The sport of cricket has had a very eventful history. It is because of the entertainment that the sport provides and the thrill that the people get when not even physically playing it, that is by just watching it, makes it one of the most popular sports in the world. The craze of cricket has grown over the years and the fans have become even more vigilant, keeping a close eye on every particular thing that takes place on the field.
And, those moments have over the years culminated into becoming facts and figures that no one would have ever imagined would be recorded in the books. Everything from strange dismissals to an astronomical number of runs being scored in a single over, cricket has seen it.
In an attempt to give you a look into such events, here’s a look at 10 strangest cricket stats that you probably wouldn’t know of.
1. Saeed Ajmal has not won a single ‘Man of the Match’ award in ODI Cricket
One of the best spinners that Pakistan has ever produced, Saeed Ajmal, never won a single ‘Man of the Match’ award while playing for the national team in One Day International cricket. It might amaze you that he was a bowling mainstay of the heavyweight Pakistan bowling attack for 7 years, but still, he wasn’t able to pull off even a single performance that was worthy of winning him the award. There were instances where he did bowl extremely well, but his performance was eclipsed by some other player’s show.
He played a total of 113 One Day International matches for his country. And, in those, he managed to get 184 wickets averaging 22.72 and had an economy rate of 4.18 which is amongst the best in the world. In fact, his best bowling performance in a match, came when he took 5 wickets by giving away just 24 runs. But, even that couldn’t get his hands on the trophy.
His career came to a sad end when his bowling action came under the scanner of the ICC and after that, with the amended action he lost his original charm. He announced his retirement from the sport in 2017.
2. Most number of runs (77) scored in an over!
When talking about this particular fact, most of the fans and even the pundits would think not more than 36 runs could be scored in an over. And, would be reminded of Yuvraj Singh’s carnage against England on the 19th of September 2007, or Tilak Raj and Malcolm Nash, who both conceded 36, to Ravi Shastri and Garry Sobers respectively. But, the actual record is something totally different.
It was during the final day of a match being played between Canterbury and Wellington when the still unbroken record for the most number of runs scored in an over was set. Canterbury, chasing 291 runs in 59 overs, were stuck with a score of 196 for the loss of 8 wickets when the carnage began.
The next set of 22 deliveries, all of which amounted to a single over and 77 runs were scored off them. Canterbury batsman, LK Germon made RH Vance, the bowler at that time, a part of the record which he would not have wanted to be. The progression of the over was 0, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 4, 6, 1, 4, 1, 0, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 0, 0, 4, 0, 1.
3. Batting at all 10 positions for a team
A feat achieved by only 4 batsmen in world cricket, batting on all of the batting positions for a team is no mean achievement. And, it has been done by Lance Klusener, Abdur Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, and Hashan Tillakaratne. All of them have played on every spot, from the opening slot to the number 11 position while active in the sport.
All of the four gentlemen who have achieved this feat had been decent, if not great batsmen in their active years. For example, Shoaib Malik played over 400 international matches for Pakistan and amassed runs in excess of the 10,000 run mark, all the three formats combined. While Lance Klusener of South Africa stepped onto the field in the South African jersey on 230 occasions and had over 5000 runs to his name in total.
A striking similarity among all of the names in this list is that all of the players were efficient with the ball in the hand too. They could turn their hands whenever required by the team and got their share of success while in this role. This made them one of the most crucial parts of every team they were in throughout their careers.
4. Most number of consecutive maiden overs
Stopping the batsman from scoring even a single run on all six deliveries of an over can be a really difficult task for anyone. But, one man from India, did it the most number of times than anyone in the sport of cricket. His name was Bapu Nadkarni.
In a Test match against England in Chennai, he managed to bowl 21 consecutive overs without giving away even a single run in all of them. In that particular inning, he ended with unprecedented figures of 32 overs, 27 maidens, conceding 5 runs at an economy of just 0.15. This performance of his troubled the visiting England batsmen a lot.
Nadkarni in his career played 41 Test matches for team India, which is a really big number, considering the frequency of international matches at that point of time, which was not that high. He bowled in 65 innings, a total of 9165 balls, giving away 2559 runs and getting 88 wickets to his name. His best bowling figures in a match was 11 wickets for 122 runs. But, his stat sheet has one thing that stands out. That is his economy rate. He maintained an economy of just 1.67 which is one of the lowest in international cricket.
5. Youngest player to play international cricket
At an age when most of his peers would have been struggling with their academics or would have been stuck at a difficult level of a video game, trying to cross it, Hasan Raza of Pakistan was sweating it out on the cricket field, trying his best to dodge the deliveries of Zimbabwean bowlers.
When Hasan stepped on to the field for the first time for Pakistan, his age was just 14 years and 227 days and became the youngest cricketer ever to play international cricket. He then went on to play 7 Tests and 16 One Day Internationals for Pakistan, in which he faced a total of 1016 deliveries and was able to get 477 runs to his name, which included a total of 3 half-centuries.
Though his career was short-lived, his name still remains etched in the record books for good reasons. Getting a chance to play for the national team of any country, especially one like the talent-filled Pakistan, is in itself a great thing and doing so at such a tender adds nothing but more glitter to glory.
6. More Test wickets than runs
Every run scored or a wicket taken in the purest form of the sport of cricket remains etched in the memory of every cricketer, who gets a chance to play the sport for his or her country. But, for two gentlemen named BS Chandrasekhar and Chris Martin from India and New Zealand respectively, the memories of taking wickets would outnumber that of their runs. Both of them have more number of runs in Test matches than wickets.
Chandrasekhar played a total of 58 matches for the Indian team in his 15-year long career. And, in those 58 matches, he batted in 80 innings, remained not out on 39 occasions and scored 167 runs, with a highest individual score of 22 runs. But, with the ball, his success was a thing to behold. He bowled in 97 innings and took 242 wickets while maintaining an average of 29.74 and an economy of 2.70. His best bowling performance was 12 wickets taken and 104 runs given.
Chris Martin represented New Zealand in 71 Test matches in total and scored a total of 123 runs in the 104 innings he played. His highest individual score was 12 runs not out and he returned to the dressing room not out on 52 occasions. With the ball in hand, he took 233 wickets, getting the best match figures of 11 wickets for 180 runs.
7. Vinod Kambli’s Test batting average is higher than that of Sachin Tendulkar
Two boys from Mumbai, having loads of talent, smashed a mountain of runs, broke many records and stitched record-breaking partnerships. Both of them went on to represent the Indian team. While one of the two went on to be called the ‘God of Cricket’ the other’s career fizzled out after the initial burst of runs and records. Such is the story of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli.
Sachin Tendulkar, in almost all of the departments on the stat sheet holds an upper hand over his childhood friend and former India teammate Vinod Kambli, but there is one department where Kambli remained ahead of Tendulkar. That is in terms of their Test match batting average. Kambli ended his runs in Test cricket with an average of 54.20 while Sachin had an average of 53.80.
This might be a hard thing to digest for Sachin’s fans but, it is true that he was trumped by Kambli in one thing. Kambli had the potential to make it big in international cricket, but as years went by, several things, mostly flaws popped up in Kambli’s method of operation and his run ended in international cricket in the year 2000 while Sachin went on to play for another decade and retired in 2013.
8. One batsman scoring more than 80 per cent of the team’s total
Everyone might have heard of a grace saving inning or a match-saving inning, which was played by a player at a time when the team was struggling and that inning saved its boast from sinking. But the inning in focus, played by New Zealand batting legend, Glenn Turner was something that no one would have imagined.
It happened in the year 1977, during a game between Worcestershire and Glamorgan at Swansea. Playing for Worchestershire, Glenn Turner, almost scored the entire team’s total all by himself. He scored 141 runs, out his team’s total of 169 runs. When calculated as a percentage, it amounts to 83.4% which is in no sense a small number.
When playing for New Zealand, Turner did equally well. He played a total of 41 Tests and 41 One Day International matches for the Blackcaps and scored 2991 and 1598 runs in the two formats respectively. His average in the two formats was also really good, 44.64 in Tests and 47.00 in ODIs. One of the most prolific batsmen to ever play for New Zealand, Glenn Turner’s name will go down in the record books, etched in golden letters.
9. 13 runs scored in total, with 10 extras
It happened during the qualifiers of the 2008 ICC Women’s World Cup. The match being played between the teams from South Africa and Bermuda saw what world cricket had never seen before. The incident unfolded in a manner that no one would have ever imagined to be.
Batting first, the women from Bermuda were able to put up a total of only 13 runs on the board. But, the twist was that only three of those runs came off the bat. All of the rest of them were extras thrown away by the Proteas women. But, when the team from South Africa came in to bat, they chased the total in just 4 balls. In their total of 15 runs, they got 10 extras. Those extra runs, which seemed to have burst into that scoreboard, came in the form of nine wide deliveries and a no-ball.
This meant that at the end of the match, which was won by the South Africans, only 8 runs were scored off the bat. The rest of the 20 runs, which amount to 71.4% of the total came in the form of extras. World cricket had never seen such thing happening on the field and in all probabilities will never do.
10. Australia winning the match after declaring their inning at just 32 runs
Cricket all through its years has seen many quirky tactics being adopted by the captains in order to win matches for their team. But, what happened on the 5th of December 1950 stunned everyone in the cricket community.
The match was being played between England and Australia on an unplayable pitch at the Gabba Cricket stadium in Brisbane, Australia. On the third day of the match, the pitch had turned so bad for batting and scoring runs, that the mighty Australian batting order was reduced to 37 runs at the loss of 7 wickets. A win seemed impossible for the Aussies. But then a masterstroke was played by the Aussie captain. He made an accurate assessment of the pitch condition and declared the inning at that very point.
The English team was set a total of 193 runs to score in the last session of Day 3 of the Test match. And, then it happened. England by the end of the day were reduced to 30 runs for the loss of 6 wickets and on the 4th day, in spite of a brave effort of the number 8 batsman, Len Hutton who scored 62 runs not out, the England team was dismissed was 122 runs and Australia won the match by a margin of 71 runs.
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