Ask The Spider #94

Of those who sent down 20 overs or more, which bowler has been the most expensive on Test debut?

New Zealand’s Daryl Tuffey endured something of a nightmare start when he made his bow against Australia at WestPac Trust Park, Hamilton in 1999/2000, bowling 20 overs for 127 runs. He just edged-out the Barbadian Patterson Thompson, who against New Zealand at his home ground Kensington Oval in 1996 bowled 22 no-balls in his 22 overs which wound-up conceding 135 (though he did somehow manage to take 4 wickets). Tuffey came back from his start to make good, at least briefly, at Test level; Patterson’s short career was over soon afterwards.

And most economical?

Australian left-arm medium-pacer Ernest Toshack bowled 29 overs for 18 (an economy-rate of 0.62-an-over) against New Zealand in 1945/46. The match, however, was only awarded Test status in retrospect and would almost certainly have been better not to have been – New Zealand at that point were woefully inadequate. The Trinidadian left-arm fingerspinner Raphick Jumadeen, however, bowled an astonishing 64 overs for 64 runs, again against the Kiwis, but this time in the Fifth Test at his home ground Queen’s Park Oval in 1972. This series was phenomenally high-scoring and ended-up being drawn nil-nil by two moderate but undoubtedly Test-standard teams, and Jumadeen’s performance was worthy of cricket’s most noted miser, Indian left-arm spinner Bapu Nadkarni.

Which Under-19 team has the best win-percentage in Youth Tests?

Australia Under-19’s 0.39% comes-out fairly comfortably on top here – the next best is West Indies Under-19 with 0.34%.

And speaking of Youth Tests, West Indies seem to me to have stopped playing them. Am I imagining this?

No – West Indies Under-19 have only been represented in a single (three-match) Youth Test series in over 13 years – that came in 2001 in England. They have continued to play the Youth ODI format, but Youth Tests have for the time being been abandoned.

Is it true that Phil Simmons’ career was ruined by the time he was hit on the head in England?

It’s not possible to say that for certain of course, but in terms of having started well and then going downhill after a blow (as legend has it fellow Caribbean batsman Jimmy Adams did after being hit by Andre van Troost in 1995 – in fact Adams’ decline had already started before but was not terminal until long after that blow), no, it isn’t. Simmons had played just a couple of Tests as a fill-in before he was struck by David Lawrence in 1988 – most of his career came after this (it begun in earnest, in fact, on the next tour of England in 1991). His form at domestic level, which had been impressive, was unaffected.

Tino Best’s West Indies career appears to be over barring any more contract disputes and mass walkouts but his unexpected recall last year reminded me of something – I’m sure I read somewhere that his uncle also played for West Indies, but I can’t find anything which states such a thing. Am I imagining it?

No – Tino Best’s uncle Carlisle Best did indeed play for West Indies, in 1986, 1990 and 1990/91. He was unable to make much impression in the ultimate steamroller series, the 1986 “Blackwash”, but he did play a vital innings against the next (much stronger) England tourists, his 164 turning the series. He endured a wretched tour of Pakistan to finish his Test career, missing the last game of three with injury – he was replaced by debutant Brian Lara.

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