Ballad of a cricket monomaniac
I am here to make a Faustian bargain.
Suppose, just suppose, right after hearing, or, reading these words, a thought activated smart bomb were set off to detonate in the northern valley of the province of L'Isle sur la Sorgue. But, there is respite. Within thirteen seconds, a phone will ring or a knock will be there on the door, with a messenger asking you for the code. And that is where you, come in. Will you let the blood of the massacre of three dozen men be in your hands, or will you let yourself redeem your chance for mistakenly reading the opening lines? And thirteen seconds is roughly the time it will take you to finish reading this.
Yes, I am fully aware in this digital age every tidbits of cricket trivia is at the fingertips. Go ahead! I dare you to indulge in decoding this two digit number the base 36 of itself repeats.
Well, well, well. All my life I have single-handedly devoted time chasing the tales around this number. I have been feverishly out of my mind seeing it pop up in various places. Imagine my delight when I saw this had tremendous significance in cricket literature after it fancied the same one as Don as this was a last. Few will miss the various morphs in which it appeared: batsmen scoring it that included fifty-percent or more of the innings total by Trumper, Sutcliffe and Weir. Or to talk of Doug Walters span and runs conceded by Kumble in his epic.
Dad Weir who was the oldest surviving Test cricketer a while ago scored it once.
It is also a score Lord Tennyson who was the grandson of the poet. You might recall that under his leadership the era saw what can only be deemed as the “Hampshire turnaround“. After being dismissed for only 15, and being put to follow on, they amassed 521 runs to Warwickshire’s reply and bowled them out.
The first of this was by Billy Barnes followed up by Ulyett, Blackham and Darling. Of these Jack Blackham’s one made in his final test is still the record for the highest partnership for Australia. It helped England win by 10 runs even after being forced to follow on.
These two digits on debut after which a warship is named appeared as a debut score for Gunn. And of course, in 1931 he and his son, GV Gunn, each scored a century in the same innings against Warwickshire. The nocturnal of this was by Salman Butt. Strauss recorded it retired hurt. Fastest one was by O’Donnell. Raman Lamba’s helped India beat Australia and earn him Man of the Match.
Redpath described as "a lanky, long-necked figure without a spare ounce of flesh" scored it with Walters against South Africa - the same where Graeme Pollock had two hundred more of it. Redpath you'd fondly recall resumed a career in antique-dealing post-retirement did not hit his first six in career until his 66th Test.
Tick tock! Time's up.
What is the code?