Bill Frindall, aka the Bearded Wonder, is poised to solve your cricket queries and teasers.
The Test Match Special statistician will be busy answering your questions throughout the winter season.
Fill in the form on the right-hand side of the page to stump the Bearded Wonder.
Graham Cocker, England
Will England be playing in Australia in the winter of 2006-07 to defend our Ashes victory? I am planning to go on holiday to Australia and would like to know if we are playing them before the World Cup starts in the West Indies.
They will indeed, Graham, and already it's being billed as Australia's biggest sporting event since the Sydney Olympics. The five-Test rubber is being squeezed into just 45 days between the Champions Trophy in India and the Caribbean World Cup. The dates were announced last week: 1st Test (Brisbane) 23-27 November; 2nd (Adelaide) 1-5 December; 3rd (Perth) 14-18 December; 4th (Melbourne) 26-30 December; 5th (Sydney) 2-6 January.
Andrew Leonard, Dublin, Ireland
In the recent second limited-overs international between Pakistan and England I was particularly bemused by England's decision to replace James Anderson with Vikram Solanki during their innings. Obviously they were in some trouble whilst batting and needed the extra batsman, but why did they not replace one of their men who had already batted, (i.e. non-bowling Strauss or Prior)?
Cricket is an 11-a-side game. The ICC's experimental superfluous substitute rule attacks the whole ethos of cricket, favours the side winning the toss and should be scrapped as quickly as possible. Its rules prohibit the replacement of a batsman already dismissed, so England could only replace Harmison or Anderson by the time they eventually decided on using their 12th Man.
Bob, New Zealand
Which wicket- keeper has made the most dismissals in a single Test match? Gilchrist, Stewart or Russell?
The answer is 'Jack' Russell who held 11 catches (six in the first innings and five in the second) for England in the 2nd Test against South Africa at Johannesburg in November/December 1995. Bob Taylor and Adam Gilchrist share second place with ten dismissals in a Test. Alec Stewart's best tally, which he achieved on three occasions, was eight.
Jill MacDonald, UK
What other sport did W.G.Grace captain for England apart from cricket?
Thank you for this fascinating historical question, Jill. The answer is bowls. 'The Doctor' became an enthusiast when he moved to London as manager of the London County Club in 1900. He was a prime mover in the founding of the English Bowling Association in 1903 and was elected their first president. He also helped found an international competition with Scotland, Ireland and Wales, captaining England from their inaugural international, at Crystal Palace in 1903, until 1908.
Did Vijay Mehra open for India in early sixties and, if so, who was his opening partner?
Vijay Laxman Mehra represented India in eight Test matches between 1955-56 and 1963-64.
He opened in 13 of his 14 innings, his partners, in chronological order with the number of innings in brackets, being Vinoo Mankad (1), N.J.Contractor (4), D.N.Sardesai (1), M.L.Jaisimha (3) and B.K.Kunderan (4).
Could you please tell me any information you have about the Australian cricketer Sheridan, whom the stand at the SCG was named after?
The stand is named after an administrator, Philip Sheridan (1833-1910), who migrated to Australia from Ireland when he was 15. He formed the Sydney Club and was their delegate to the New South Wales Cricket Association. In 1877, he was appointed as one of the first trustees of the Sydney Cricket Ground. He ran the ground until his death a year after the opening of the stand named in his honour which replaced a smaller one known as the Smokers' Stand. It was Sheridan who commissioned Ned Gregory to build the (old) SCG scoreboard that revolutionised the design of cricket scoreboards.
What does powerplay refer to and please tell me how is it signalled?
Lance Cherry, Hong Kong
Please explain the 'Powerplay' principles. How many, when are they used, and what are the options?
Along with the heavily criticised 'supersub', powerplays were introduced by the ICC last September as a desperate measure to jazz up 50-overs internationals in the face of mounting competition from the new Twenty 20 format. It replaced the fielding restrictions which previously governed the first 15 overs. The new restrictions (powerplay is a term thieved from ice hockey) have been expanded to cover 20 overs of each innings and, like Gaul, are divided into three parts.
The first covers the first ten overs and is mandatory. The second two each comprise five overs and are implemented when the captain decides that they will be most effective. In practice the three segments are usually taken successively in overs 1 to 20 inclusive. The umpire signals them by describing a circle with his arm like a mini windmill.
Which Test side has scored the highest single innings total without any batsman scoring a century? What was the score?
The record is 524 for 9 declared by India v New Zealand at Kanpur in November 1976. The highest of India's six individual fifties was 70 by Mohinder Amarnath.
When Garfield Sobers scored his 365, was that his first Test century?
Yes, it was. Amazingly, considering his final career record of 8032 runs, average 57.78, with 26 hundreds, it came in his 29th innings and in his 17th Test. His previous highest score was 80. For the record, that innings against Pakistan at Kingston, Jamaica, in 1958, overtook Len Hutton's 364 against Australia at The Oval in 1938 and remained the highest score in Test cricket until Brian Lara scored his 375 in 1994. Sobers, then 21, batted for 10 hours 14 minutes (183 minutes fewer than Hutton) and hit 38 fours
In Gideon Haigh's book, "The Cricket War", detailing the rise of World Series Cricket, there is a statement which caught me by surprise, attributed to Irving Rosenwater along the lines of had he not become the first chief scorer for WSC, Bill Frindall would have jumped at it. Is that true?
It most certainly is not true. I have never made any statement about working for the WSC because nothing has ever prompted me to make one and I have never had any contact with that organisation. Moreover, I have not spoken to Mr Rosenwater since he was extremely rude to me in June 1973, four years before the advent of Mr Packer's pirates.
If he did make that statement to Mr Haigh, it is total fantasy. I can assure you that I would most certainly not have had anything to do with World Series Cricket. My BBC contract would not have permitted it and, in any case, I was very much against the whole concept.
Andrew Curry, UK
What a shame there was all that fuss about Brian Lara breaking the world record aggregate for Test runs. He's only scored 11163 Test runs and is still in 2nd place, 11 runs behind Allan Border.
I totally agree with you, Andrew. The ICC made a calamitous error in elevating the Australians v Rest of the World match to Test status. Many statisticians, including me, are refusing to include its team and individual performances in Test match records. Besides Lara's aggregate, it affects several other records, most notably those involving Shane Warne and Matthew Hayden. There is a substantial case to be made for the Association of Statisticians and Historians to decide on the status of Tests and limited-overs matches.
Stephen Clarke, UK
In Test Matches what is the highest number of wickets to fall before the batting team scored a single run (including extras)?
The answer is four by India to the first 14 balls of their second innings, when they eventually totalled 165, against England at Headingley in June 1952. Fred Trueman, on his international debut while on leave from national service in the RAF, dismissed Pankaj Roy, Madhav Mantri and Vijay Manjrekar in eight balls, while Alec Bedser removed D.K.Gaekwad.