Poor Rankings & Great Averages

19th January 2016

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

Each week for ‘Mason & Guests’ I put together a brief summary of cricket events outside the Caribbean, round-up the week’s notable WI birthdays & anniversaries, & throw in a few ‘Did You Know?’ facts:

“Hello! This is David Oram taking you ‘Around the World in 2‘:

“Eng won the 3rd Test v SA & took an unassailable 2-0 series lead. SA had to fly in WK Dane Vilas on the morning of the game as an emergency replacement for Quinton de Kock, who was freakishly injured, twisting a knee while out walking his girlfriend’s tiny Jack Russell terriers. The win was built upon a brilliant century by Joe Root & a burst of 6-17 by Stuart Broad to shoot SA out for 83 in their 2nd inngs. Broad also leapt to the top of the ICC’s Test bowling rankings. The defeat sees SA fall from the summit of the team rankings, with India bizarrely becoming the no.1 Test side with Eng in 5th place. This unsatisfactory outcome again highlights the flaws in the ICC rankings. Surely, if the World Champions lose, the victor should take on the mantle, like in boxing? A better system would be a squash-ladder, which if in operation now would currently see Pak top, Eng 2nd, Aus 3rd & India 4th. Sadly though, under both systems, WI remain 8th. The final Test kicks off on Fri at Centurion but Spare a Thought for Steven Finn, who’s flown home injured; & with a duck in Eng’s total of 323 failed to register a run in the 1st inngs for the 18th time in his 29 Tests.

“Aus have gone 3-0 up with 2 to play in their ODI series with India – completing successive chases around the 300-mark – despite Rohit Sharma hitting 171no & 124 in the 1st 2 games; & Virat Kohli 117 in the 3rd. Did You Know Aus have now won a record 17 home ODIs in a row, surpassing a winning streak of 16 enjoyed by WI between 1986-1990? The 4th ODI is tonight.

“Staying in Aus, the s-fs of the Big Bash are on Thurs & Fri with the Adelaide Strikers taking on Sydney Thunder & Perth Scorchers facing the Melbourne Stars. The Melbourne Renegades didn’t qualify despite Chris Gayle equalling Yuvraj Singh’s record of 50 off just 12 balls – Gayle’s blast reading: 2, dot, 6, 6, 6, 6, 2, 6, 6, 4, 1, 6. The Big Bash final is on Sun.

“Elsewhere, Bang bt Zim in the 1st 2 games of their 4-match T20 series; & NZ set a new T20 intl record partnership – Martin Guptill & Kane Williamson adding 171 for the 1st wkt to give NZ a 10 wkt win over Pak in the 2nd of their 3-match series. Pak won the 1st by 16 runs & the decider is on Fri.”

A Few Birthdays & Anniversaries:

“Our featured birthday is a man who, according to ESPN Cricinfo, today celebrates completion of his 103rd year. The website notes the birth in 1913 of Jonathan Bartholomew Rollox, better known as Toby Rollox, although Cricket Archive states his 1st name was Alwyn. What is agreed is that he played 5 times as an all-rounder for British Guiana from 1932-51, although he didn’t play a single 1st-class match between Jan 1934 & Feb 1950. He moved into umpiring & stood in 1 Test at Georgetown in 1953. Well, whatever his correct appellation, & wherever he is, we wish Mr Rollox many felicitations.

“Other birthdays this week include the 48th tomorrow of Grenada’s Junior Murray, WI’s WK in 88 intls from 1992-2002; also tomorrow, Anguilla’s Chesney Hughes is 25. He’s been playing for Derbys in the County Championship since 2010, & in 2013 he carried his bat for 270no v Yorks – but managed only another 366 1st-class runs in the rest of the season.

“Sat sees the 27th birthday of Jamaica’s Nkrumah Bonner, who’s appeared twice for WI in T20 intls; Sat is also the 70th birthday of Pakistani pace bowler Asif Masood, who featured in 16 Tests between 1969-77. Tall, with long, dark hair & a bushy moustache, his unusual run-up saw him begin with a leap backwards & a sideways turn before he began his loping approach – a movement John Arlott described as ‘like seeing Groucho Marx chasing a pretty waitress’. In later life, Asif settled in Lancs & ran a post office.

“Mon is the 31st birthday of T&T’s Lendl Simmons, who’s appeared 110 times for WI across the 3 formats & is just 3 short of 3,000 intl runs; Mon also sees the anniversary of the 1915 birth of quick bowler John Trim who played 4 Tests for WI between 1948-52.

“Other anniversaries this week include the 1911 birth tomorrow of Tobago’s Cyril Merry who played 2 Tests v Eng in 1933; & on Sun the 1912 birth of Kenneth ‘Bam Bam’ Weekes, who also played only 2 Tests v Eng, & made 137 in his last Test inngs. He didn’t play again because that Test was the last before the outbreak of WWII. Weekes, who was a cousin of Sir Everton, added 163 for the 5th wkt with Vic Stollmeyer, who made 96. The elder brother of Jeff Stollmeyer, Vic shared the same birthday as Bam Bam, but in Vic’s case Sun sees his centenary – Jan 24th marks 100 yrs since his birth in 1916. That 96 was Stollmeyer’s only Test inngs – & leaves him with the 4th highest batting avg in Test history. Above him, naturally is Don Bradman with his incredible fig of 99.94; but Did You Know that 3rd is a Sri Lankan? Naveed Nawaz, who played 1 Test v Bang in 2002 & scored 21 & 78no, avgs 99.

“Top of the avgs, of course, is Andy Ganteaume who in 1948 scored 112 v Eng at P-o-S in his only Test inngs. He is also the 9th longest lived Test cricketer; & is now the oldest-ever living WI player, having last year passed Esmond Kentish, who was 94 yrs & 201 days when he passed in 2011. Andy Ganteaume celebrates his 95th birthday on Fri.

“Until next time, this has been ‘Around the World in 2′ with David Oram.”

You can listen to the above round-up here.

The Mason & Guests show is broadcast live every Tuesday from 6.15-8pm ECT (10.15pm-midnight GMT) on Voice of Barbados 92.9fm, and can be heard by clicking on ‘LISTEN LIVE’ on the website page via the link provided. To catch up on previous broadcasts, click on this link to the show’s archives.

David Oram

David Oram is an Englishman following West Indies cricket from Islamabad. When I lived in the region, I was the resident ‘statto’, co-host and sometime presenter of ‘Mason & Guests’ – http://www.vob929.com/ weekly cricket talk-show, the sport’s leading radio show in the WIndies – hosted by the Caribbean’s principal radio commentator, Andrew Mason. You can tweet me at DavidOram@colblimp1983.

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