Ask the Spider #76

How many tailenders made a pair on Test debut? (Excluding those for whom it was their only Test)

There are who could fairly be called tailenders – that is, not picked on the basis of their batting: Jim Smith and Chris Tremlett of England; Mike Whitney of Australia; South Africa’s JJ Kotze, Cuan McCarthy, Tommy Ward and Joseph Willoughby; West Indies’ Alf Valentine; New Zealand’s Ted Badcock, Brendon Bracewell, James Franklin, Mark Gillespie, Ken James, Chris Kuggeleijn and Ken Rutherford; India’s Maninder Singh; Sri Lanka’s Hasantha Fernando and Lasith Malinga; Zimbabwe’s Stephen Peall; and Bangladesh’s Alamgir Kabir. Not all of these were batsmen of no note; some went on to be decent bowling all-rounders or wicketkeeper-batsmen.

And how many specialist batsmen? (With the same qualification)

Just four: England’s Graham Gooch, India’s GS Ramchand and Sri Lanka’s Marvan Atappattu (who kept-up the remarkable habit of duck-making throughout his entire career) and Chamara Silva (who more than made-up for it in his sophomore game).

What is the breakdown of Test debuts by country:

In England, 655 players have so far made their Test debuts; 467 in Australia; 332 in South Africa; 260 in India; 240 in West Indies; 210 in New Zealand; 175 in Pakistan; 109 in Sri Lanka; 74 in Zimbabwe; 43 in Bangladesh; and a couple in the UAE.

What is the most number of catches taken on Test debut for a non-wicketkeeper?

The remarkable (and fairly remarkably named) Indian Yajurvindra Singh took 7 catches on his Test debut in 1976/77, to equal Greg Chappell’s record set in 1974/75.

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