In his book, Ben Stokes recalled the 2013 County game to have witnessed one of his memorable days as Durham went on to win the Division One Championship at the end of the game. In the match against Nottinghamshire, Stokes arrived at the venue in the afternoon from England duty. He was allowed to take place of Umar Arshad as a full substitute who had already picked up a wicket.
Players reaching the venue during a match isn’t rare especially in County Cricket which allows full substitutes for England duty which is quite common compared to other countries. But when it comes to International Cricket and other domestic competitions, the teams are forced to be 10-man side if there are any players not present at the venue despite being part of the playing XI.
Here are few instances in official matches where a team began with only ten available players in the XI:
5. Brandon Bess – West Indies vs South Africa, 2010 Bridgetown Test
South Africa was leading the 3-match Test series in 2010 against West Indies by 1-0 before the two sides travelled to Bridgetown for the final match. Darren Sammy was ruled out of the Test due to a thigh injury and Nelon Pascal was set to take his place. Pascal made his debut during the first Test of this series but went wicketless which saw him getting dropped for the 2nd Test match.
During the warm-ups ahead of the game, Pascal suffered a neck injury ruling him out of the game. As the toss took place, the West Indies team decided to pick Guyana pacer, Brandon Bess. Interestingly, Bess was in the High-Performance Centre at that point which was a 5 km drive away from the venue and was expected to reach after the scheduled start of the game only.
However, Chris Gayle won the toss and electing to bat first meant Bess wouldn’t be missed. Brandon Bess eventually made it to the Kensington Oval during the first over of the game. Bess had a horrific debut as he conceded 92 runs in the 13 overs he bowled across the two innings and picked up only one wicket in return. South Africa won the match by 7 wickets while Bess never got to play for the West Indies again.
4. Dane Vilas – South Africa vs England, 2016 Johannesburg Test
South Africa were 0-1 down in the 4-match home Test series against England during the 2015-16 season before playing at the Johannesburg’s Wanderers. Ahead of this crucial game, the Proteas had to deal with an injury blow as Quinton de Kock was ruled out of the match.
The wicketkeeper-batsman slipped at home on the eve of the match which hurt his right knee but reported of the pain only on mid-night. His injury was monitored and was declared unfit for the game about an hour before the toss.
They called in Dane Vilas to replace De Kock who was set to keep wickets in the Test. But Vilas was gearing up to play for the Cape Cobras in the Sunfoil Series 4-day match against the Warriors at Port Elizabeth’s St George’s Park. Vilas had to travel more than 1000 km in order to reach Johannesburg. Vilas couldn’t get a flight prior to 8 AM from Port Elizabeth while the match in Johannesburg was scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM local time.
Hence, the South African skipper AB de Villiers was standby to keep wickets in case of the hosts bowling first. Luckily, De Villiers won the toss and elected to bat first which ensured enough time for Vilas to reach the ground. He eventually got to the Wanderers nearly 55 minutes after the scheduled start of the match and South Africa had already played more than 11 overs without losing a wicket by then.
Dane Vilas batted at No.7 position a while after Tea break where he scored 26 off 38 balls before holing out in the bowling of Stuart Broad. South Africa bundled out for 313 despite no individual fifty. England, in reply, scored 313 with the help of a century from Joe Root.
But the home side collapsed to just 83 in the 2nd essay as Stuart Broad bagged five wickets for one run in six overs after lunch on 3rd day. England chased down the target of 74 losing only three wickets to seal a series victory.
3. Sir Everton Weekes – West Indies vs England, 1948 Kingston Test
Sir Everton Weekes made his Test debut during the 1948 home Test series against England. Weekes scored no less than 20 and no more than 36 runs during the five innings he batted across the first three Tests. Hence, he was dropped for the 4th Test as the skipper George Headley who missed the previous two games due to injury. But Headley was revealed to now be fit ahead of the match and hence, West Indies had to choose between Weekes and local boy John Holt.
The team decided to give another chance to Everton who already returned to his home in Barbados. After receiving a late call-up, the young batsman rushed to the airport but the plane he was set to travel was overbooked but somehow managed to get seating.
Moreover, the aircraft had engine trouble and arrived quite late in Jamaica. According to the autobiography of Weekes, the match already began by the time he reached the match which he saw while flying over Kingston.
Weekes thought he would be 12th man but got to known from an official at the hotel that he was indeed in the playing XI. Soon, he rushed to the venue and replaced local guy John Holt on the field who was substituting for Weekes.
England won the toss and elected to bat first and hence West Indies didn’t have any major issue with the Barbados batsman reaching late. Everton walked on the field amidst loud boos from the local crowd who wanted Holt to play instead.
Everton Weekes answered them with a 141-run knock batting at No.3 which helped West Indies to win the game by 10 wickets and win the Test series 2-0. He later recorded scores of 128, 194, 162 and 101 respectively in the first three matches of the 1948-49 India tour.
Thus, Sir Everton Weekes became the first player in International history with five successive tons. His record streak came to an end when he was run out on 90 in the following Test and also scored 56 and 48 in the tour finale.
2. Thomas John Hearne – Middlesex vs Gentlemen of Philadelphia, 1908
Gentlemen of Philadelphia, the team from the USA, faced Middlesex in a first-class match at the Lord’s in 1908. The Middlesex team rested some of their players while John William Hearne opted out in the last minute due to the death of his father at the age of 80. In place of John, his second cousin, Thomas John Hearne was roped in who hasn’t featured in an FC match till then.
He was one of the three players to make his first-class debut for the Middlesex during this game. Thomas was set to arrive late due as he received call-up around the time of the toss. His absence was filled with a substitute fielder as the visiting side batted first. Albert Trott and Francis Tarrant bowled unchanged for Middlesex to take five wickets apiece as Philadelphia were bowled out for 58 in 27.5 overs.
Philadelphia made a strong comeback by bowling out hosts to 92 from 88/3. TJ Hearne did not arrive yet and was declared absent to close down the innings. (Timed out dismissal was not in existence at this time) Tarrant and Trott ran through the Gentlemen of Philadelphia’s batting unchanged once again. The visitors managed only 55 across 27.1 overs in the second essay. Trott got only four wickets this time as one wicket came through runout.
Middlesex got a target of 22 runs which they chased down in six overs for the loss of three wickets. It was believed that Thomas John Hearne finally arrived at the venue during the Middlesex’s chase but wasn’t needed to take the field. Thomas never played an FC game after that which meant his first-class career ended without him taking the field for even a ball.
1. Vasbert Drakes – Border vs Free State, 2002 SuperSport Series
Vasbert Drakes returned to the West Indies national side after seven years as he featured in the 2002 Champions Trophy hosted by Sri Lanka. The Caribbean team lost to South Africa in their first game and later got the better of Kenya.
However, they failed to qualify for the semi-final and took the flight to London once the knockouts began. Drakes reached London along with his team on September 25th. He was signed to play for the Border in the 2002-03 SuperSport Series that began on September 20th.
He had already missed the game against KwaZulu-Natal which Border won by 76 runs. They were set to hosts the Free State team at the Buffalo Park in East London beginning on 27th September. Drakes took a long flight on the eve of the match as the Border team were set to name the West Indian in the playing XI despite him reaching halfway through the first day. Luckily for the Border team, they won the toss and elected to bat first as the International pacer had enough time to reach the venue.
However, the home side kept losing wickets and were 35/4 by 11th over only. But the Border team skipper Pieter Strydom played a gritty knock to rescue his team. He along with Tryon Henderson added 79 runs in 23 overs for the 7th wicket.
Henderson struck 10 fours during his 59-ball 53 and got out at 2:08 PM local time. However, there was no information about Vasbert Drakes who was supposed to reach around 2:00 PM. Strydom got out at the score of 171/8 after scoring 67 from 148 deliveries.
At this juncture, Border cricket manager Stephen Jones received a telephone call from the East London airport saying that the plane in which Drakes was travelling was delayed and would reach at 3:45 PM only.
The venue was 11 km drive from the airport and it was doubtful whether Drakes would even take the field on the first day let alone batting at No.11. The usual batting position of Drakes was No.7 only. The Border team lost their 9th wicket at the score of 172 three overs after their captain’s dismissal.
Border’s innings concluded with Drakes ruled ‘Timed Out’ as he did not reach the crease in time. Vasbert Drakes finally took the field on the second day where he picked up a couple of wickets as Free State posted 349. Drakes was outside South Africa and that too travelling in the air for the majority of the first day.
Border, in the second essay, bowled out for just 136 and lost the game by an innings and 41 runs. Drakes scored 7 from 32 balls batting at No.7 in this innings.
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.
- Joe Root moves to 3rd spot in latest ICC Rankings; Virat Kohli slipped to 5th
- 5 Test series with maximum number of debutants
- 5 Test cricketers who are capable of bagging IPL contracts
- Top 10 international cricket teams and their New Year Resolutions in 2021
- 5 Cricketers who missed out in ICC Men’s T20I team of the decade