Ask The Spider #116

A few weeks ago you answered a question about the stand-in who took a catch as Australia’s wicketkeeper. This prompts me to ask – how many catches have been taken by stand-in wicketkeepers in Tests and who has the most?

The most is by a man who would be recognised widely as a wicketkeeper – Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka has taken 124 catches as a designated gloveman and a further 7 as, nominally, a stand-in for Prasanna Jayawardene (on one of these occasions, he was given the gloves as a matter of preference while Jayawardene stood in the field, due to his superiority to Jayawardene when keeping to Muttiah Muralitharan). The next-best comes from Majid Khan, who played for Pakistan (mostly as an opening batsman) between 1964/65 and 1982/83 but took the gloves on occasion and held as many as 4 catches with them. Two more Pakistanis, Aamer Malik (1987/88-1994/95) and Taufeeq Umar (2001/02-2006), made 3 catches as stand-in wicketkeepers. 3 others took a couple, and 17 more took a single one, meaning a total of 46 Test catches have been taken by stand-ins down the years.

And has anyone ever made a stumping as a stand-in?

As many as 12 people have done this, and 3 even did it twice. The first, Bob Christiani, was like Sangakkara in that he was a recognised wicketkeeper who simply played several Tests as a batsman. Christiani, however, stumped the last two Indian batsmen in their first-innings of the Third Test of the 1948/49 series when Clyde Walcott was suffering from fever and not able to keep (remarkably, Christiani had even bowled a couple of overs earlier in the innings; and Walcott recovered to make a second-innings century). Pakistan’s Mohammad Wasim took one each in Tests within a couple of months of each other early in 1997/98. And Hashan Tillakaratne, who like Sangakkara later was a left-handed batsman more than capable of keeping and wore the gloves on several occasions for Sri Lanka, took the gloves from Romesh Kaluwitharana in the final of the 1998/99 Asian Test Championship when he like Walcott was suffering from fever and stumped two Pakistan batsmen. The other 9 include the aforementioned Aamer Malik, and also father and son Vijay and Sanjay Manjrekar.

What are the figures for ODIs?

6 stumpings have been made by stand-ins in the shorter international game, a couple of which came from Javed Miandad (who, by the way, is included in the 9 mentioned above with a single Test stumping as a stand-in). Rather surprisingly, this is over half the figure for catches by stand-ins; just 11 have been taken in ODIs by such ‘keepers, and the only stand-in ‘keeper to take a couple is another Lankan, Tillakaratne Dilshan.

In India and Sri Lanka, how many away teams have won the toss, fielded and gone on to win the match?

In 322 Tests in the two subcontinental nations, the touring side has won the toss on 153 occasions. They have chosen to field first on just 21 of these 153, and 5 out of those 21 led to victory (while 11 led to draws and 5 to defeat).

And what are the figures for the home team?

In the 168 Tests so far completed (there is one still in progress, between Sri Lanka and India, as of this column; the Lankans batted upon winning the toss) where the home side won the toss, they have fielded first 26 times, winning 9 (and drawing 11 and losing 6).

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