Ask Steven – How many left-arm bowlers have taken more international wickets than Trent Boult?


I was sorry to read that Trent Boult was winding down his international career. Has any other left-arm bowler taken more international wickets, apart, perhaps, from Wasim Akram? asked Bruce McKenzie from New Zealand

You’re right in thinking that Wasim Akram leads the way: he took no fewer than 916 wickets in international cricket – 414 in Tests and 502 in ODIs. Trent Boult currently sits in seventh place among left-armers with 549, but might yet move up, as he is still expected to appear in some formats. Boult currently has 317 wickets in Tests, 169 in ODIs and 63 in T20s. The other seamers ahead of him are Chaminda Vaas (761), Zaheer Khan (610) and Mitchell Johnson (590), while spinners Daniel Vettori (705) and Shakib Al Hasan (631) are also in front. Mitchell Starc is currently only four behind Boult, with 545.

Who had the most innings in Tests, having been bowled in all his visits to the crease? How about the other modes of dismissal? asked Andrew Browning from England

Only one man has been out bowled in each of the five times he was out in Tests – the Nottinghamshire offspinner Sam Staples, who played three Tests in South Africa in 1927-28. Nine people have been out twice in Tests and lbw both times; no one managed three. But Reginald Hands played one Test for South Africa, against England in Port Elizabeth (now Gqerbha) in 1913-14, and was stumped in both innings. The unfortunate Hands was killed in the First World War; a tribute to him, instigated by his father, led indirectly to the tradition of two minutes’ silence to honor someone’s passing.

The record-holder in this particular regard is the Sri Lankan spinner Milinda Siriwardana, who had nine innings in his five Tests, and was out caught in all of them.
England Lions racked up 672 against South Africans last week. What’s the highest total against a touring team in England outside a Test match? asked Gerry Latimer from England

England Lions did indeed score 672 in their innings defeat of South Africans in Canterbury last week, but it won’t make it on to any records list as it was not a first-class match (both sides chose from more than 11 players). But for this irritation, it would have come in a close second: Harlequins (whose cap would soon be made famous by Douglas Jardine) amassed 676 for 8 declared against West Indians in Eastbourne in 1928. This was something of a recovery from 162 for 5 : Kent amateur John Knott hit an unbeaten 261, while Nos. 7 and 8, Reginald Bettington and John Evans, both passed 120. The record by a county is Surrey’s 645 for 9 declared against the New Zealanders at The Oval in 1949, when Jack Parker made a career-best 255.

In Tests, England piled up 903 for 7 declared against Australia at The Oval in 1938 (Len Hutton 364), and 710 for 7 declared against India in Birmingham in 2011 (Andrew Strauss called a halt when Alastair Cook was out for 294).
I believe that Eoin Morgan’s 17 sixes against Afghanistan is the record for a one-day international. But is it also the most in any one-day game? asked James Rowley from England

Eoin Morgan thrashed 17 sixes in his 148 from 71 balls for England against Afghanistan at Old Trafford during the 2019 World Cup. That broke the existing record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings, shared by Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle.

One other man has hit 17 sixes in an innings in List A (senior one-day) cricket: Gerrie Snyman, during his 196 for Namibia against the United Arab Emirates in Windhoek in 2007-08 (this was not an official one-day international ). But one man is well clear of both of them: playing for Western Australia against Queensland in the Australian JLT One-Day Cup in Sydney in September 2018, Darcy Short launched no fewer than 23 sixes during his 257, the third-highest innings in any List A game, and the highest in Australia.
Who played the most Tests without ever bowling? asked Abhishek Kunjal from India

It’s probably not a great surprise to find a wicketkeeper on top of this list: Ian Healy played 119 Tests for Australia and never got on to bowl. But the men in second and third spots were outfielders: New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming played 111 Tests without ever bowling, and Andrew Strauss 100 for England. Healy’s successor, Adam Gilchrist, comes next with 96 Tests, ahead of the England wicketkeepers Alan Knott (95) and Godfrey Evans (91). Then comes Jonny Bairstow, who has played 87 Tests so far (49 as the designated keeper) without being given a bowling spell.

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