With the turn of the year, international cricket has now survived approximately 138 years spanning across three different centuries. Given this long a duration, a few peculiar happenings are bound to have occurred.
Having said that, cricket has had more than its fair share of peculiarities. Today, with inputs from Cricket Historian Extraordinaire Mayukh Ghosh, we look at some of the facts, figures, records and incidents that will probably make your head spin.
1) Sachin Tendulkar is in a class of his own – we’re more than 99% sure of that!
Given his popularity and demi-god status, there is hardly anything that remains unknown about Sachin Tendulkar. However, one trivia about him that is possibly relatively unknown is that over 99% of the cricketers to earn ODI caps have not scored even half as many runs as Sachin has. Talk about class being permanent over 24 long years!
2) Brian Close and the number ‘2’
In a story involving profuse use of the number ‘2’, Brain Close played 22 Tests in a career spanning 27 years. During this period, he missed exactly 222 Tests. Talk about double nelson! Danny Morrison will probably be spooked.
3) The Taylor-made story
More recently, West Indian fast bowler Jerome Taylor scored his maiden first-class century in a Test match. His previous highest score in first-class cricket was just 40. The only other player to score his maiden first-class century in a Test, without even having a first-class fifty to his name, was Bruce Taylor of New Zealand, way back in 1965.
4) Oh Crap!
Poor Jack Crapp. Having come out to bat at No. 3, Crapp was probably preparing for how he would be celebrating his century when the score read 7-231 with him on 99*. However, to his utter dismay, the last three wickets fell with him stranded on 99. Two of these were run-outs while the third was accounted for by the legendary Jim Laker. Any guesses as to what he must have uttered after the incident?
5) The paranormal Laker
Everyone knows that Jim Laker took 19 wickets against Australia in the Old Trafford Test of 1956. However, a lesser known fact is that Laker had figures of 10 wickets for 20 runs from 63 deliveries over the two innings at one stage, and that too at an average of 2 and a strike rate of 6.3. Paranormal, indeed.
6) Longest-standing Test record? Not quite.
Charles Bannerman, of Australia, has quite a few distinctions to his name. He played the first ball in Test cricket history, hit the first boundary and also scored the first hundred. However, what stands out about Bannerman is the fact that he scored a colossal 165 runs out of a total of 245 in that innings, which is still the highest proportion of runs by a single player (67.35) in a completed innings of a Test match. Many believe that this is the longest-standing record in Test history. However, you would be surprised to know that this is not the case. We’ll come to whose record has lasted for the longest time a bit later in this piece.
7) Cricket and the pharaoh
There was something fascinatingly unique about John Traicos, with him being the only player to have been born in one country and played Test cricket for two others. He played Test cricket for both South Africa and Zimbabwe, with a gap of more than two decades between them. And oh, he was born in Egypt.