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Aislabie

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So a recent piece of news led me down a rabbithole: Who is the least remarkable player to have a first-class triple-century?

The player who drew this topic to my attention is brand new Derbyshire captain David Lloyd. He scored 313 not out against Derbyshire in 2022, which is so far the headline of a career which has given him 4,998 runs @ 30.85 with six centuries. Truly one of the careers of all time, but we can do better.

One career that's a perhaps less remarkable is that of Swapnil Gugale. His magnum opus was an unbeaten 351 against Delhi in 2016, which is one of his four first-class centuries to date. His career petered out within a few years of that innings, although he did turn out for Chilaw Marians in 2022-23 for six matches. Although his first-class average of 34.20 is respectable, it is asterisked by the fact that he played his home games at Pune, historically one of the best batting venues in the world. But we can still do better.

Hampshire's Dick Moore played nine seasons of county cricket before the Second World War, and absolutely had a favourite ground for batting on. At Dean Park in Bournemouth, he made five of his ten first-class centuries, including his record 316 against Warwickshire. Indeed, all ten of his centuries were scored at home, with three in Portsmouth and two in Southampton. But so poor was he everywhere else that he finished with a deeply average average of 26.08 in first-class cricket. But he did score ten centuries, which probably makes him too good for this sort of honour.

A player with a similar batting record was Frank Foster: his 305 not out against Worcestershire (doing god's work) headlined an otherwise meagre first-class batting career that finished with an average of 26.61. In his seven Tests, he usually tended to bat at seven or eight, but there was a reason for this: his truly excellent bowling. If not for the outbreak of the First World War, he would likely have been remembered as England's greatest ever left-arm fast bowler. Instead, he is forgotten as England's greatest ever left-arm fast bowler. Far too remarkable for this sort of list.

On the other side of the world at a similar time in history, Charles Gregory (brother of Syd) flayed a scarcely believable innings of 383 in just under six hours against Queensland. Despite this truly bonkers innings, he would finish his 31-match first-class career with an average of 32.89 and only one other century. Despite the modesty of his overall record, it is genuinely shocking that he never played a Test match, even on nepotism grounds given the prominence of his family. Given how awful conditions were for batting in that era, an average of 32 certainly isn't to be sniffed at. He escapes this list.

So does Billy Murdoch: a first-class average of 26.86 isn't bad at all considering that he played in the 19th century, on 19th century facilities. His innings of 321 against Victoria in 1881 was the first first-class triple-century not made by WG Grace. He obviously doesn't belong here either.

Speaking of Sheffield Shield centuries, Liam Davis made 303 not out against a New South Wales team that managed to utterly shit the bed and lose by an innings and 323 runs despite a top four of Watson-Hughes-Khawaja-Smith. They even gave up seven wickets to Michael Beer in the second innings. That season, Davis was genuinely excellent, but he turned out to be a real one-hit wonder. He finished his career with an overall batting average of 31.22. However, that's not his fault: shortly after his triple-hundred, he sustained the finger injury that would ultimately end his career, and he is now one of Australia's leading batting coaches. He doesn't belong on this list.

Nor does Sam Agarwal, who made 313 not out in what would turn out to be his final first-class match. Agarwal was a truly incredible cricketer, and the only thing remarkable about him is that no county saw fit to bring him into their fold after that innings; he would have been an asset to any one of them.

At the other end of the spectrum, Rafatullah Mohmand played through a 23-year domestic career that was headlined first by an innings of 302 not out against Sui Southern Gas Corporation (Pakistani domestic cricket is fun) and secondly by a call-up to the Pakistan T20 team aged 39 in 2015 (Pakistani international cricket is fun). Despite all of this, he averaged just 29.33 across his long career, which is a very low figure for such a respected player. That can partly be explained by how truly awful Pakistani domestic cricket was for batting in, and he probably escapes this list.

A long time before him, Pervez Akhtar enjoyed a 13-year first-class career, the difference being that he played only 12 matches in that time. In one of those matches, he made 337 not out for Pakistan Railways against Dera Ismail Khan. This Dera Ismail Khan team was possibly the worst first-class team ever to play: they had three fixtures before being stripped of first-class status. In two of them, they lost by walkover - forfeiting their games before a toss could even be made. In the other, they conceded 910 for six before being bowled out for 32 and 27. This was the match in which Pervez Akhtar got his triple. In all other matches in his career, he made 263 runs at 18.78. This is our first real contender.

Next, we have Waheed Mirza. The forgotten member of the all-time record 561-run opening stand with Mansoor Akhtar, Mirza (who had already opened the bowling in the first innings of the match) was the aggressor, biffing a fast 324 and outscoring Akhtar by exactly 100. He then also opened the bowling in the second innings. Despite this singular display of brilliance, the rest of his career was not much to write home about: he made only one other century and finished with a batting average of just 25.77, while also recording only 53 wickets from his 60 first-class matches. Really a very unremarkable career, except for that one game against Quetta.

Our final contender is Hamza Ghanchi. This batter made exactly 300 not out for Karachi Whites against National Bank of Pakistan, the highest of his six first-class scores and - thanks to being caught out on 99 the next time he got there, his only first-class century. His form did slump after that, and he has not played first-class cricket since October 2017, currently boasting a batting average of 29.55. At only 29 years old though, there's no reason he couldn't force his way back into the professional game in the future.

So, that really only leaves us with two contenders for this dubious crown: Waheed Mirza (who finished with the lowest career batting average of any player with a triple century), and Pervez Akhtar (who made more than half of his career runs in his triple-century, and was never considered consistently good enough to break into his domestic team. As I see it, there can only be one "winner", and it isn't me for wasting half a day on this!
 

wasteyouryouth

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Genuinely feel like Kimber has a lurker account here and read @icyman crapping on Bumrah before making the second half of this video.

It's a big difference between England and India. Bumrah can largely do what both Anderson and Wood do, certainly sit in between the two. Makes him lethal. He also has far broader variations. I'm not sure England has one test bowler with 2 of those skill sets let alone 3. I don't remember seeing a bowler bowl quite so many slower balls in a test match as he has in this series. Might be a specific attempt to combat England's aggression. Plus he's not shy about using the yorker.

Easily the best pace bowler in the world. I always think about how you could apply roles to bowlers (similar to what you can do positionally on Football Manager) and he's definitely a 'Complete Forward'.

Edit- Archer is probably closest in terms of broad skill sets, which is why he's such a big miss.
 
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icyman

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Genuinely feel like Kimber has a lurker account here and read @icyman crapping on Bumrah before making the second half of this video.

Harping on economy rates in World Cup KOs doesn't make sense to me- it is like saying Nehra was the best bowler based off the 2003 Final cause of his economy rates. Those 2 wickets mean nothing cause he wasn't able to break the shackles when required. Also, don't think Kimber watched the match in entirety, Bumrah's frustrated displays of emotions, knocking off the stumps hasn't gone unnoticed.
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It's a big difference between England and India. Bumrah can largely do what both Anderson and Wood do, certainly sit in between the two. Makes him lethal. He also has far broader variations. I'm not sure England has one test bowler with 2 of those skill sets let alone 3. I don't remember seeing a bowler bowl quite so many slower balls in a test match as he has in this series
I agree with your pointers, but the difference between England and India being that we don't settle for bilateral Test glories, we'd rather win World Cups /events than be bally with bilateral wins.
 

wasteyouryouth

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I do think players not jumping from one league to another, while the first league is still ongoing, is a good idea.

I completely lost interest in SA20 at about half way, watched some highlights and a bit of the final. Mostly with test cricket being on, T20 becomes a complete irrelevance to me. However, three leagues at once with players jetting from one to another just makes it all feel so futile.

A huge factor in its sustained success is the privilege afforded/taken by the IPL. It's the only league in town for it's window and the fact that the majority of players taking part can't be seen in another league.
 

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