Question: Of those with career economy-rates over 5-an-over in List-A limited-overs cricket, who has the best average and strike-rate?
Spider says: A very interesting question. Taking a reasonable qualification, as of this column, the answer is Australian speedster Shaun Tait, whose very poor economy-rate of 5-an-over is offset by a really fairly remarkable strike-rate of 26.1, thus giving him an average of 21.79, with a best of 8 for 43. Tait has so far played just 61 games, however, and despite taking an indefinite break last season seems likely to play again, and his strike-rate could go up if he does so - and likewise his economy-rate down. The best of those who appear unlikely to play again is Adam Hollioake, now almost 37 years of age and who despite various comebacks has not played top-level one-day cricket since 2004. Safe in the knowledge that his skills with the bat were more than adequate to keep him in Surrey's team on that alone, he conceded an abysmal 5.41-an-over (partly through often operating, by his own choice, as a specialist death bowler who did not bowl earlier in the innings) but his liquorice-allsorts of length balls, long-hops, half-volleys, yorkers and full-tosses, including liberal numbers of slower and deceptively quicker balls, both cunningly disguised, produced an astonishing strike-rate of 25.7, including 25 instances of taking four or more wickets in an innings. This gave him an average 23.25, one which Tait will have to work very hard in whatever career still awaits him to stay ahead of - and it will be irrelevant to this question if he manages to get his economy-rate down just a tiny notch.
Q: I'd like to know what/who holds the record for maximum number of wickets in a "single" over.
A: In First-Class cricket (no definitive records are kept below this level - it's possible, indeed very probable, that six or more have at some point fallen in an over somewhere, sometime) the most wickets known to have fallen in an over is five, in Sussex vs. Surrey, 1972. Pat Pocock (who in his last two overs of the game took seven wickets) grabbed four, and there was a run-out off the final delivery.
Q: What is the record for most runs in a bilateral ODI series?
A: Chris Gayle of West Indies scored 455 runs in seven ODIs against India in 2002/03. In the 2004/05 ODI series against South Africa, England's Kevin Pietersen narrowly missed this total with 454 runs. Pietersen might well have beaten the tally, but he did not bat once in the series, as most of England's innings was washed-out in the sixth game. It is true that he benefited enormously from dropped catches over the course, however.
Q: Who has scored the most double-centuries in Test cricket?
A: As with many things, Sir Donald Bradman leads the way with 12 double-centuries, in only 52 games. Next highest is Brian Lara with 9.
Of the active players, Kumar Sangakkara leads the way with 6 in 76 matches, while Virender Sehwag has 5 in 60. Mahela Jayawardene, Sachin Tendulkar, and Ricky Ponting are currently tied for third place with four each.
As for triple-centuries, Bradman again to some extent leads the way with two triples in his career. However, this time, he shares the record with both Lara and Sehwag, who have two each. Matthew Hayden and Jayawardene are the only other active players who have scored a triple-century in their careers.
Q: I notice that Don Bradman as a bowler took two wickets in Tests - who were his victims?
A: Ivan Barrow of West Indies and, much more notably, Walter Hammond of England, possibly the greatest batsman of his contemporaries.
Q: Which players have scored centuries in their 100th Test?
A: There have been six: Colin Cowdrey, Gordon Greenidge, Javed Miandad, Alec Stewart, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ricky Ponting (the lattermost of whom went one better than the rest and scored one in both innings', one of three occurrences he managed that in the 2005/06 season).