UnGoogleAble Cricket Questions

An old friend of mine, David Butler, while commenting on a recent cricket-related post, asked:

Can you name the batsman who played only one first class innings, scored a double century and never batted in a first class match again?

I had no idea. It didn’t strike me as a question that was easily GoogleAble, so I didn’t try. But I did go to cricinfo, to see if I could navigate a way to the answer quickly. Cricinfo home. Statsguru. Records home. First class records. First class batting records. Trivia/First class batting trivia. Highest First Class Batting Averages with no qualification. Bingo.

And what an answer. As a result of David’s question, I came across the brilliant but tragic cricketing career of Norman Callaway.

I quote from the article:

Norman Callaway made just one first-class appearance but it was one to remember. In February 1915, aged 19, he scored 207 in three-and-a-half hours for New South Wales against Queensland at the SCG, adding 256 for the fifth wicket with Charlie Macartney. In 1916 he joined the AIF and died during an attack on the Hindenberg Line in May 1917.

I’ve been very privileged, my life has only been marginally affected by war; the Indo-Pakistani wars of the 1960s didn’t really hit Calcutta, I can only remember some blackouts and air raid sirens, no real combat. The Bangladesh war of 1971 had a bigger impact, mainly as a result of the refugee influx.

So every time I read about the sacrifices made by youth and talent for the freedoms of future generations, I am taken aback in awe. Here’s to Norman Callaway and to all he represents. And here’s to peacetime for current and future generations.

23 thoughts on “UnGoogleAble Cricket Questions”

  1. I have another unGoogleable cricket question, which also involves a promising career cut short. Which young batsman, playing his first and only season of first class cricket, was caught at short leg in the clothing of a fielder who was still pulling his sweater over his head, and didn’t see the ball he ‘caught’? I need the names of the batsman, bowler and fielder please.

  2. Dirk, thanks for the book tip.

    David, I would hazard a guess at Rodney Noel Exton as the answer. Alf Gover “caught” him (with his legs, actually) while putting his sweater on and being completely unsighted. Exton, having played just 4 matches till then, was diagnosed with polio shortly after that and never played again, though he had a long innings teaching at Eton, Mill Hill and Cobham. He played his first and last season in 1946, and passed away in 1999.

  3. Quite right JP. Mr Exton taught me at Mill Hill.
    The bowler by the way was a young spinner trying to make his way in the Surrey 1st XI, one J.C.Laker.
    That year (1946) Exton had an amazing season. He took 77 wickets for Clifton at under 11 apiece. At Lords against Tonbridge he took 14 wickets but still ended up on the losing side, thanks to the efforts of a 13 year old M.C.Cowdrey.

    He was reportedly a ferocious spinner of the ball. He gave me a memorable plaudit, telling a first year that ‘if Butler can bowl offbreaks for the first XI, anyone can…’ I knew I couldn’t spin the ball like him. Few people can.

  4. David,

    We’re cricket freaks here. We would have watched India at 17/5 vs Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells fiercely believing we could still win — if the Beeb had not been on strike.
    We couldn’t watch the whole match because we were then a one channel country, with only a national broadcaster — who interrupted the telecast for the national news bulletin!

  5. Hi JP — you’re probably familiar with it but I use ask.metafilter.com to ask questions that I can’t find on Google. They’re generally questions looking for keywords or names of things, and by their very nature are very hard to find without context. There is a staggering number of people on that site and you generally get a bundle of different views within 24h. People talk about Web 3.0 being about vertical search and context which may go somewhere to do that by building in vertical ontologies; Google did research into automatic ontologies based on relative word frequency (e.g. Paris and France ‘appear a lot’ next to each other; what can we automatically infer from this?).

    But metafilter with its human factor still wins hands down. I like how also you can only ask one question a week, and there’s a $US5 sign up fee; these two keep it spam free and honest.

  6. JP and Anant
    Who do you fancy for the World Cup?
    I reckon India and RSA could beat anyone if they have a good day. But you could say the same about individuals like B.C.Lara. On balance I go with Tendulkar and co.

    What think you, gentlemen?

  7. If South Africa manage to travel well, I think they have the best chance. Sri Lanka would be the alternative.

    That’s what my head says.

    My heart says otherwise. India of course.

  8. If Tendulkar clicks — and he does have a great World Cup record ( 4 fifty plus scores in a row twice), I think India is in with a great chance.
    Otherwise, I think Ponting’s team will do it again — they do have an awesome spirit, even without Lee.

  9. Just read an article on the five players in the 2007 World Cup who also played in the 1992 tournament.

    You can probably name four of them, but the fifth is unlikely (unless you’ve seen the same article as me).

  10. I haven’t seen the article Dominic mentions but I think I know the answer. The obvious four are Tendulkar, Inzie, Lara and Jayasuriya. The less than obvious fifth is Anderson Cummins, who played for WI in 1992 and at the age of 40+ is now a member of the Canadian squad.

    How’s that?

  11. Just came across another! Fathers and sons who have played in the World Cup.

    I read about one pair in an article and I can think of one more.

    Can anybody beat two?

  12. JP, where do we stand on the Gavaskar/Border controversy? Gavaskar has criticised the behaviour of Australian cricketers on the field, and said that if they behaved liked that off the field they would risk being assaulted. He cites the example of David Hookes, who died after being attacked outside a night club.
    Border says Gavaskar has sullied the spirit of cricket and misunderstood the Aussie mindset. Mmmm… I have heard things said by Aussie cricketers that are far from harmless banter. For example the way Graham Thorpe was sledged by Aussie fielders when he was experiencing a painful marital breakdown. What do we think?

  13. It is with the utmost trepidation that I risk delivering a lecture on cricket history to the Rangaswami brothers… But relations between Indian and Australian cricketers have been influenced by some very unusual (and distasteful) episodes. They may to some extent shape uncharacteristic utterances.

    For example once at Melbourne I saw Kris Srikkanth batting in an ODI. He edged the ball to gully and appeared to be caught. When he didn’t walk the crowd went berserk, using the most foul-mouthed racial abuse. I think some of the fielders joined in too.

    The later TV replay showed an Aussie fielder on his back, picking the ball up off the turf between his arm and his body and claiming the catch. This was not just the view of a jaundiced Pom: my Aussie relatives watching with me gaped in disbelief. That fielder later became captain of Oz.

    Not to excuse Gavaskar, but there are unsavoury episodes on both sides.

  14. David,
    Whatever the tensions between India and Australia, and whatever the provocation, Sunny was out of line with his comments on Hookes — and thinks so too. Better sense has prevailed, and he’s apologised.
    I’ll put him back on a pedestal — though not as tall as the older one.

  15. i am a 19 year old boy i have made only one district appearance in my 16 in cricket after that i have nt played with cricket ball but i am continuing my game with tennis ball i am a bowler and i have swing do u think that i can make it to the higher level i dont know the roots to enter please give me some tips

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