The tragic death of Trevor Bailey on February 10th led, quite fittingly, to a number of fulsome tributes being paid to the former England and Essex all-rounder who won 61 Test caps. Many people drew attention to his outstanding achievements in first-class cricket, his excellent career aggregate of 28,641 runs and in particular, his record of being not out on no less than 215 occasions in 1072 innings in first-class cricket.
As far as first-class cricket is concerned, only fourteen players had been unbeaten on more occasions than Trevor, with the list headed by David Hunter who was unbeaten on 351 occasions out of 728 innings for Yorkshire between 1888 and 1909 – a percentage of 48%. Of players with 100 or more first-class appearances to their name, Bob Carter of Worcestershire and the MCC has the highest percentage of not outs with 58% – 95 out of 165 innings.
Remarkably, there have also been some players who appeared in more than just the occasional first-class game and were never dismissed. This list of players to proudly boast a 100% record is headed by James Burrows, a seam bowler who played for Canterbury between 1926-27 and 1932-33 and batted on a dozen occasions but each time was never dismissed.
Others to have remained unbeaten throughout their first-class careers include Arshad Khan of Pakistan Universities and Lahore City who was unbeaten in all seven of his appearances between 1977-78 and 1978-79; Tribhowan Pandey of Indian Services who recorded seven not outs in 1996-97 and 1997-98, as well as Russell Thomson who was unbeaten in all six of his innings in 1996 for Oxford University. Burrows’ record was equalled in 2009-10 by Sudeera Karunadasa of the Sri Lankan Navy side but, when poised to set a new world record by remaining unbeaten in his 13th first-class innings, Karunadasa was bowled second ball by Thushantha Perera for nought.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are also some players who have never been not out in their entire playing career with Nischal Gaur, of Indian side Himachal Pradesh, holding the record for having played the most number of first-class innings – 100 – without ever being not out. Neil Edwards, formerly of Somerset and now with Nottinghamshire, has a chance in 2011 – or 2012 – to break this record as the opening batsman has played 93 first-class innings without ever being unbeaten.