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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #103
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Q: In all the International matches Sachin Tendulkar has played, with how many fellow Indian cricketers has he played with?

A :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).
Q: 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?

A: 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.
Q: And I presume Gregory must have taken that record to the grave - if so, is he the only man to do so?

A: 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.
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