One of my favourite songs, from one of my favourite albums, written and performed by one of my favourite musicians. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him perform “live” a couple of times, and I treasure those memories. [I was really looking forward to watching a performance of Moonshadow the musical, but it didn’t quite work out. Don’t think it made it out of Oz.]
Father and son. My father passed away very early morning on 20th May 1980; not surprisingly, he was on my mind these past few days. I still think about him every day, I still miss him every day, I still celebrate memories of times with him. I was one of five siblings, and our mother is still alive; we all continue to remember him with sadness and with joy. My youngest sibling turned 50 earlier this year; my mother turned 75 only a few years ago; I’ll be 60 next year; as the anniversaries stack up, I spend more of my time reminiscing about the joy.
Joy there was, and joy in plenty. Joy across the splendid time that was guaranteed for all while he was around, a splendour the family has been able to hold on to through times since, times hard as well as times easy. And we’ve known enough of both.
This post is tangentially about some of those joys. Cricket. A warped sense of humour, more warped than normal when it came to wordplay. And a level of obsessive-compulsive behaviour. These are a few of my favourite things.
And so to the post.
There was a time when pubs were pubs, filled mostly with regulars, where everyone knew you by name and where the person behind the bar would know what you normally drink. A pint of the usual, Dave? That sort of thing.
It was a time of saloon bars and public bars, of dartboards and of unhealthy snacks and even more unhealthy oodles of cigarette smoke.
It was a time when landlords and landladies had to find creative ways of pulling the locals in during the early part of the week, rather than just relying on Friday and Saturday doing their bit for God and country, aided and abetted by bits of Thursday evening and Sunday lunchtime.
Or, to quote the title of another wonderful Cat Stevens song, Tuesday’s Dead.
The pubs tried many techniques to resuscitate Tuesday. One of which was the pub quiz.
This meant that for a couple of hours every Tuesday evening, one part of the pub would be full of would-be Masterminds earnestly arguing about obscure things and occasionally hitting on the right answers. A splendid time was guaranteed for all.
Not everyone was earnest, and not everyone took it seriously. There was a regular undercurrent of chatter and banter, often asking questions that weren’t quite kosher. [Example of a kosher question: Sunderland in 1979, Villa in 1981, who in 1980? Or, name 3 England captains that played for Scunthorpe. The non-kosher variety? Which is the odd one out? 17, 29, 33, 47, 54. I won’t tell you the kosher answers, they’re good, nice questions. But the answer to the last question is unfair-by-design. Basically it’s whatever the others don’t come up with. And then, as you prepare for a quick getaway, you say to the others “Number xx. Doesn’t come with rice”.
Many of the questions of the not-quite-fair variety had to do with sport. Usually football, but not necessarily restricted to football.
One of my favourite such questions was very tongue-in-cheek. Which father-son combination scored the most runs in Test cricket?
The answer was — yes, you have my full permission to cringe now— Miandad. Javed Miandad, to be precise. Pronounced, for the sake of this answer, Me-and-dad. Cringe away.
The first time I heard that monstrosity was in the mid-late 1990s, a time when we were all getting used to the phenomenon of being connected to the Web.
I was intrigued by the mock and unfair question. Could it be? After all, Miandad was no mean bat, he’d scored an entirely respectable 8832 runs. At the end of 1996 (around the time I’d checked on the data) he was 4th on the all-time individual list.
The imp in me asked myself, I wonder if any father-son combination in history has scored more than Miandad. So I checked. And the answer was a resounding no.
Me-and-dad was the undisputed “father-son” champ.
And then I forgot all about this.
Today, while reading something else, I saw a reference to the Me-and-dad question, by now a chestnut.
And I said to myself, I wonder. Is it still true? Has no father-son combination beaten good old Javed?
So I checked. Again.
Went through the whole list of father-son combinations that have played Test cricket. All 45 of them.
Oh frabjous day.
Found that Javed had been deposed.
We have a winner.
Micky and Alec Stewart scored 8846 Test runs between them. 14 more than Me-and-dad. And, in the bittersweet way all such statistics are formed, it took Alec till his very last Test innings to score the runs that would take Stewart father and son past Miandad.
The Me-and-dad question won’t work any more. Hasn’t worked since 2003.
Anyway, for those who are interested. Here are the 45 father-son combinations that have played Test cricket, and the runs they’ve scored between them, as of today.
- Micky and Alec Stewart 8848
- Colin and Chris Cowdrey 7725
- Len and Richard Hutton 7190
- Hanif and Shoaib Mohammed 6620
- Lala and Mohinder Amarnath 5256
- Vijay and Sanjay Manjrekar 5251
- Dave and Dudley Nourse 5194
- Everton Weekes and David Murray 5056
- Nazar Mohammad and Mudassar Nazar 4391
- Peter and Shaun Pollock 4388
- Alan and Mark Butcher 4288
- Lance and Chris Cairns 4256
- Chris and Stuart Broad 4226
- Jahangir and Majid Khan 3970
- Geoff and Shaun Marsh 3948
- Walter and Richard Hadlee 3667
- Ken and Hamish Rutherford 3220
- Vinoo and Ashok Mankad 3100
- The Nawab of Pataudi Senior and Junior 2992
- Pankaj and Pranab Roy 2513
- Datta and Anshuman Gaekwad 2335
- George and Ron Headley 2252
- Jim Parks Senior and Junior 1991
- Joe Hardstaff Senior and Junior 1947
- Yograj and Yuvraj Singh 1910
- Rod and Tom Latham 1511
- Lala and Surinder Amarnath 1428
- David and Jonny Barstow 1329
- Fred and Maurice Tate 1207
- Zin and Chris Harris 1155
- Walter and Dayle Hadlee 1073
- Roger and Stuart Binny 975
- Frank and George Mann 657
- Giff and Graham Vivian 531
- Rodney and Aaron Redmond 488
- Andy and Malcolm Waller 465
- Mac and Robert Anderson 428
- Brendon and Doug Bracewell 377
- Arnie and Ryan Sidebottom 315
- Ron and Dean Headley 248
- Jeff and Simon Jones 243
- Hemant and Hrishikesh Kanitkar 185
- Wynne and Grant Bradburn 167
- Charlie and David Townsend 128
- Malcolm and Kyle Jarvis 62