Yesterday’s quiz was answered in a jiffy – it was Denis Compton who started his county career at No 11. So let’s see if today’s is any more cunning.
Name the bowler – and his nationality – who resorted to bowling in splints to try to prove he was not throwing. Extra kudos if you can pinpoint the year!
A little more than a week ago, two days in fact into the first Test between England and New Zealand, it was reported that Kevin Pietersen was on the verge of signing a deal worth £2million over three years to play in the IPL. Most of those who greeted the news with dismay concentrated on the workload that would face Pietersen, an already high-profile critic of player burnout, in the run-up to the next Ashes series. That, obviously, is a concern, but of equal concern I would have thought to the IPL franchise prepared to make him the competition’s highest paid player, would be his Twenty20 record. It really is nothing to make you throw billions of rupees at. In international competition, 13 innings have brought him 321 runs at an average of just over 24. Add on his domestic figures and you get 577 runs at 25. His international innings have produced just one score of more than 50. Aha, I hear you say, but isn’t strike rate the crucial thing in Twenty20? Quite so, and the figures stack up well for him there, where he is scoring at around 158 per 100 balls. Indeed, a quick 30 at the right time can be more significant than a bunch of half-centuries in this form of the game. But, from observation, my feeling is that Pietersen is not as at home with this form of the game as his reputation as an attacking batsman would seem to indicate. Pietersen is a counter-attacker of the finest kind – at least when he’s not being cast in the role of Daniel Vettori’s bunny – someone who can turn a game when the pressure is on, the field up, and someone who takes time to grow into his best innings. The immediate attacking impact required of Twenty20, to my mind, doesn’t suit him so well. Besides, when it comes to six hitting, he is not in the same class as a Brendon McCullum or an Andrew Symonds. They smack the ball flat; Pietersen is an inside-out man, as likely to get height as length on his shots. Maybe I’m wrong, but Pietersen could turn out to be an expensive mistake for the IPL