Several cricketers have their birthdays coming up in July, including Harbhajan Singh (July 3), MS Dhoni (July 7), Sourav Ganguly (July 8) and Sunil Gavaskar (July 10). Many prominent fast bowlers were born in July, including James Anderson, Shaun Pollock, Richard Hadlee, Dennis Lillee, and Trent Boult.
Has any other month produced more top-class India cricketers than July? Has July produced the most significant bowlers? Here are the answers to these and several other queries related to birth dates in this week's Did You Know. (All stats are from men's Tests only.)
1104 The number of Test wickets taken by players born on July 3, the most by bowlers who share a birthday. Richard Hadlee with 431 wickets and Harbhajan Singh with 417 are the biggest contributors, followed by Ewen Chatfield (123). This is also the only day to have produced two bowlers with 400-plus wickets each. January 27 is the only other day when two bowlers who finished with 350-plus wickets were born - Daniel Vettori and Chaminda Vaas. June 24 is the only day when three bowlers with 200-plus wickets each were born - Stuart Broad, Graham McKenzie and Vernon Philander.
8 Number of players born in the month of July who have gone on to play over 100 Tests in their careers. Of these eight, three are Indians - Harbhajan, Sourav Ganguly, and Sunil Gavaskar. Only one month has produced more 100-Test veterans - April, with ten players. Ten India players are in the 100-Test club, of whom three were born in July. There are 17 June-born players to have played 75 or more Tests, the most from one month, followed by October (16) and July (14).
32,799 The aggregate runs scored by players born on June 2, the highest for a single birthday. The major contributions come from Australian twins Steve and Mark Waugh, and two active cricketers, Steven Smith and Angelo Mathews. The next date to produce the most prolific batsmen is October 27, where Kumar Sangakkara, Mark Taylor and David Warner are the major contributors. June-born players have also played the most aggregate Tests (491) and scored the most centuries (88).
3 The smallest number of Test players who share a birthday on each of the 365 days of a non-leap year. Two players have been born on February 29 - Alf Gover and Gavin Stevens. The largest number of Test players born on the same day of the year is 18, of which there are four instances - September 5, October 14, December 6 and December 12.
234,145 Test runs scored by players born in October, which is the highest for a single month. October-born players also lead in terms of wickets, with 7978. Five players born in October have scored 8000-plus runs, the most among all months: Sangakkara, Matthew Hayden, Geoff Boycott, Jacques Kallis, and Virender Sehwag. Only one player born in January (Rahul Dravid) and August (Shivnarine Chanderpaul) has entered that batting club. Six openers have scored 8000-plus Test runs, of which three were born in October (Hayden, Sehwag, and Boycott). Warner and Taylor (both have 7000-plus runs as openers) were also born in October. Over 30% of the runs by players born in October have come on three dates towards the end of the month - 21, 27, and 29 - which account for 30,875 runs out of the 234,145 runs.
*The date of birth of two Test cricketers is unknown: Frederick Cook and Claude Newberry
The prominent bowlers who were born in October are Anil Kumble, Courtney Walsh, Imran Khan, Allan Donald, Zaheer Khan, and Morne Morkel. These six October-born bowlers have all taken 300-plus wickets. July is the only other month that has produced six such bowlers. January has delivered the fewest players (219) and lowest aggregate runs (130,516) while August-born bowlers have taken the fewest wickets (4338) of all the months. Test cricket's most prolific run scorer and wicket-taker, respectively - Sachin Tendulkar and Muttiah Muralitharan - are both April-born.
6 Players born in October who have scored triple-centuries in a Test innings, the most for a month. Four of those six players are from Australia and the country's top three individual scores in Tests have come from October-born players: Hayden (380), Warner (335 not out) and Taylor (334 not out). Bob Cowper is the other Australia batsman born in October to have a triple-century. Only three Australia players born in other months have scored 300s - Don Bradman (August-born), Bob Simpson (February), and Michael Clarke (April). When Clarke scored his triple-ton at the SCG in 2012, it completed the set of triple-centurions born in each of the 12 months of a calendar year. Sehwag and Sangakkara are the other two triple-centurions born in October.
4 Bowlers born in July who have picked up 400-plus wickets, which is the most for a single month. Apart from Hadlee and Harbhajan, James Anderson and Shaun Pollock are also in the 400-wickets club. Bringing the barrier down to 350-plus wickets includes Makhaya Ntini and Dennis Lillee, which makes it six bowlers with 350-plus wickets in July, the most in a month. Ten of the 12 months have at least one bowler who has taken 300-plus wickets; the exceptions are August and December.
6 Number of players born in July who went on to captain their teams for 35 or more Tests - the largest number of such players born in a particular month. Allan Border, Dhoni, Ganguly, Gavaskar, Garry Sobers, and Faf du Plessis are those July-born leaders. Three of the top five captains to lead India in the most Tests were born in the same month, and in fact have their birthdays falling within a span of four days - Dhoni, Ganguly, and Gavaskar. March and December have delivered five captains each to lead in 35-plus Tests. From January, September, and November only one captain has captained in 35-plus Tests - MAK Pataudi, Hansie Cronje, and Virat Kohli respectively.
8 Number of times Shane Warne dismissed Craig McMillan, which is the greatest number of times a bowler has taken the wicket of a batsman born on the same day as him - in this case, September 13. Warne dismissed Robin Smith, who was also born on September 13, four times. Other such batsmen-bowler combinations are Kumble-Aravinda de Silva (seven dismissals), Kenny Benjamin-Alec Stewart (six), and Nathan Lyon-Jermaine Blackwood (five). There are 197 instances of a batsman dismissed by a bowler who shares the same birthday. Of those, there are six instances when batsman and bowler shared the same dates of birth (including year). The latest instance was Moeen Ali getting Kyle Abbott out twice in Durban in 2015: both were born on June 18, 1987.
2 Instances of a team's playing XI consisting of three players who share the same birthday. The first was at Old Trafford in 1948, when England's XI had Tom Dollery, Jack Young and Jack Crapp, who were all born on October 14. The second instance was when West Indies fielded Jermaine Blackwood, Kyle Hope, and Alzarri Joseph at Edgbaston in 2017: all were born on November 20. Overall, there are 25 instances of a Test featuring three players from both sides sharing a common birthday. The last three instances have been in Sri Lanka-New Zealand Tests, with the three players being Dilruwan Perera, Colin de Grandhomme and Trent Boult.