Friday, 5 July 2013


This is Fantasy Bob’s 890th post on this blog. Pretty near the number of empire biscuits he eats in a month. But is the number of any interest to the cricketer?

It's your Wally Grout -
Aussie rhyming slang for
It's your shout
ie it's your round
Wally Grout, the legendary Australian wicketkeeper scored exactly 890 runs in his 51 Test career. He also took 163 catches and 24 stumpings. His career ran from 1957 to 1966 and Australia never lost a series in which Grout played.

In his first test, against S Africa at the Wanderers he set a then world record by taking 6 catches in a Test match innings. That record stood until it was overtaken when Wasim Bari took 7 in 1979 and 3 other keepers have taken 7 since then. Grout also set a First Class record 8 catches for Queensland against Western Australia in 1959. This has been equalled on a number of occasions, but is still the record for catches in a First Class match.  The record for dismissals in an innings including stumpings is now 9 which has been achieved twice.

Grout may well have been the first modern wicket keeper, not only in terms of his athleticism behind the stumps but also his vocalising. He constantly reminded the batter he was there in a way that is now expected of keepers at all levels, even juniors no higher than the stumps keep up the continual chatter. But in Grout’s heyday it was something of a novelty – so much so that it is said that in the fourth Test of the 1965-66 Ashes series Colin Cowdrey ran himself out responding to Grout’s call thinking it was that of his batting partner Ken Barrington. Another side of Grout was seen when during the 1964 Ashes series he declined to run out Fred Titmus after he had collided with an Australian fielder.

Grout had been advised of a congenitally weak heart, indeed he had a mild heart attack but continued playing. He died less than 3 years after his final Test at the age of 41.  A great Australian.

890 as a number has other properties.  For one thing it is the product of 3 prime numbers (2x5x89) and is also the sum of 4 consecutive prime numbers - 211 + 223 + 227 + 229.  All prime numbers are of interest to FB, and cricketers should not disregard them.  These particular primes are important:

211 was the highest Test score achieved by Jack Hobbs, against Australia at Lords in 1924, at the age of 41.

223 was scored by Don Bradman against W Indies at Brisbane in January 1931. It was his 18th Test innings.   It was his 7th Test hundred and his 4th double hundred.  In all he scored 29 Test centuries, 10 of which were double tons adn 2 of which were triples.

227 was scored by Walter Hammond against New Zealand in March 1933 at Christchurch. In his next innings, at Auckland Hammond, scored 336*, at the time the highest test score ever achieved.

229 – no batsman has been out for 229 in a Test match as far as FB’s tireless team of researchers can discover. But Darren Gough took precisely that number of wickets in his 58 Test career.

So all in all 890 is a number with serious cricket interest. It deserves respect. And FB is pleased to add to it with this post.

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