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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #88
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Q: I read somewhere - it might have been on your forum - that Mushtaq Ahmed and Mike Gatting had careers split into two-thirds of being very poor with one-third excellence in the middle. Is this true?

A :Pretty much, yes; the divide in both cases is not into absolutely exact thirds, but there were certainly three distinct periods, of not far from equal length, in the careers of each, with the former and latter being most unsuccessful and the middle being hugely so. Gatting averaged 23.83 in his first 30 Tests; 62.05 in his next 28; and 22.86 in his final 21 (11 of which came after a perhaps ill-advised recall following a three-year ban for captaining the South African Rebel tour in 1989/90). Mushtaq averaged 36.47 in his first 18; 23.40 in his next 18; and 63.23 in his final 16 (a couple of which, like Gatting, came after a recall following a lengthy absence).
Q: Who took the first ODI five-for?

A: Dennis Lillee grabbed 12-34-5 in the group match of the 1975 World Cup between Australia and Pakistan.
Q: How many seasons did Damien Fleming's Test career encompass?

A: Remarkably, little more than 3 - he made a highly successful first appearance in 1994/95 (4 Tests, averaging 25.58); then disappeared completely (in no small part due to injuries) until 1998/99 (where he played 6 more, averaging 28.60); then appeared with more success than ever in 1999/2000 (9 Tests, averaging 22.59). But one final appearance in 2000/01 (where he took 1-99) and that was it.
Q: What is the record so far for wicketkeeping dismissals in an innings in Twenty20 Internationals?

A: Four - as of this column shared by Matthew Prior, Adam Gilchrist (who did it twice), Kamran Akmal and Niall O'Brien.
Q: How many Kiwi bowlers have taken ODI five-wicket hauls?

A: 18 so far - Richard Collinge was the first and joined the not-inexclusive club of doing it just once; 12 of the 18 including Collinge took or have so far taken just the single five-for. The only bowlers to take more than two are, not altogether surprisingly, Richard Hadlee and Shane Bond.
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