Gren Alabaster’s 80th birthday

10th December 2013

Around the World in 2 – a few occasional off-breaks

Each week for Mason & Guests I compile and broadcast a brief summary of cricket events outside the Caribbean, with a few “Did You Know, Andrew?” facts thrown in. Here’s this week’s round-up:

“England were thrashed again by Australia in the 2nd Ashes Test in Adelaide, by 218 runs, having lost the 1st by 381 runs. Did You Know, Andrew that this is only the 2nd time in England’s history they’ve lost successive Tests by over 200 runs? The previous occasion was also in Australia in 1907/08. Mitchell Johnson was again Man of the Match, taking 7-40 in England’s 1st innings. He’s now taken 17 wickets in the series at 12 runs apiece. The 3rd Test in Perth begins on Thursday night at 10.30pm ECT.”

This week’s question: in the week of Nelson Mandela’s death I want to recall South Africa’s 1st Test Match after readmission, which was here in Bridgetown in 1992. Firstly, who’s omission from the West Indies side led many Bajans to boycott the game?; and secondly, although SA were playing their 1st Test in over 20 years, one of the team was NOT making his Test debut. Who was that?

“South Africa are 2-0 up in their 3-match ODI series with India. 20-year-old wicket-keeper/batsman Quinton de Kock scored 135 in the 1st match, 106 in the 2nd. He’s now scored 3 ODI centuries in his brief 15-match career. He’s also scored 4 hundreds in only 18 first-class games. Remember the name, because I think we’re going to hear a lot more about this young lad. The 3rd and final ODI starts tomorrow morning, and the 1st of 2 Tests between the sides begins on Wednesday of next week.

“Also starting tomorrow is the 1st of 2 T20 internationals between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in UAE. This is to be followed by 5 ODIs and 3 Test Matches in the New Year.

“Elsewhere, Phil Simmons has signed a 2-year extension to coach Ireland until the end of 2015; while Gus Logie has been dismissed as coach of Canada. And the ICC is to induct Adam Gilchrist and Waqar Younis into their Cricket Hall of Fame.

“Just a few Did You Know, Andrews that came out of West Indies’ superb rear-guard action in the 1st Test v New Zealand: in WI’s 2nd innings Denesh Ramdin made his highest score in 8 Tests v NZ – 24; Darren Sammy completed 1,000 Test runs as captain of WI; Darren Bravo completed 2,000 Test runs (having only 1,749 runs before the match began); and in his 218 Bravo faced 416 balls – which was 42 more than the whole WI team had faced in the 1st innings.

“Still in New Zealand, Did You Know, Andrew that former NZ players are under investigation by the ICC’s anti-corruption unit? Lou Vincent has confirmed he is one of those being investigated; while Chris Cairns has denied he has been contacted regarding any investigation into match or spot fixing.

“And finally, Did You Know, Andrew that today is the 80th birthday of my cricketing cousin in New Zealand? And no, I don’t mean Jacob Oram. I mean Gren Alabaster who played 96 first-class games between 1955 and 1976, scoring 3,200 runs and taking 275 wickets, principally for Otago. Happy birthday, Gren!”

The answer to this week’s quiz questions: 1) Anderson Cummins; & 2) Kepler Wessels, who had previously played Test cricket for Australia. WI famously won the match by 52 runs.

The Mason & Guests show is broadcast live on Tuesday’s from 6.15-8pm ECT (10.15-midnight GMT)  on Voice of Barbados 92.9fm and can be heard via numerous internet tune-in services.

David Oram

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