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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #81
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Q: How many Tests did Paul Reiffel miss over the course of the 35 he played? I only know it amounted to "a lot".

A :Reiffel made his debut in the Fifth Test against India in 1991/92, and his last Test came against the same opposition, away, the First Test in 1997/98. Australia played 67 Tests in this time, meaning Reiffel missed a whopping 32. Some (indeed most) of this was due to injury, but the extreme bench strength of Australian seam around the time and his occasional propensity to lose his rhythm also played a part.
Q: And how many times did this mean he dropped-out and returned?

A: Including his call-up as the first and his final disappearance as his last, he made way and made a return on 13 occasions.
Q: And (lastly!) what was the most that he played in a row?

A: He managed 7 in a row starting from the famous series in the Caribbean in 1995 (four Tests) and following-on, the three-match home series against Pakistan in 1995/96, before he missed the next, the opener of the next three-match home rubber against Sri Lanka.
Q: In a ODI if you have one ball left and you need eight runs, what should you do? Try not getting out? Try and get maximum runs? Try and score to get a better average?

A: There's no all-encompassing answer that could be described as obviously correct or incorrect to this question - each batsman, in all honesty, could do whatever they fancied. Unless the bowler is diabolically poor he's not going to bowl a no-ball so there's no sense trying for shots to win the game. Personally I'd probably just play the ball on its merits - it can't do any harm and trying to hit it out the park is not (unless the bowler makes an unforgivable error and bowls a no-ball) going to win the game.
Q: Which wicketkeeper has made the most Test stumpings on tours of Australia?

A: England's AA "Dick" Lilley, who made just a couple of tours of Australia (1901/02 and 1903/04) made a remarkable 12 Test stumpings in the two five-Test series'.
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