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Opened the Batting and the Bowling in the same League Match

Last week’s Ask Steven column on CricInfo looked at people who opened the batting and the bowling in the same ODI. The question and the answer was:

Q : Mehidy Hasan opened the batting and bowling for Bangladesh in the Asia Cup final. How many times has this happened?

A : This particular double is not terribly unusual in ODIs – it’s happened no fewer than 171 times by 45 different players; but Mehidy Hasan was the first to do it for Bangladesh, in the Asia Cup final in Dubai.

The man who did it most frequently was the combative Indian all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar with 45 – almost twice as often as the next on the list, Neil Johnson of Zimbabwe, who managed it 25 times. Mohammad Hafeez has so far done it 13 times for Pakistan, while Tillakaratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka did it 13 times, and Darron Reekers of the Netherlands 12. We should perhaps give a special mention to Frasat Ali, who opened the batting and bowling in every one of East Africa’s official ODIs – all three of them, during the inaugural World Cup in 1975.

So who has done this for Stoke?

In 1st XI League cricket there have been eleven different players to have opened the batting and the bowling in the same match, just seven in 2s league cricket, and four in the Surrey Trust League. In the Under 19 T20 Blast we haven’t played that many games, so only Giacomo Gray and Nico Spreeth have had the honour of being first up in both disciplines.

The full list, including women & girls cricket, and how each player got on is here : Opened Batting and Bowling in Same League Match

As with Steven Lynch’s analysis of ODIs, an Indian tops the Stoke list with Sid Lahiri having opened the batting and the bowling in the same game on 23 occasions. Next comes Tim Handel with ten fewer. You could make a pretty handy Stoke XI with the players on the 1s list, although finding/asking someone to keep wicket might be tricky, and pity the poor captain tasked with sorting out a batting and bowling order to keep everyone happy!

When looking at individual performances; Sid is the only player to complete a match double of 50+ runs and 5+ wickets and is one of only two 1st XI centurions. With the ball only Mike Cooper, Sid, (twice), and Ranga Yasalal have taken a 5-for.

For those who never had the pleasure of meeting Ranga or playing with – or against him on President’s Day – he was our Overseas Player in 1998, (http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/50264.html & http://sdacc.play-cricket.com/website/player_stats_widget/batting_stats/812632?from=stats&rule_type_id=179), and is an unusual name to appear on the 2nd XI list. Back in the day clubs played each other once in larger divisions, and in seasons where there was an odd number of clubs or a club dropped out/scratched a fixture, on occasion there would be a bye-week and there was no restriction on playing your Overseas in the 2nd XI. Logie took Ranga along to Sinjuns and he helped himself to a big hundred.

In 2nd XI cricket instances are far more rare; in part due to the opening spots having traditionally been filled by people who kept wicket or by players who wouldn’t expect to open the bowling, unless it is to buy wickets or start with the old ball.

Apologies here to Keith Watson who isn’t on the list at all but could fall into some of the above categories having taken an 8-for within his 70 career Club wickets – http://sdacc.play-cricket.com/website/results/2314698 – and as captain would always look to give someone an opportunity ahead of himself.

So a short list of just seven 2s players is headed by Adrian Mills who will surely be chuffed to be at the head of such an illustrious list of front-line batsmen…including an Overseas player who once played in the U19 World Cup.

In eleven seasons of participation in the Surrey Trust League, with the emphasis on involving everyone there have only been six matches where a player has opened the batting and the bowling in the same match. The first to take up the challenge was Alex Bond.

The story is little different in women’s cricket. Like the men’s 1st XI there have been eleven different players to open the batting and bowling in a match for the Stoke Women or Stoke Molesey Ladies.

Pre-merger, Nat Sciver was the first to open in both disciplines, but the list is dominated by Rosie McEwing who opened the batting and bowling in 26 of the 46 games that she played for the Club. She finished her Stoke career with more wickets than anyone else, (53), four more than Nat; but four players made more runs than her.

The very first game of the Stoke Molesey Ladies era saw the first instance, (of two), of the same two players opening the batting AND the bowling; Rosie and Charlotte Elworthy taking strike together and then sharing the new ball. Charlotte had a different partner in June 2017 when she opened the batting and the bowling with Anya Devon-Berry.

Overall, less than half of the 136 matches have resulted in a victory, (an even lower percentage if you look at just the men’s results), so we’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to whether appointing a player to open the batting and the bowling is an effective tactic!

As always, if you have any stories from any of these matches, e-mail stokecc@hotmail.com and we’ll share them here.