80-odd' runs were deemed better than his six-wicket haul on a flat-track.

The match Waqar was mentioning was the fifth league match of the Australasia Cup, played at Sharjah in April-May 1990. Waqar returned figures of six for 26 in that match in Sri Lanka's total of 221.

This was after Pakistan had scored a mammoth total of 311 for eight, with Ijaz Ahmed top-scoring with 89 runs off 64 balls.

My database had Waqar as the recipient of the man of the match award in that game. On checking I found that the book I had referred to was carrying the wrong information. Since most publications / websites also referred to the same book as the source, the wrong information was carried again and again at different places (and is still being carried).

Waqar, by making this admission, not only got one MoM deducted from his tally, he also got his name struck from a very impressive list. During that Australasia Cup, Waqar had won MoM award in the match before and after that Sri Lanka game. Thus, he always made an appearance, albeit wrongly, in the list of players who have won MoM awards in three consecutive matches. Now Waqar does not belong to this elite club anymore!

Name: Prabin
Country: India

Question: What was the result when Sachin Tendulkar scored '0' in an ODI, before 1999 and after 1999?

India won three and lost five matches out of the eight in which Tendulkar was dismissed without scoring before 1999. Quite amazingly, the figures are same after 1999 (before the start of the tri-series in Sri Lanka). The only difference is in the number of matches. Before 1999, Tendulkar had appeared in 207 matches, and since January 1, 1999, he has played 155 matches.

Name: Himanshu
Country: India
Question: I understand that the length of a cricket pitch always has to be the same, that is, 22 yards. But, is there a law pertaining to the width of a cricket pitch? Does the width of a cricket pitch have to be the same?

Yes, Himanshu. Law 7.1 answers your query. It says: "The pitch is a rectangular area of the ground 22 yards/20.12m in length and 10ft/3.05m in width. It is bounded at either end by the bowling creases and on either side by imaginary lines, one each side of the imaginary line joining the centres of the two middle stumps, each parallel to it and 5ft/1.52m from it".

Name: Sanjeev
Country: India
Question: Which Test bowler holds the record for the highest number of stumpings of his bowling? Who holds this record for India?

Shane Warne holds the record with 34 of his 685 wickets for Australia being stumpings. Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan is placed second with 33 stumpings (before the start of series against South Africa).

Two bowlers share the record of most stumpings off their bowling for India: Subhash Gupte and Anil Kumble, with 20 such dismissals. However, while Gupte did so in only 36 Tests, Kumble appeared in as many as 110.

Name: Neville
Country: India
Question: Is there any batsman who has completed 100 Tests and not been run-out?

A tricky question, I feel, Neville. Anyway, it is none other than India's Kapil Dev, who was never run-out in his Test career of 131 Tests, in which he played 184 innings and scored 5248 runs.

There are three other players who were never dismissed in this fashion despite playing more than 100 innings. They are: Pakistan's Mudassar Nazar (116), England's Graeme Hick (114) and Peter May (106). Among the current players, England's Marcus Trescothick has the best chance to beat Kapil's record. Before the start of second Test against Pakistan, Trescothick played 73 Tests and 138 innings without getting run-out.

Name: Munish
Country: India
Question: Can a batsman be out 'stumped' by a fielder other than the wicketkeeper? If so, has it ever happened in Test cricket?

No, only a wicketkeeper can effect a stumping. If a fielder is involved, the batsman is run-out.

Name: Krishan Kumar
Country: India
Question: How is the score needed to avoid a follow-on calculated?

It is determined by the lead on first innings of a two-innings match. In a match of five days or more, the side that bats first and leads by at least 200 runs has the option of requiring the other side to follow their innings. The margin is reduced to 150 runs in a match of three or four days, 100 in a two-day match and 75 runs in a one-day match.

Name: Hari Prasad
Country: India
Question: How many matches is the record for successive wins over any country. Which country holds it?

The record is ten consecutive wins for the West Indies against England - between 1984 and 1985-86. However, Australia, with nine wins in as many Tests over Pakistan since 1999-00, are in a position of bettering the West Indies' record. There was one more sequence of nine consecutive wins involving Australia – again this time against the West Indies, from 1998-99 to 2002-03.

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Rajneesh Gupta