Ask The Spider #103

Richie and John Benaud’s Test debuts were almost 21 years apart – is this a record for brothers?

Not quite. There is certainly one, and arguably two, English brother combinations which date from the very end of the 19th-century to the 1920s. One which can be given as a certainty is the Lancastrians Johnny and Ernest Tyldesley; Johnny’s Test debut is now recognised as the First Test in South Africa in 1898/99, but at the time there was no thought at all given to that game being a Test and it was only accorded status in retrospect. Johnny’s first authentic Test was the First Test against Australia in 1899, beginning on the 1st of June; Ernest made his bow in the corresponding First Test (at the same venue, Trent Bridge) 4 days short of 22 years later, in the disastrous (for the hosts) 1921 series.

Confusingly, the previous Test (of the even-more-disastrous – for England – 1920/21 rubber in Australia) had seen Rockley Wilson make what was to be his only Test appearance. This came 22 years and 11 days after that same game which is now recognised as Johnny Tyldesley’s Test debut, and Rockley’s brother Clem is also now recognised to have made his bow there. Clem Wilson played the Second Test too, but unlike Johnny Tyldesley never appeared for an England team in a game which was, at the time, recognised as a Test. So it is a matter of some contention whether the Wilsons should count as the Tyldesleys do.

In all the International matches Sachin Tendulkar has played, with how many fellow Indian cricketers has he played with?

As of this column, he has played alongside 93 others in his 166 Tests, of which 14 are certain to have just a single appearance alongside him – the first being Salil Ankola, who debuted alongside Tendulkar in 1989/90 but never played another Test and the most recent being Iqbal Siddiqui in 2001/02. Rahul Dravid has so far appeared 124 times alongside him, Anil Kumble appeared 122, Sourav Ganguly 103, and VVS Laxman will pass the century mark next time he and Tendulkar feature in a Test together. Harbhajan Singh is another outside bet to play 100 times alongside Tendulkar – they have currently appeared together 71 times. Other distinguished Indian cricketers to have played with him many times are Mohammad Azharuddin (69), Navjot Sidhu (42), Javagal Srinath (66), Nayan Mongia (44), Zaheer Khan (65 so far) and the man who modelled himself so accurately on Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag (again, 65 so far).

I know Syd Gregory held the record for most Test caps for Australia for a long time, but who was it who passed that record of 58? And who was the next to pass that record?

Funnily enough, two players passed Gregory’s caps tally within a game of each other – Neil Harvey and Ray Lindwall gained their 59th caps in the Second and Third Tests in Pakistan respectively. Had Lindwall not missed the Second Test, the two would have gained the record simultaneously. Upon his own retirement at the end of 1962/63 Harvey had 79 caps to his name, and the first Australian to gain 80 Test caps was wicketkeeper-batsman Rodney Marsh, who attained the mark in the Third Test of the 1981/82 series against West Indies. 10 Tests later a man whose Test career ran parallel with Marsh’s, Greg Chappell, also gained his 80th cap.

And I presume Gregory must have taken that record to the grave – if so, is he the only man to do so?

He did indeed, and he is indeed – so far, at least. In fact the first man to hold the record (if, that is, one goes by the retrospective account of what constituted Test matches rather than the accounts taken at the time) and the man whose tally Gregory passed, the legendary wicketkeeper Jack Blackham, outlived Gregory by over 3 years. As of this column, Harvey, Marsh and the other two to hold the record, Allan Border and the current incumbent, Stephen Waugh, are all still going strong.







Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Richard Dickinson