Taking no wickets is easy. Thinking about it, there must be hundreds of players with a big fat zero in the Test wickets column. Thanks to a bit of messing around on Statsguru, we discovered that there are actually 1,145. We also learned that Kumar Sangakkara, Alec Stewart, Brian Lara and Simon Kerrigan managed 399 Test appearances between them without taking a single wicket. So as we said, not taking wickets is easy, especially if you don’t actually turn your arm over.
Taking a single Test wicket puts you in a much more exclusive club, one containing just 209 members. By our logic, there must be some amusing stories in there somewhere, of how these part time bowlers (plus Boyd Rankin) finally had their brief moment in the sun, before wandering back off into the outfield to spend their time thinking about how great it would be to wake up every morning next to Margot Robbie.
The 2014 Trent Bridge Test was the one of the more boring efforts in recent times, the pitch being one of those super-flat efforts that money men love. For those of us trying to actually watch the game and make amusing observations about it on Twitter it was a nightmare, the only remotely entertaining bits being every single one of Liam Plunkett’s 57 majestic overs plus a two over spell from Alastair Cook, the important chunk of which YouTube has captured for posterity:
What’s so endearing about this is just how rubbish Cook’s bowling is. Even with a full length run-up, the ball barely makes it to Ishant Sharma at the other end. Even after a few bottles of gin, we reckon we could still bowl faster. Which makes Sharma’s dismissal all the more embarrassing for everyone involved. Even Matt Prior (presumably wearing a helmet as a joke) can barely be arsed to bend over and catch the ball.
Remember Ravi Bopara? He was supposed to be a swashbuckling all-rounder, the new Flintoff as the original began to fall apart at the seams. Unfortunately it never quite worked out. He played 13 Tests, averaging a reasonable 32 with the bat but a distinctly unreasonable 290 with the ball. His only Test wicket came in Galle, Prasanna Jayawardene caught behind (again by Matt Prior) for a duck. Unfortunately for Bopara, his performance is best remembered for completing a pair with the bat (his second and third consecutive ducks in the series).
We couldn’t actually find any footage of Bopara’s wicket but here he is playing office cricket in Durban to a truly horrible soundtrack and being dismissed by former Sith Lord Darth Maul.
Turns out everyone’s favourite foot under chair merchant also took a single Test wicket, that of the great Kapil Dev. It was during a particularly boring sixth Test of the series, in which only England’s first innings was actually completed. We searched long and hard for video of said wicket (i.e. we typed ‘David Gower bowling’ into YouTube) but alas, it was not to be. We did, however, discover this rare treat, Gower getting called for chucking as England lost to New Zealand. We haven’t seen Gower in such a bad mood since the aforementioned chair on foot incident, still one of the great cricket commentary highlights.
We’ll be honest: we only picked this guy because of his amazing name. According to Wikipedia, Freddie Calthorpe (as he was better known) was actually the uncle of senile commentator Henry Blofeld. He (Calthorpe, not Blofeld) played four Tests for England back in 1930, claiming a single Test wicket, that of West Indian Teddy Hoad (real name Edward Lisle Goldsworthy Hoad).
Of course, there’s no footage on YouTube of West Indian Test matches from the 1930s – at least until Robelinda2 gets really bored – so here’s a clip from the movie Raffles (from 1939) in which the titular hero claims a caught and bowled before delivering what looks like the first ever send-off.
We’ve talked about Boyd Rankin before in some depth, but we couldn’t finish this article without posting something of the great man. Here he is thrashing around with some ropes for no apparent reason whatsoever. The only thing we could think of that would be more pointless than this would be posting a video of it on YouTube. Or perhaps including that video in an article that’s supposed to be about wicket taking that seems to have largely focused on other random videos.