Stats man Mohandas Menon's discovery is worth looking into

Updated: Apr 18, 2020, 07:17 IST | Clayton Murzello | Mumbai

Mohandas Menon happened to watch a Pathe Films news clip of the 1936-37 Ashes Test in Brisbane, where Gubby Allen's Englishmen were in early trouble against Don Bradman's Australia on a sticky wicket.

Mohandas Menon
Mohandas Menon

YouTube is becoming more than just a great ally during the Coronavirus-caused lockdown. On Friday, ace cricket statistician Mohandas Menon stumbled upon something that could force a change in the record books if dug deeper.

Menon happened to watch a Pathe Films news clip of the 1936-37 Ashes Test in Brisbane, where Gubby Allen’s Englishmen were in early trouble against Don Bradman’s Australia on a sticky wicket.

Arthur Fagg, who came in at the fall of TS Worthington’s wicket, is seen being caught by a short midwicket fielder. However, in the scorecard of that Test, Fagg is mentioned as caught behind by Bert Oldfield off Ernest McCormick for four.

Worthington departed, caught by Oldfield off the first ball in the Test.

Arthur Fagg
Arthur Fagg

“While watching the 1936/37 #Ashes series - the 1st Test at Brisbane (4 Dec 1936), I find that England’s Arthur Fagg in the first innings was caught by a fielder at short mid-wicket and not by wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield. But all sources since then, ie in the last 83-and-a-half years have recorded it in the scorebooks as ‘caught Oldfield’. Time to change this error,” wrote Menon on his Facebook page. When this writer asked Menon what made him compare the footage to the scorecard, he replied: “Usually, when I watch old film clippings, I keep the scorecard ready so I can match the unknown players who are batting, bowling or fielding.”

There is a small possibility that the producers of the newsreel may have got the batsman wrong and the scorecard is right, but with Australians being no slouches when it comes to digging up archives (one Aussie recently found coloured footage of Bradman’s last competitive game at the Sydney Cricket Ground in February 1949 in his garage), this case is worth digging up. If the footage is right, will there be a change in Oldfield’s 130 Test dismissals?

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