Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Extra, extra read all about it

In a little note on its statistics page CricInfo is most unkindly drawing attention to the fact that Scotland are the proud holders of the record number of extras conceded in a World Cup match.  They conceded 59 extras against Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup. The 1999 World Cup saw an average of 47 extras per game, the highest among all World Cups.  The 1999 WC was held in England where seaming wickets seem to have taken the blame for the extras climbing.

Wide City
That Scotland vs Pakistan match was the first international held at Chester-le-Street.  Scotland had Pakistan in trouble at 92 for 5, of which 45 were extras, until a stand of 103 between Yousuf Youhana and Moin Khan steadied things.  Pakistan recovered to 261 off their 50 overs.  Of the 59 extras, 33 were wides.  There was also an inadvertant 7 ball over as the umpires got in on the act.  Most unfairly Wasim Akram smashed the extra ball for 6.

Gavin Hamilton
More unfairly, Wasim Akram then bowled and removed Scotland's opener in his first over.  Even more unfairly still, Shoaib Akhtar was at the other end and he also struck in his first over to leave Scotland 5 for 2 after 7 balls.  Scotland were at one point 19 for 5 until a stout innings of 76 by Gavin Hamilton restored some credibility.  Scotland were out for 167.  Interestingly there were 37 extras in the Pakistan bowling effort - at 22.15% of the total only marginally below the proportion of Scottish extras.

As a further unfairness Scotland were penalised one over for slow over rate.  Counting the 33 wides and 15 no-balls they actually bowled 58 overs.

For Fantasy Bob, extras are a thing of beauty and much to be treasured by the batting side.  In one match a couple of seasons ago, Fantasy Bob was batting 6 and was rudely awoken from his slumbers in the first over as a pacey bowler and a spiteful wicket put paid to the cream of the batting above him.  As he strode sleepily yet purposefully to the wicket to face the last ball of the over, the scoreboard read 2 for 4 - not an encouraging sight and those 2 were leg-byes.  FB ended up top score in that innings with 25 - but extras got one more.  Readers may not be surprised to learn that Carlton lost that match by some way.

To his shame FB has bowled the occasional wide but some bowlers in the the lower leagues are in a different class altogether.  In FB's days with the once proud Royal High, the bowling attack boasted a very useful left arm seamer in the Akram mould ie shambling run and huge shoulder action.  Just now and then the radar went and the slips (including in those days of lithe reflexes FB himself) were in distinct danger).  Wides were therefore a regular feature, so much so that the whole team mystified the batters by a huge celebration when he reached 50 for the season.  There were a still a few games to go and the ton seemed on, but he fell just short.  Lower league cricket is stricter on wides these days than it was, so he might achieve it now.

But even the greats get it wrong.  Everyone has Harmison's 2006 Ashes opening delivery firmly imprinted in their minds.  If runs were awarded for how wide it was it could have been a 6.  But the longest over in Test cricket was bowled by the great Curtly Ambrose in the final test between Australia and West Indies in Perth in the 1996-97 series - with 9 wides it was a 15 ball over.   It took over 12 minutes.  Now there's a record.


  1. In Sept 2007 Cyprus U15 conceded 103 wides out of 119 extras in all. Germany beat them by 19 runs as they conceded only 80 wides!

  2. Many thanks - FB wonders where the scorer marked them all.