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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #9
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Q: Who has held the most catches as an outfielder for each of the Test-playing countries?

A :Australia's (and the overall) record is held by Mark Waugh, with 181; England's is shared by Ian Botham and Colin Cowdrey, both of whom took 120; India's is held by Rahul Dravid, currently on 165 and in with an excellent chance of going past Waugh; New Zealand's, Stephen Fleming, with 171; Pakistan's, Javed Miandad, with 93; South Africa's, Jacques Kallis, with 117; Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene, with 129; West Indies', Brian Lara, with 164; Zimbabwe's, Alastair Campbell, with 60; and Bangladesh's, Habibul Bashar, with 22. Pakistan are the only one of the Test-playing teams who have had the status for more than 15 years whose leader has less than 100, which perhaps is none too surprising for those who have observed their fielding machinations over the years.
Q: When was the last time New Zealand won a Test series away from home not involving Bangladesh or Zimbabwe?

A: The Kiwis last away victory against teams other than the mentioned was in West Indies in 2002, where they won something a smash-and-grab (their inaugural victory in the Caribbean) 1-0. That is, in fact, the last time they won so much as a single Test away against serious opposition. And you have to go back another 3 years, to 1999 in England, to find their last Test and Test series victories away from home. The 1999 win, too, was their first against someone other than Zimbabwe since they beat Australia and England in consecutive series in 1985/86 and 1986. They have just two previous ones too, in Sri Lanka in 1983/94 and Pakistan in 1969/70.
Q: Who is the tallest player to have ever played international cricket?

A: The tallest player whose height has been recorded appears to have been Joel Garner, who at 6 feet 8 inches sent down his thunderbolts from a very considerable height indeed given he was also possessed of extremely long arms. However, not all international players have a listed height, and though there have been very few who have been taller than 6 feet 6 inches, no list can ever be regarded as definitively complete. William Jefferson, the English county player, is thought to be the tallest First-Class cricketer in history, at an extraordinary 6 feet 9-and-a-half inches.
Q: These days the top umpires have 80, 90, 100 games to their names. But who were the most-stood officials as of January 1, 1980?

A: Only four umpires had stood in more than 30 Tests when the 1980s dawned: Frank Chester, almost universally accepted as the best official before Dickie Bird, had taken charge of 48 Tests between 1924 and 1955; Charlie Elliott had officiated in 42 between 1957 and 1974; Syd Buller in 33 between 1956 and 1969; and Robert Crockett 32 between 1901 and 1925. The first three were all Englishmen, and Crockett Australian.
Q: How many ODI series whitewashes have there been in contests of more than 3 matches?

A: There have been almost 70 instances of whitewashes in a ODI series of three or more matches. While there has never been a whitewash in a seven-ODI series, there have been fifteen instances of a whitewash in a five-match series. The latest one was between Zimbabwe and Pakistan in 2007/08, while the latest one not involving minnows was just a little earlier, between West Indies and South Africa in South Africa.
Q: What's the fastest run-rate in a ODI innings which has lasted more than 30 overs?

A: The highest run rate in any ODI innings lasting more than 30 overs is credited to New Zealand. Thanks to Lou Vincent's career-best 172 off just 120 balls, the Kiwis racked-up 397 runs in the stipulated 44 overs against Zimbabwe in Harare in August 2005. This amounts to a run rate of 9.02, being the only occasion that an innings longer than 30 overs crossed the run rate of 9. New Zealand also holds the record of the highest run rate in any innings, completed or not. They chased down Bangladesh's 93 in just six overs in late 2007. The highest run rate in a completed 50-over innings was achieved by Sri Lanka, when they scored a mammoth 443 runs against Netherlands in July 2006. Not surprisingly, all these records involve a top side against a minnow.
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