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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
Bill Frindall Q&A
The BBC's cricket scorer and statistician Bill Frindall took time out from his busy schedule to answer your questions about his life and career.

Dubbed 'The Bearded Wonder' by the late Brian Johnston, Bill is the longest serving member of the Test Match Special commentary team.

Since making his debut in 1966, he has scored 340 Test matches, including all 226 played in England, and is a regular columnist on this website.

His memoirs, 'Bearders - My Life in Cricket', is published on 1 June to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his TMS debut.

Thanks for all your questions - a selection appears below, and Alan Warner is the lucky recipient of Bill's new book.

What is the best piece of advice you were given which has helped your career?
Alan Warner, England

There are several, mostly proffered by John Arlott. As a freelance, it is essential to be reliable and efficient, to meet deadlines and attend appointments on time. Above all, never refuse work. If you cannot fit a commission into your own working schedule then sub-contract it to someone who can.

Never refuse a new challenge - unless it is scoring a 20-overs match under floodlights from a county ground situated at the end of a cul-de-sac and which has no loo within 100 yards of the commentary box!

What is the most unimportant cricket statistic you know?
Mark Smith, UAE (but English)

I have just discovered that Michael Vandort has played his first five Test matches on venues beginning with B and C: Colombo (2), Chittagong, Bogra and Birmingham. I am confident that he is the first to achieve this!

Has the scoring you carry out for TMS ever been used or overridden the official scorers by the umpires?
Rex Holmes, England

No, but I have managed to score two extra runs for England when I persuaded the umpires (Dickie Bird was one) that the official scorers had missed no-balls. Two runs in 342 Tests is a scoring rate even slower (marginally) than Geoffrey Boycott's!

Did you ever play at Buckminster, a small village 10 miles south of Grantham, Lincs. Local rumour says you did!
Roger Stafford, UK

Yes, see page 46 of Bearders. It was a perfect sunny day and I helped Grantham to a narrow victory by taking 6-30 in 16 overs as our hosts were dismissed for 65. It took my tally past 100 wickets for the 1964 season.

How much money would it take before you shaved your beard off?
Will Seymour, Holland

How many tens of thousands of Euros have you s(h)aved up for this?

How old were you when you first grew your beard? Did it look good at first (fairly bushy), or was it a bit one you had to wait for ages to look 'full'? And more to the point, what did your mother think of it?
Chris Ney, Twickenham, London

I was 26. I stopped shaving at the end of my first season with TMS (having had a handlebar moustache for much of my RAF career). It was quite presentable after a fortnight. My mother didn't notice but John Arlott greeted me with 'Hell's teeth, Frindalius. I haven't seen you since the Reformation!'

Dear Bill,
What a wonderful job. How does one go about getting such a position? Keep up the good work. Regards,
Chris, UK

Learn to count, master the linear scoring method, grow a beard and watch the obituaries!

Have you ever scored for Urchfont Cricket Club? Or have you ever played for them in some form?
Guy Lewis, England

I played for them for five seasons, scored 50 not out when I was 50 in 1989, took five wickets twice, but I managed to escape scoring duties. I did umpire a few times and kept the game moving!

What proportion of your life have you spent scoring Test Matches?
Rajiv Radhakrishnan, UK

I was reading out loud some of your questions and answers and my daughter, Salma who is seven years old, overheard the one about M.P. Fernandes. After reading your answer, she innocently remarked; "Boy, he (the Bearded Wonder) must be really, really, really old to see that guy play so long long ago. How old is he, dad?" She (we) eagerly awaits your response.
Mohamed Z. Rahaman (USA via Guyana)

I was born on 3 March 1939. Assuming that the 342 Tests averaged a total of four days apiece (1368 days), I have spent 5.57% of my life scoring them. Salma, I did not see Fernandes (career 1922-23 to 1931-32) actually play!

I have been scoring for my local cricket club's first XI for four years now and am enjoying every minute. I have just taken a scoring course over the winter and passed the standard exam by 92.5%. How would I get to score for higher counties, etc? Do I need to take a higher exam?
Laura Malkin, England

You should apply to the Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) for Qualified Scorer Membership and then write to the County chief executives. Scorers are always in short supply. Good luck.

If you could "bottle" one highlight, on-field or off-field, from your 40 years on TMS, what would it be?
John Conlon, UK

Hard to choose between a chardonnay from Australia's Barossa Valley or Swan River wineries and a sauvignon blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand!

Hi Bill,
Congrats on your phenomenal achievement. I've always enjoyed reading your column. Question: During all these years in which you have been involved so deeply in cricket, what was the occasion which was most emotional to you? Thanks and best of luck,
Teju Vishwamitra, USA

Hearing about the tragic death of Ben Hollioake while I was scoring the Wellington Test in 2002. He was a highly talented player who may well have become a great all-rounder and I had met him several times.

Who was the first batsman for whom you recorded a century for TMS? Have you personally ever scored a ton?
Frank Johnson, Western Australia

Having hit the first ball of the match for four, Conrad Hunte (135) of the West Indies completed his hundred off 207 balls with 14 fours at 4.04pm on the first day of my TMS scoring career (2 June 1966). Garfield Sobers (161) completed his century on the second morning. As an opening bowler I seldom had a chance to bat for very long but I once scored 91 not out fairly swiftly (mostly over long-on) for the Oxford Clergy!

Stump the Bearded Wonder No 123
22 May 06 |  Stump Bearders


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