Not ‘retired hurt’, but ‘retired out’

There are 11 modes of dismissals in cricket; among the least known of which is ‘retired out’ which happens when a batsman ‘retires’ (or leaves the field) without the umpire’s permission, and does not have the permission of the opposing captain to resume his innings. This often happens in friendly/unofficial matches when captains call back the players currently batting to allow other members of the side an opportunity to get some practice. However, there has been only one match in international cricket when players have been declared ‘retired out’ — a Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2001. Bangladesh was a newcomer to Test cricket at the time and Sri Lanka’s captain Sanath Jayasuriya (above) recalled Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene after they had scored 201 and 150 runs respectively so that other batsmen in the team could get some time out in the middle. Jayasuriya was later criticised for his decision as it was seen to have demeaned Test cricket and disrespected the opposition.

Jack of all trades and master of all

Former India captain S. Venkataraghavan (above) is the only individual to have played the role of a match referee as well as an umpire (whether a TV umpire or an on- field umpire) in Test matches. Venkataraghavan has been an on-field umpire in 72 Tests, a TV umpire in one Test and a match referee in five Tests. Two individuals have done this in ODI cricket - Venkataraghavan and South Africa's Cyril Mitchley. Such a feat is yet to be accomplished in T20Is.

The Stats Q & A

Australia beat England in the first ever Test played in 1877 by a margin of 45 runs. I recently read that Australia beat England by same margin in the centenary Test of 1977. Is this true?

- Pralhad Kurundwadkar, Miraj, Maharashtra

Yes, this is true. Australia beat England in both Tests by the same margin of 45 runs. It is also noteworthy that both matches were played at the same venue, i.e. the Melbourne Cricket Ground. There was another centenary Test played between these two teams in 1980, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Test match in England, played at The Oval in 1880. Interestingly, neither of the two centenary Tests was considered part of the bi-annual Ashes series played between Australia and England.

Rahane captained India during the ODI series in Zimbabwe but it's quite possible that he will never captain again. Are there any instances where a player has led India for one ODI series but never again?

- Rijoy Bhaumik, Kolkata, West Bengal

India has had four captains - Gundappa Viswanath, Mohinder Amarnath, Syed Kirmani and Anil Kumble - who captained India in a solitary ODI each, which also means they captained in only one series (even if not the entire series). The only Indian captain to lead the team for an entire ODI series but never captain again is Ajit Wadekar who led India in the two-match Prudential Trophy against England in 1974, which India lost 0-2. Wadekar was in the twilight of his international career at the time and those were the only two ODIs that he played in.

I have noticed that Steven Smith plays particularly well in the first innings of Test matches. Does he hold some kind of record for this?

- Swarnima, Balsokra, Jharkhand

Steven Smith has scored 1739 runs in the first innings of Test matches at an average of 96.61, including nine centuries and three fifties. The only batsman in Test history with a higher average in the first innings of Tests (min. 1000 runs) is Don Bradman, who scored 2387 runs at an average of 113.66. Interestingly, Smith averages a significantly poorer 36.41 in the second, third and fourth innings of Test matches, with only one century from 37 innings (as of July 18, 2015).

Bangladesh beat South Africa by nine wickets in the third ODI of the recently concluded bilateral series. Has Bangladesh beaten any other top team by such a comprehensive margin in ODIs, previously?

- Sharan Radhakrishnan, New Delhi

No, this is the first time that Bangladesh has beaten a top-eight team by a margin of nine wickets. It had previously won two ODIs by a margin of nine wickets, against Zimbabwe (Khulna, 2006) and Kenya (Khulna, 2006). Bangladesh has never won an ODI by 10 wickets. Apart from Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, each of the other Test nations has registered at least one ODI victory by a margin of 10 wickets.