For the love of it!

Random toughts of a Sports Lover…

Quickie to 50! Obviously…

So the other day when Kitchener dissed Vernon Philander and obviously beat his chest about how the Poms will destroy the Proteas when we tour there, while his English team was obviously getting a royal biffing from the Sri Lankans in the background, the issue came up about whether Philander was quicker to his 50 wickets than some English bloke who played cricket in the late 1800’s, yes more than 100 years ago….

I suggested that because Philander took his in the same amount of tests, but less time was taken for him to reach his 50 wickets, in terms of days, obviously Philander got his 50 wickets faster and said Englishman.

Top 10 Test Bowlers to 50 wickets (per

layer Opposition Ground Match Date Debut Time Mat Scorecard
CTB Turner (Aus) v England Manchester 30 Aug 1888 28 Jan 1887 1y 215d 6 Test # 30
T Richardson (Eng) v Australia Lord’s 22 Jun 1896 24 Aug 1893 2y 303d 7 Test # 50
VD Philander (SA) v New Zealand Wellington 23 Mar 2012 9 Nov 2011 0y 135d 7 Test # 2037
FR Spofforth (Aus) v England Sydney 17 Feb 1883 31 Mar 1877 5y 323d 8 Test # 13
AL Valentine (WI) v Australia Melbourne 31 Dec 1951 8 Jun 1950 1y 206d 8 Test # 345
RM Hogg (Aus) v Pakistan Perth 24 Mar 1979 1 Dec 1978 0y 113d 8 Test # 850
TM Alderman (Aus) v Pakistan Brisbane 27 Nov 1981 18 Jun 1981 0y 162d 8 Test # 910
R Peel (Eng) v Australia Manchester 30 Aug 1888 12 Dec 1884 3y 262d 9 Test # 30
JJ Ferris (Aus/Eng) v South Africa Cape Town 19 Mar 1892 28 Jan 1887 5y 51d 9 Test # 37
SF Barnes (Eng) v Australia Sydney 21 Feb 1908 13 Dec 1901 6y 70d 9 Test # 100

Kitchener, obviously as always, stomped his little foot indignantly and said that, in such instance, it depends on how many balls it took to get to the fifty, and not how long it takes in terms days.

Since Cricinfo doesn’t publish for each and every bowler how many balls were bowled to get to the 50 wickets, I said as much, but obviously Kitchener insisted, its about the number of balls, not the time it takes…

I caved in, and agreed; it’s perhaps, in this case, more relevant to use the number of balls bowled rather than the time that transpired, more apt to look at the number of balls bowled, although it is obviously technically faster ( ie quicker) to get to 50 wickets in 1 year, than 3 years. It cannot be faster to wait 3 years for 50 wickets as opposed to 1 year, can it? But because we want to compare like for like, it perhaps makes sense to compare the number of balls bowled for the two, because in the olden days, it obviously took longer to travel to a country via ship than the actual test took.

But, I will humour him, and just as another egg in his face, it now transpires that of the top 3 bowlers, in terms of balls bowled, yes, Philander is in fact, and obviously the fastest EVER to 50 wickets!

Philander has bowled a total of 1254 balls to get his 50 wickets. Although in the fourth innings of the third test against New Zealand he did not get any wickets, those balls are obviously not included because he achieved his 50th wicket with his 1254th ball.

Top of the list was is CTB Turner of Australia who played in the 1880’s, where one over equated to only 4 balls. To reach his 50 wickets, he bowled approximately 1727 balls. I say approximately, because obviously there is not a ball by ball update for these old tests, although he might have only bowled 5 overs less than what is shown on the scorecards in his 6th test to get his 50th wicket, which only equates to about 20 balls. So, it still places The Vern 113 overs (in 1880’s terms) quicker than CTB Turner…

Second on the list is the only Englishman who might have ever rubbed shoulders with The Vern in terms of brilliant international career starts. T Richardson who made his debut in 1893 took his first 50 wickets in approximately 2090 balls. In the 1890’s, an over was only 5 balls. So Philander beats him by almost 167 overs, in 1890’s terms. And if you consider that Philander has bowled only 209 overs up to getting his 50th wicket, I’d say that is obviously a rather royal biffing of epic proportions!

Well done Vern! Your next target, “obviously” is to be the fastest to reach 100 wickets! It should not be that hard. With 50 in the bag after only 7 tests, you’ve got 9 tests left to beat GH Lohman of England who took 16 tests to reach his 100th wicket. But why wait so long? You’ve got 60 wickets waiting for you in the 3 test series against England…


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