December 18, 2012

Test XV - the final readers' selection

Selection of an all-time Test XV based on readers' votes
606

Shane Warne received the second-highest percentage of votes after Don Bradman © Getty Images

Finally we come to the moment billions (not that often misused word), a few hundred, have waited for. All the entries for the all-time best XV have been received, processed, cleaned up, shenanigans identified & put in place and the final Readers' XV determined.

The geographic distribution of responses has been given at the end.

Methodology

1. All the valid entries were placed in a text file. I wrote a custom program to tally the reader selections to create a Player-Reader matrix. Each set of fifteen players was assigned a weighted index using a complex algorithm to pin down identical selections. Then I created multiple Excel files. One for the number of reader votes received. Another for the number of selections by each reader that made into the final XV. Which brings us here.

2. I imposed certain restrictions on the selection of each XV. I did not want the reader to specifically exclude any period whatsoever. This was essential to have a fair field of selection across the years. Another restriction was that a reader had to specifically confirm if Bradman was excluded. Only one reader, out of such three, reverted with a series of convincing explanations. The other two simply did not bother, hence their entries were not included.

3. A few readers had raised the possibility of other readers misusing the system to put in multiple entries. I had always been aware of such attempts and set up diverse steps to locate and exclude such attempts. These steps have been documented in the form of a MS Word document. But why start with the unsavoury??? A link to that document provided at the end of this article.

4. The final selection is strictly bases on 'one reader, one vote' system. Be it Martin Crowe, Rajesh, Madhu or me, we all get one vote each. However I would have given slightly more weight to these selections to resolve a tie but it was not required.

Summary of numbers

No of valid entries received: 205
No of players selected:       119
No player was selected by all readers
Highest selection :           204 (Bradman-99.5%)
No of players with single selection each: 31
The votes gathered by the top 15 players: 2210-72.5%

Top 30 selections

NoPlayerVotes% of Total ...No PlayerVotes% of Total
1Bradman 20499.5...16Hadlee 8642.0
2Warne 18791.2...17Lillee 6431.2
3Sobers 17786.3...18Kallis 6230.2
4Marshall 17082.9...19Hutton 4120.0
5Gilchrist 16982.4...20SF Barnes 4019.5
6Murali 15676.1...21Waqar 2512.2
7Lara 15475.1...22Dravid 2411.7
8Hobbs 14470.2...23RG Pollock 2411.7
9Tendulkar 13967.8...24Holding 2311.2
10Akram 13766.8...25BA Richards 18 8.8
11Viv Richards13465.4...26Flower 18 8.8
12Gavaskar 13364.9...27Sangakkara 18 8.8
13McGrath 11556.1...28Sutcliffe 18 8.8
14Ambrose 9847.8...29Sehwag 18 8.8
15Imran 9345.4...30Hayden 17 8.3

7 players were selected by over 75% readers, 13 by over 50%, 18 by 25% or more and 24 by just over 10%. The 30th best selection, Hayden, received 17 votes (less than 9%). 40 players have 10 or more votes. There are big drops after Gavaskar (#12 with 133 votes), McGrath (#13 with 115 votes), Hadlee (#16 with 86 votes), Kallis (#18 with 62 votes) and SF Barnes (#20 with 40 votes).

The Readers' XV

The following final XV has been selected strictly based on votes received. There is no doubt that this is an excellent group of players. While there could be individual differences of opinions from readers, there is no doubt that this is an all-time best XV representing countries and eras in a very fair manner.

PlayerCountryRuns/WktsAverage
HobbsEng541056.95
GavaskarInd1012251.12
BradmanAus699699.94
SobersWin803257.78
LaraWin1195352.89
Viv RichardsWin854050.24
TendulkarInd1564354.51
GilchristAus557047.61
.
ImranPak36222.81
AkramPak41423.62
MarshallWin37620.95
WarneAus70825.42
MuraliSlk80022.73
McGrathAus56321.97
AmbroseWin40520.99

There are 5 West Indians, 4 Australians, 2 Indians, 2 Pakistanis, 1 Englishman and 1 Sri Lankan in this elite list of fifteen players.

Bradman is in with a record 99.5% votes. It may resemble the ballot to elect the President of a banana republic. Well, Paul Sime need not fear any reprisals from the President's secret service. He had clearly explained his selections. My estimate is that if we had received 1000 votes, Bradman would have got 99.94% selection (Thanks, david !!!). The lily needs no gilding. And before someone comments that it is absurd to destroy the lily because melting is an essential step for gilding, let me include the original quote by Shakespeare - ''To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw a perfume on the violet,... Is wasteful and ridiculous excess." (Milind, thanks!!!). So let us move on.

I must admit that I was startled by the second highest selection. While I expected Sobers at this position, to my pleasant surprise, it is Shane Warne who garnered 92.7% of the votes. This indicates the very very high opinion of informed readers in considering Warne as the best spinner of all time and a genuine match-winner.

He is, as expected, followed by Sobers who secured 86.2% votes. I am bewildered by the rather high 14% exclusion. I feel Kallis edged out Sobers in some selections while a few top batsmen may have elbowed out Sobers for the batting spot.

Gilchrist is next with 82.8% votes. Once again I am amazed that over 17% did not choose Gilchrist. I think Andy Flower, no less a keeper-batsman, took away quite a few votes. Possibly the solidity of Flower was preferred by some (nearly 9%). It is also possible that keepers with better keeping ability (on what basis, I cannot understand) like Knott may also have got the nod.

In fifth position is the undoubted master of aggressive pace bowling, Marshall with 82.3%. Quite on the expected lines. A true match winner and the best fast bowler amongst all the greats.

My two favourites, Muralitharan and Lara, appear next. Muralitharan just edging out Lara by two votes. Two wonderful champions, crowd-pleasers, fighters, elegant performers: all rolled into single packages. No real surprise that over 3 out of 4 readers selected these two players' players.

The next three positions are held by Hobbs, Tendulkar and Wasim Akram, with just under 70% of votes. It is a measure of the readers' understanding of the game that similar numbers have selected two maestros who played nearly 100 years apart. Hobbs and Tendulkar were masters of flawless technique and extremely consistent. That Hobbs received more votes than Tendulkar is a testament to the very fair manner in which the readers had approached this task.

Viv Richards, Gavaskar, McGrath and Ambrose occupy the next four positions. I expected a slightly higher position for Richards and Ambrose. But they are comfortably in. These 14 players were in my selection of 15 players

The last position was a closely fought one. Imran Khan finished comfortably ahead of Hadlee by 7 votes and secured the 15th spot. Maybe a different demographic distribution of readers might have got Hadlee in, as also couple of other batsmen like Kallis or Chappell.

I am extremely happy with the 15 selected and take pride in the fact that Imran was in my XV until the very late stages and Hadlee just about edged him out. At the same time I am happy at Imran's selection since most of the concerns were raised at his exclusion.

In summary, I am surprised that Warne and Kallis got higher votes than expected, and Sutcliffe received fewer. I am saddened that Greg Chappell and Ponting did not get more votes.

The 13 readers who selected 14 of the final XV

No selection matched the final 15. Apart from me, 12 others included 14 out of these 15. It can be argued that my selection closely resembles the final list solely because most readers relied on my list and altered a few spots but a glance down the most commented article reveals the thought behind these selections, The table below lists all these and the selection changes from the final list. KC (from US) matched my selection. Jay and Kaushik had identical selections as also Arnab and Rohith. That is all. These 6 are the only identical choices amongst the 200+ selections. Madhu, Cricinfo Stats wizard, got 14 correct while Rajesh, Cricinfo Editor, got 13 correct. Martin Crowe, who selected the wonderful quartet of Lillee, Hutton, O'Reilly and SF Barnes, matched the other eleven. These four find a place in the second XV.

Readers/WriterSelectedNot selected
 
Madhu RamakrishnanLilleeAkram
SumitLilleeImran
PersaudLilleeMcGrath
AnanthHadleeImran
KCHadleeImran
ArnabHadleeAmbrose
RohithHadleeAmbrose
JayKallisImran
KaushikKallisImran
MeerWaqarSobers
AamirWaqarHobbs
Lucky StrikeHuttonAkram
RaghuveerDravidTendulkar
PradeepBarry RichardsViv Richards

The 4 readers who selected 1 and 2 players of the final XV

Now the other end. One reader, Mike (from Australia), succeeded in selecting only Bradman out of the final XV. However since his selection encompassed all the eras and countries it is fine. Pete, Dennis and Sam39083 selected two players each. All three selected Bradman and Sobers and 13 other players.

The Second XV

The second XV has been selected mostly based on numbers but also with a bit of tweaking to get the team balance correct. It would be silly to just go by the numbers. It may be a good idea if the readers do not come out with comments like "A has got 1 vote more than B, why was B selected?". It would be totally counter-productive.

Hutton
Barry Richards
Sutcliffe
Kallis
Greg Chappell
Graeme Pollock
Dravid
Andy Flower (wk)
Hadlee
Lillee
SF Barnes
Holding
Waqar Younis
O'Reilly
Bedi

The overwhelming number of votes given for Warne and Muralitharan meant that the other spinners got very few votes. Still the numbers at least were reasonable. It is possible that one could have gone for Kumble over Bedi or Ponting over Dravid/Chappell. But those selected were thoroughly deserving of their inclusions. I am certain that this team would give the Top XV a run for its money. They would certainly win a Test or two in a 5-Test series.

Readers should remember the magnitude of the task I have completed. Cutting and pasting teams sent by readers in different formats, correcting spellings (how many 'Marshal's), affixing Viv or BA as warranted, affixing RG or SM as warranted, following up and effecting changes, tracking all below-15 and above-15 selections and validating these, checking for duplicate entries, taking care of multiple changes to teams and finally the special work to weed out suspicious entries and so on. All these with a 83.5% physical condition.

So please accept that there could be a few errors. However I am certain that these errors would not cause any change to the final selection. Frankly the only votes that matter are those to Imran and Hadlee. Imran is 7 ahead and is very unlikely to be caught up, on account of my errors. And many of the entries rejected had Imran. Even if you point out some errors please do not expect me to rush in and correct those.

To view/download the complete Player-Reader-Matrix Excel file, please CLICK HERE.

To view/download Word Document about my steps to locate and remove multiple selections, please CLICK HERE.

The geographic distribution of responses

Afghanistan     1
Antigua         1
Australia      32
Bahrain         3
Bangladesh      1
Barbados        2
Canada          1
Germany         1
Iceland         1
India          75
Ireland         1
Israel          2
Italy           1
Japan           3
Netherlands     1
New Zealand     4
Pakistan       19
Saudi Arabia    1
South Africa    3
Sri Lanka       3
UnitedArabEmir  2
United Kingdom 23
USA            24
205

What next?

Let us all settle back and relax, me the most. My next article will be an alternate review of 2012 by first week of January 2013. I have to do a lot of work to get the simulation programs up. Whether I want to carry out a simulation or not is also unclear. Let us give this a break. All you guys have a great Christmas, New Year, Pongal, Sankranti and Id-e-Milad. Your comments are, of course, welcome and will be published with the normal response criteria.

Have a great holiday season

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ananth on January 17, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    Gentlemen The fat lady has sung and the time has come for all of us to wind up the show and go home. All the crowd have gone and here we are, a few people, arguing endlessly on something not connected with the play and not worth a tinker's damn. I have to pack up and leave. The next show has started and let us move on there. No more comments on this article will be accepted. There will be no last words other than these words of mine. Thank you for co-operating. Ananth

  • Ranga on January 17, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    @Boll - Such exercises as suggested by delmeister can never be conclusive.

    @Ananth - An alternative could be All Time World XI versus All Time Country XI minus its players in World XI. It would be an interesting 5-match test series played in 5 key Test playing zones with 2 warm up matches in each location with their all time strongest FC Team. For example, World XI would play with India XI in Kolkata with a warm up match against Mumbai in Brabourne(?). We can simulate the entire series on this space with a tour schedule consisting of 10 FC matches and 5 Tests. In that way, we could simulate a decent tour across continents.

    We can have blogs at the end of each Match and then a summary of performances. I know its a far fletched thing giving Ananth too much to play with his tennis elbow, but then, it would give a definite twist to the test arena. We could may be extend this to a 5 Test/ 3 ODI series with all time ODI XI of World & Countries!!!

  • Boll on January 17, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    @delmeister, great reading and some good points. I fully agree that these exercises should be enjoyable, but we should also attempt to reach some subjective conclusions and attempt to stand up for our beliefs...probably not ad nauseum as you suggest though.

    I`m even sick of hearing myself (in those ever-decreasing circles) ...cheers and welcome back.

  • Boll on January 17, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    @Bheem, not quite sure how Rodney Hogg snuck in there with the likes of Alderman and Philander (very cheeky!) - at least 10mph between them, and completely different bowlers.

    I would suggest that Alderman circa `89 was pretty similar in pace to Maurice Tate 1924/5 when he had that great series against Aus, with similar figures.

    Plenty of people other than Bradman who rate/d O`Reilly extremely highly - quite apart from that, his stats speak for themselves.

    No problem at all in ranking Tendulkar right at the top - in my World Test XV without much question and one of the first 2 batsmen picked in my ODI World XV.

    re.bowling charts over the last 35-40 years - with the top 3 wicket takers being spinners, I think you may have missed the boat on that one.

    @shrikanthk, yes Shackleton and Cartwright had v.good 1st class figures, but they didn`t take more than 40 wickets in an Ashes series...twice, or play at that level in the last 25 years - thus the Alderman comparison.

  • Murray Archer on January 17, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    "I asked Murray whether his friend Arthur Morris thinks Bedser would've been successful in the modern game. Nothing against Bedser, but the circumstances these days don't aid medium pace"

    All of them have always thought so ( I throw in Harvey, Benaud, Hassett, DGB, Weekes, May, Nourse .... all of them.) Len didn't like him because he bowled his overs too quickly lol :).

    If Jackson Bird also had a sharp inswinger and a fizzing leg cutter how would he go ? How did McGrath go (and he hardly moved the ball)....

    This 130-135 range is where Alec would have mostly bowled.

    I have no hesitation in thinking Alec a true great !

  • Murray Archer on January 17, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    Re fast bowling speeds.

    I got hold of some film taken in Sydney December 1954. It'll take me a while to figure out how to even play it, let alone convert into digital video. But I'll try.

    Think it will convince anyone that Tyson was very fast that 4th innings. The "story" side is some I've never heard exaggerate, talking about bruised shins through pads.

    Without being a definitive measure of speed; There have been 4 bowlers recorded as having cleared the boundary with a bouncer. I hope everyone will agree that that's certainly up there in pace ?

    Kortwright did in 19th century at a ground in Thames valley I can find no details on. (it might be small). Tyson did at the Oval in 1954. Roy Gilchrist did at Essex in 1957. Jeff Thomson did at WACA in 1975.

    I havn't seen anyone anywhere near quick enough to do that start a Test career since Mohammad Zahid. (oops I picked someone there were no speed guns on :) )

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    ...of going round in ever decreasing circles as now,why not give this fun exercise a shot? It is very interesting and stimulating I can assure you... :)

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    ...ahead of many greater players to go in 6 and captain,as an added insurance against defeat (sort of).In 2001,one writer made very interesting point about him.He reckoned if you took Waugh out of the contemporary World XI,and made him captain of the second XI,the latter would prob.win.I didn't find that an outlandish claim.I could see what he meant.Lot of selections are 'counter moves' to selections of other teams.Gilchrist selected straight away to try and lessen Sobers' advantage in team A,and will certainly bat no.6.Tendulkar immediately selected,before Viv and Lara,to give a known successful counter to Warne.Botham selected well before Imran due to greater ALLROUND (as opposed to pure bowling)match turning qualities,since fairest way to select players is in their prime AND SLIGHTLY EITHER SIDE OF IT imo.Akram ahead of slightly greater bowlers for similar reasons,plus variety of left arm and reverse swing.Headley specialist run hungry no3 counter to Bradman. Go on lads-instead ...

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    ...capabilities to play each other? How?Well,I got the idea from IPL auction (it had to come in useful for something! lol),plus the dreaded 'playground picking 2 teams of the kids assembled'from school days.Imagine 2 identical clones of yrself having alternate picks from every player in history,you select the 2 teams.In order of players I selected ie 1st pick to 11th pick,here are the 2 teams:-

    team A-Sobers,Barnes,Lillee,Warne,Hobbs,Lara,Headley,Hutton,Imran,S.Waug(capt),Knott(wkt)

    team B- Bradman (capt)Gilchrist(wkt),Marshall,Tendulkar,V.Richards,Murali,Botham,Grace,Ambrose,B.Richards,Akram

    The selection processes are VERY different at times from the norm.eg Knott selected last as Gilchrist was early,hence strengthen rest of team first.Sobers I would pick ahead of Bradman because I think that against very fast great bowling in helpful conditions,Bradman nowhere near as far ahaead of a few greats,inc Sobers,as in other circumstances,plus Sobers' other 'extras'.Waugh in ...

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    ..of mine s you'll see on my Favouite XI selection) quicker than Tate.Yr living in cloud cuckoo land if you think that.Tho often compared to Barnes and Bedser,Tate was undobtedly quicker,with noted nip off the pitch and disconcerting carry that they didn't get.Alderman,esp after shoulder injury (both Ananth and I can hugely sympathise!) was about Bedser's pace,so bit quicker than Barnes,who was CERTAINLY quicker than slow-medium spinning legend O'Reilly-why on earth Bradman tried to compare those 2 totally different bowlers,concluding O'Reilly was better as "also had a googly"is totally beyond me,a very basic error indeed.Unless of course,using Wasp's excellent theory,he was trying to 'big up'his own record making his teammate 'the greatest',which he did do,subtly,more than many realise.Anyway,I am getting a bit bored with this over-scepticism of older players.Why not try an exercise I tried many months ago?Instead of first and second XIs,why not try selecting 2 teams of pretty equal..

  • Ananth on January 17, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    Gentlemen The fat lady has sung and the time has come for all of us to wind up the show and go home. All the crowd have gone and here we are, a few people, arguing endlessly on something not connected with the play and not worth a tinker's damn. I have to pack up and leave. The next show has started and let us move on there. No more comments on this article will be accepted. There will be no last words other than these words of mine. Thank you for co-operating. Ananth

  • Ranga on January 17, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    @Boll - Such exercises as suggested by delmeister can never be conclusive.

    @Ananth - An alternative could be All Time World XI versus All Time Country XI minus its players in World XI. It would be an interesting 5-match test series played in 5 key Test playing zones with 2 warm up matches in each location with their all time strongest FC Team. For example, World XI would play with India XI in Kolkata with a warm up match against Mumbai in Brabourne(?). We can simulate the entire series on this space with a tour schedule consisting of 10 FC matches and 5 Tests. In that way, we could simulate a decent tour across continents.

    We can have blogs at the end of each Match and then a summary of performances. I know its a far fletched thing giving Ananth too much to play with his tennis elbow, but then, it would give a definite twist to the test arena. We could may be extend this to a 5 Test/ 3 ODI series with all time ODI XI of World & Countries!!!

  • Boll on January 17, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    @delmeister, great reading and some good points. I fully agree that these exercises should be enjoyable, but we should also attempt to reach some subjective conclusions and attempt to stand up for our beliefs...probably not ad nauseum as you suggest though.

    I`m even sick of hearing myself (in those ever-decreasing circles) ...cheers and welcome back.

  • Boll on January 17, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    @Bheem, not quite sure how Rodney Hogg snuck in there with the likes of Alderman and Philander (very cheeky!) - at least 10mph between them, and completely different bowlers.

    I would suggest that Alderman circa `89 was pretty similar in pace to Maurice Tate 1924/5 when he had that great series against Aus, with similar figures.

    Plenty of people other than Bradman who rate/d O`Reilly extremely highly - quite apart from that, his stats speak for themselves.

    No problem at all in ranking Tendulkar right at the top - in my World Test XV without much question and one of the first 2 batsmen picked in my ODI World XV.

    re.bowling charts over the last 35-40 years - with the top 3 wicket takers being spinners, I think you may have missed the boat on that one.

    @shrikanthk, yes Shackleton and Cartwright had v.good 1st class figures, but they didn`t take more than 40 wickets in an Ashes series...twice, or play at that level in the last 25 years - thus the Alderman comparison.

  • Murray Archer on January 17, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    "I asked Murray whether his friend Arthur Morris thinks Bedser would've been successful in the modern game. Nothing against Bedser, but the circumstances these days don't aid medium pace"

    All of them have always thought so ( I throw in Harvey, Benaud, Hassett, DGB, Weekes, May, Nourse .... all of them.) Len didn't like him because he bowled his overs too quickly lol :).

    If Jackson Bird also had a sharp inswinger and a fizzing leg cutter how would he go ? How did McGrath go (and he hardly moved the ball)....

    This 130-135 range is where Alec would have mostly bowled.

    I have no hesitation in thinking Alec a true great !

  • Murray Archer on January 17, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    Re fast bowling speeds.

    I got hold of some film taken in Sydney December 1954. It'll take me a while to figure out how to even play it, let alone convert into digital video. But I'll try.

    Think it will convince anyone that Tyson was very fast that 4th innings. The "story" side is some I've never heard exaggerate, talking about bruised shins through pads.

    Without being a definitive measure of speed; There have been 4 bowlers recorded as having cleared the boundary with a bouncer. I hope everyone will agree that that's certainly up there in pace ?

    Kortwright did in 19th century at a ground in Thames valley I can find no details on. (it might be small). Tyson did at the Oval in 1954. Roy Gilchrist did at Essex in 1957. Jeff Thomson did at WACA in 1975.

    I havn't seen anyone anywhere near quick enough to do that start a Test career since Mohammad Zahid. (oops I picked someone there were no speed guns on :) )

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    ...of going round in ever decreasing circles as now,why not give this fun exercise a shot? It is very interesting and stimulating I can assure you... :)

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    ...ahead of many greater players to go in 6 and captain,as an added insurance against defeat (sort of).In 2001,one writer made very interesting point about him.He reckoned if you took Waugh out of the contemporary World XI,and made him captain of the second XI,the latter would prob.win.I didn't find that an outlandish claim.I could see what he meant.Lot of selections are 'counter moves' to selections of other teams.Gilchrist selected straight away to try and lessen Sobers' advantage in team A,and will certainly bat no.6.Tendulkar immediately selected,before Viv and Lara,to give a known successful counter to Warne.Botham selected well before Imran due to greater ALLROUND (as opposed to pure bowling)match turning qualities,since fairest way to select players is in their prime AND SLIGHTLY EITHER SIDE OF IT imo.Akram ahead of slightly greater bowlers for similar reasons,plus variety of left arm and reverse swing.Headley specialist run hungry no3 counter to Bradman. Go on lads-instead ...

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    ...capabilities to play each other? How?Well,I got the idea from IPL auction (it had to come in useful for something! lol),plus the dreaded 'playground picking 2 teams of the kids assembled'from school days.Imagine 2 identical clones of yrself having alternate picks from every player in history,you select the 2 teams.In order of players I selected ie 1st pick to 11th pick,here are the 2 teams:-

    team A-Sobers,Barnes,Lillee,Warne,Hobbs,Lara,Headley,Hutton,Imran,S.Waug(capt),Knott(wkt)

    team B- Bradman (capt)Gilchrist(wkt),Marshall,Tendulkar,V.Richards,Murali,Botham,Grace,Ambrose,B.Richards,Akram

    The selection processes are VERY different at times from the norm.eg Knott selected last as Gilchrist was early,hence strengthen rest of team first.Sobers I would pick ahead of Bradman because I think that against very fast great bowling in helpful conditions,Bradman nowhere near as far ahaead of a few greats,inc Sobers,as in other circumstances,plus Sobers' other 'extras'.Waugh in ...

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    ..of mine s you'll see on my Favouite XI selection) quicker than Tate.Yr living in cloud cuckoo land if you think that.Tho often compared to Barnes and Bedser,Tate was undobtedly quicker,with noted nip off the pitch and disconcerting carry that they didn't get.Alderman,esp after shoulder injury (both Ananth and I can hugely sympathise!) was about Bedser's pace,so bit quicker than Barnes,who was CERTAINLY quicker than slow-medium spinning legend O'Reilly-why on earth Bradman tried to compare those 2 totally different bowlers,concluding O'Reilly was better as "also had a googly"is totally beyond me,a very basic error indeed.Unless of course,using Wasp's excellent theory,he was trying to 'big up'his own record making his teammate 'the greatest',which he did do,subtly,more than many realise.Anyway,I am getting a bit bored with this over-scepticism of older players.Why not try an exercise I tried many months ago?Instead of first and second XIs,why not try selecting 2 teams of pretty equal..

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    ...than the disgraceful offering Eng at Jamaica 1998.One batsman was killed,for example,being hit on the head after the ball pitched on one of the many stones on the pitches in Grace's day.Like Shri,I believe that he,not Bradman or Sobers,should be ranked the greatest CRICKETING FIGURE of all time,albeit the other 2 were out on their own as greatest batsman and allrounder and are the 2 players who surely get into any XI they are eligible for based on cricketing prowess (as opposed to 'Team beginning with letter F etc).With these teams,one reason so dominated,even experts' selections,by modern players,is due to assuming will be played in modern conditions.The one alteration I'd consider making is to leave pitch uncovered after play starts,but any time lost to rain is made up on extra day at end of test IF NEEDED DUE TO WEATHER.I wonder how easily the Huttons,Headleys,Hammonds and Verity's would be ignored then?That could be something to chew over.Btw,NO WAY was Alderman(big favourite)

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    ...1980's Windies,1990's Aussies,Chappell's1972 outfit,!950's England, minus of course their members who are in our sides.This would have to be done,imho,for about THREE YEARS,so that all players can come to terms with all types of player and their styles.eg would be ludicrous to think Grace could just cope straight away with Ambrose's lift on bouncy track WITH NO PREVIOUS EXPOSURE TO IT(is this partly the sort of point yr making btw?),but after 3 yrs of that,and say,Kumble on a raging turner,and Wasim and Waqar reversing,and Holding/Roberts/Garner/Croft at Bridgetown (all bowlers who did not make my squad),then we would have fairer conditions.Similarly,how many players today,with only pads,could bat so well v lively roundarm bowling of(POSSIBLY?)Anderson's pace (in the cases of Freeman and Emmett anyway-when they hit you,country doctor Grace said,was like snipping of piece of skin with scissors-I suppose basic pain thresholds have increased too??) on pitches WAY worse than TBC...

  • delmeister on January 17, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Oh my God! What on earth has been happening here since my last log in?? lol A veritable hornets' nest for sure... @Bheem-honestly,I really think you in particular,and in retaliation even a couple of regulars,have totally forgotten the WHOLE POINT of these alltime XI exercises.They are,first and foremost,supposed to be a FUN piece of SPECULATION AND CONJECTURE about how players from different eras would fare against each other.Let me say one thing,first and foremost,about yr huge convictions about older players.Yes,physical strength etc inevitably has gone up over the yrs-in ALL physical activities.Gone up ON AVERAGE.Does not mean truly outstanding performers at the top of their eras could not excel in other eras.To SLIGHTLY condone yr views however,always remembering these matches could never occur due to lack of a time machine,the fairest way for these things to be done would be for our chosen team to play several warm up matches against other great teams eg 1948 Aussies TBC...

  • Ranga on January 17, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Ananth - At times too much of democracy can rattle. I agree that Bheem has a point and he has made it very strongly. Accepted that people shouldn't be fooled by hypes etc. I accept that Bradman was an average player who benefitted out of mediocre attacks of 1930's. He is so average and mediocre that he managed to average 99.94 in tests, 95+ in FC cricket and did't have a year in FC cricket since his debut and last years where he averaged less than 100. Batting was so easy that an average cricketer like him has been diefied as the standard of batsmanship. Now if batting was that easy, why didnt anyone else have figures as good as his? His peer comparison is also available in this blog. I agree Bradman was Badman but the rest were worse. Can we please move on? I know that readers make this blog but it also becomes boring to the readers if the same point is kept persisted for the sake of it. With no disrespect to anyone, all points are valid and accepted.

  • Bheem on January 17, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    @Ramesh Thanks for the kind words. I absolutely get the perspective and most importantly the spirit behind acknowledging past greats and I have explained this earlier. But it cant be at the expense of modern day players or by ridiculing them or by embellishing half-truths. That's my stand in a nutshell. [[ No modern player has been ridiculed. Where did you get that. Ananth: ]] @Boll didnt respond to u as I thought my response wouldn't go down well. Anyway Alderman,Hogg,Philander are nowhere as slow as Tate(if thats what you are suggesting). If so then there can be really no honest or constructive discussion that can be had. Cheers. And if u place so much importance on Bradmans words then I suppose you should have no qualms in ranking Tendulkar right up at the top ehh? ;) [[ Bheem This disinformation has been going on for several years and it suits the hoi polloi to a T. I though you were beyond this. Bradman said that Tendulkar reminded him of himself and was closest to him in terms of batting style...Or something to that effect. Very nice words indeed. Nowhere did he say that Tendulkar was the best or anything like that. Best amongst modern times itself is indeed difficult to prove one way or other. There is no clear-cut lead. There are at least 2/3 other contenders. Ananth: ]] reg pace or spin : have a look at the bowling charts sorted by avgs and s/r in say the last 35-40 yrs. its ALL dominated by Pace. If spin bowling fetched wkts as regularly and as cheaply as pace bowling then captains would have bowling lineups stacked with spinners. [[ The neighbour's 5th standard son knows that the strike rates and averages of spinners would be decidedly higher. Anyhow the following numbers should ring a bell with you. 800, 708, 619, 408. These are four spinners in the top-10 wicket-takers list. What is your point? Suddenly you are saying that only pace bowlers matter. Let me say this: There is a line which, if crossed, would make you 100% counter-productive and divisive. Some of the readers have already felt that and one or two have even expressed this directly to me. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on January 17, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    Oh Skrikanthk...I am in your line of fire now. Bheem has intrepreted many technical issues of batting/bowling in his own way. We may disagree with him, but they are worth debating like what you are arguing. Two issues with Bheem--Trying to get technical nuances from video footage and then concluding the greatness or lack of it and then arguing wthout the era context. All of us who disagree with Bheem have been arguing on these lines. Presenting technical points is one thing. Accepting them as correct is another thing. So relax Shrikanthk...give his due. I was only commenting on his attempt to ananlyse technically batting/bowling as good and not really accepting them.

  • shrikanthk on January 17, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    hence your good technical comments have taken the colour of bias

    Ramesh : May I ask what were the "technical comments" you found good?

    Firstly there was a link to a Hobbs video patting some balls in the net. He middled everything. If anything he seemed a bit relaxed and not as "tight" as people imagine him to be. But that's a misconception of Hobbs as I've so often stated

    Hobbs was never a technician like Hutton, but a very gifted natural strokemaker who became more circumspect with age

    Next he linked to some unhelpful videos of Tate, Adcock and Tyson

    Do I claim that cricket hasn't changed at all since the 1920s? Ofcourse not. Even before Bheem, I asked Murray whether his friend Arthur Morris thinks Bedser would've been successful in the modern game. Nothing against Bedser, but the circumstances these days don't aid medium pace

    By the same token several 2012 vintage players may not do well in the 20s or even 60s. Swann for instance given the LBW law and pad play back then.

  • Ramesh Kumar on January 17, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    Bheem…Your starting point has been unfair and hence your good technical comments have taken the colour of bias. All of us evolve/grow, change over time. Long standing business corporations had its turnover grown many times in the last 50 years. Should we classify those earlier period CEOs as inferior? Jesse Owens' timings will look inferior now. But if you get the perspective right, you will be able to appreciate it. Given the conditions, rules etc, each era throws some high performers and they need to be respected for performing well under those conditions. Bradman, Hobbs and a few other people stood out much higher within those parameters and they are revered for it. Nostalgia colouring our thoughts about earlier players—maybe. But the current players also benefit by our recent memories of their records and changed conditions. Since you start off with direct comparison across eras discounting the evolution of cricket, there is no meeting ground. [[ Jesse Owens' winning time was 10.3 seconds. Griffith-Joyner's world record time is 10.49, just 0.2 seconds off. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on January 17, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    Ananth,

    Your attempt at humour has been backfiring amidst escalated temper. Keep trying. Backfiring comments themselves are a good piece of humour.

    Actually it is a good feel that we get to talk about earlier era players who are generally mentioned in passing.Muuray Archer, Shrikanthk & Boll will handle the beamers from Bheem. [[ You are correct. What you are suggesting is that I do what you guys are all doing. Just sit back, watch and have fun. Do not get in. You may be hit. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 16, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    Yes we can limit it to pace bowling because playing quality pace bowling is the main skill in cricket

    This line illustrates the extent to which you misunderstand cricket.

    There are scores of players who play pace very well but struggle against medium pace/spin.

    In cricket, a batsman battles the conditions as much as he does the bowlers. On a slow, low wicket a medium pacer with a nagging line can be harder to get away than a lot of genuine fast bowlers. One only needs to look at how effective Darren Sammy is on the slow and low WI wickets. He bowls at 125kph and is often impossible to get away (bowling long spells for LT 2.5rpo quite often).

  • Boll on January 16, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    Blimey, Vernon Philander ring any bells? Another man who operates in the 125-135kph range. Yes, extreme pace is one test of batsmanship, and a frightening one. Wickets are what count though, and there have always been plenty of other , just as effective, ways to get them.

  • shrikanthk on January 16, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    No response to the Alderman conundrum as yet? I would have thought he was a fairly typical pre-WWII bowler in English conditions...40 years later, at slightly better than medium pace, he ran through English sides almost at will.

    Why Alderman. Bowlers much slower than Alderman like Shackleton and Cartwright had unearthly FC averages in England as late as the 60s. Both were much lesser bowlers than Tate according to the consensus view.

  • Boll on January 16, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    41 wickets at 19, in 6 tests, aged 33, in 1989, at a gentle medium-fast pace, by putting it up there and swinging it a bit both ways? Impossible...

  • Boll on January 16, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    re. Alderman. In fact G.Gooch, who played some of the greatest innings of all time against out and pace, was absolutely clueless against the 125-135kmh swing of Alderman. Playing pace the main skill? - perhaps scoring runs against whatever you`re faced with is more important.

  • Boll on January 16, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    @Bheem, I would suggest that playing quality bowling is the main batting skill in cricket, in whatever form that bowling appears.

    Not sure why you think Bill O`Reilly is not `anywhere close to Warne/MuMu`; his record on pretty batting-friendly wickets throughout the 30`s, and the regard in which he was held, suggests he was a master of his craft and one of the greatest of all time. If the greatest batsman of all time says that he was the greatest bowler he ever faced then he can`t have been too bad. I`m happy to go there.

    No response to the Alderman conundrum as yet? I would have thought he was a fairly typical pre-WWII bowler in English conditions...40 years later, at slightly better than medium pace, he ran through English sides almost at will.

  • Boll on January 16, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    O`Reilly? - pie-chucker... soft as well. Only thing that kept him going was batsmen who couldn`t drive the car to the corner store, or pull a ...in a...

    He wasn`t all that quick either.

    Keep trying Murray

  • shrikanthk on January 16, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    I presume: I might be totally wrong: I might be shown Pathe videos which show them being slaughtered

    I just don't get this defensiveness. Now did we see Hobbs/Adcock/Tate/Tyson being discredited by those videos? I saw nothing wrong with those videos. If anything, I saw some good things. But I will refrain from even mentioning anything good eith, erbecause this is not how I appraise players! Period. [[ This is the second time you have used the word "defensively" when responding to my response. This time in response to a tongue-in-cheek attempt at humour. I only said that Bheem might show me a link to a video. Did I sound defensive or concerned or worried. Shri, you take everything too seriously. You need to understand not-so-serious banter and appreciate humour. Ananth: ]]

  • Bheem on January 16, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    "Hope you're not suggesting knowledge of cameras used, frame rates, or any changes made since original camera."

    Frame rates yes. Its actually fairly straight forward to work that out. The only changes that are made to those videos is that of adding a duplicate frame after every 4th frame to make it appear smoother by converting it to a 29fps format from the original 24 fps. Yes they lack in color, long-lens, behind the bowlers arm angle, super slow mo, HD etc but for the scope of our discussion these features are not needed. And I will explain why if you don't agree. I can also degrade modern day cricket clips if you want to get really technical.

    "You have spoken much of speed, so can we limit it to that ? i.e will you accept O'Reilly was a bowler who would compete today "

    Yes we can limit it to pace bowling because playing quality pace bowling is the main skill in cricket. But I don't think Tiger is anywhere close to Warne/MuMu but thats a seperate discussion. Lets not go there. [[ The batsmen were no good. The pace bowlers were not upto the mark. The spinners were so and so. Who does that leave us with. Were the umpires of 1930s acceptable. Or anybody connected with cricket? Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 16, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @ Bheem

    I am not suggesting foul play on any videos ! Hope you're not suggesting knowledge of cameras used, frame rates, or any changes made since original camera. I can tell you all about the eyes I used before mine. Also everything about their owners, including their propensity to brag (It obviously varies a lot). (BTW I disagree about film - "Citizen Cain" looks "all wrong" to me.)

    When we first spoke I asked if we could be happy with post war 2 players - obviously not. I'm still trying to find the start for the stepping back process. I am thinking 1970 might be safe but if not, is 1975 ?

    I am thinking your only conversion need, is to believe bowlers were actually good in the hazy (pre televised)times ? Batsmen plundering sub standard bowling is, as you have suggested, irrelevant. (Jason Gillespie had an ok No.10 defence - but a test 200 ? etc)

    You have spoken much of speed, so can we limit it to that ? i.e will you accept O'Reilly was a bowler who would compete today [[ For some indecipherable reason Bheem's problem seems to be pre-1960 batsmen and fast bowlers. He does not seem to have any problems with spinners (I presume: I might be totally wrong: I might be shown Pathe videos which show them being slaughtered)). After all they generally bowl slow. So please add Grimmett and Verity to O'Reilly and present the three spinners, who would compete today. Obviously not in the T20 nonsense. Ananth: ]]

  • Bheem on January 16, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    "If everyone isn't too bored yet, I have complete confidence could step Bheem back decade by decade."

    Pls do. It should make for a fascinating read.

    "I once thought my eyes saw cricket better than anyone previously. I was very wrong ! I now know I can manipulate video to show anything. "

    Hmmm ... are you suggesting foul play in those videos?

    "Bheem seems to believe cricket developed alongside film. I believe cricket was far faster."

    Film technology good enough to capture cricketing action was developed in the mid 1920s. It just wasnt as easily accesible as is the case now. I believe that it is the ONLY neutral and brutally honest piece of evidence in this matter.

    "Bheem seems an easy convert to history from my point of view. " And I come with a open mind. So go for it.

  • Murray Archer on January 16, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    Cricket brain kicking in.... Isn't everything like cricket ?

    @ Shri - un-warranted advice to batting partner :- (I only tender, as you once said you are only 28 and I feel today I might be the "senior" partner)

    My Grandmother (the best coach I ever had) said "Don't let anything distract you from the ball".

    This innings I got annoyed - I almost threw my wicket. (lucky to still be in really). I'm feeling more solid than ever now. :)

    The opposition, having declared at 0, obviously did attack hard. Strange tactics! Yet is our, not their, game we must focus on. maybe their next chance to record will also be 0 ? - not our problem. This is a timeless match.

    Please just play the bowling - it's easy ! See you at stumps (and again tomorrow) :).

  • Murray Archer on January 16, 2013, 2:35 GMT

    "There is a day and night difference between standards of Tates ERA and now."

    Yep ! Nuimi was only running 30.06. Ty Cobb was only destroying poor pitchers. Arto Friedenreich while being legally unable to be fouled (because he was black) was scoring more goals than Pele would. Bobby Jones was scoring sub par on same courses played today !

    13% worse maybe. Not day or night an incremental difference.

    I contend today's cricket is about 20% worse than was in 1970. The other 40 or 50 years are far easier to explain :).

    If everyone isn't too bored yet, I have complete confidence could step Bheem back decade by decade.

    I once thought my eyes saw cricket better than anyone previously. I was very wrong ! I now know I can manipulate video to show anything.

    Bheem seems to believe cricket developed alongside film. I believe cricket was far faster. Bheem seems an easy convert to history from my point of view.

  • Murray Archer on January 15, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    "That story of bowlers bowling from 2 yrds closer to the stumps is a classic case of a lie being repeated ad-nauseum till it becomes entrenched as a Fact!."

    It's a bit more than a story. (although I do like Cowdrey's "I was frightened that he (Rorke) might tread on my toes" :) )

    It's hard to find a single medium pace or faster bowler who started in the 50's who didn't admit to having their front foot well in front of the popping crease. All the batsmen also thought all the bowlers were creeping up. Hanging on the back leg (dragging) got to be so prevalent that many couldn't deliver from there, and started throwing to keep balance.

    It got so bad there was a conference called and in July 1960 the no-ball & throwing rules were changed and Umpires encouraged to enforce against illegal bowling.

    16 Bowlers were called for illegal deliveries and basically banned from cricket between 1960 and 1964. One would expect it would not end careers if it wasn't real ?

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Reason : Standards. There is a day and night difference between standards of Tates ERA and now.

    This is an ad-hominem conclusion. How do you define "standards". Ofcourse, none of us claims here that cricket hasn't changed at all since WG Grace's day.

    The reason cricket has changed is because the conditions and circumstances have changed. Not because players have suddenly gotten more talented or less talented.

    There is no single "standard" you can look up to.

    Had I not had hard evidence I would have been ridiculed outta here in no time.

    Aha. Never short of self congratulation. The reason you haven't been ridiculed out of here is because this blogspace tolerates heresies and uneducated remarks. This isn't an elitist room which brushes aside anyone who doesn't toe the line. Your treatment in this space has very little to do with your "hard" evidence or lack of it. [[ The strength of this blogspace can also be its weakness. I have allowed a lot of freedom to the readers. However that is not a sign of weakness. Rather it is a need to be fair to all. However if required I can also wield the stick. Couple of years back when discussions concerning Tendulkar were going way off track and the integrity of this blogspace was questioned I came down heavily and even today that problem has not cropped up. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    @Shrikanthk first of all Chris Woakes is nowhere as slow as Tate. you can keep pretending otherwise.

    It's amazing how you jump to conclusions. None of us have any idea whether Woakes is quicker or slower than Tate. But you know the answer because you know what you want your answer to be. This is the classic approach of a missionary - know the conclusions before you start any inquiry.

    At any rate, we are not here to judge who bowls quicker. Even a Praveen Kumar is a tad slower than Woakes, but a far better bowler.

    Secondly his FC avg is a whole lot worse than Tate already

    What a comparison. The circumstances of the 20s are so very different from that of the 2010s. You simply cannot compare two numbers like that. The only reason why I brought up Woakes name was to illustrate how even some very ordinary up-and-down bowlers do well even in this day. I never tried to draw a 1:1 comparison of the two numbers as you did.

  • Bheem on January 15, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    @Shrikanthk first of all Chris Woakes is nowhere as slow as Tate. you can keep pretending otherwise. Secondly his FC avg is a whole lot worse than Tates already. BTW Tates FC avg excluding Tests is 17.69! Chris Woakes will be lucky if he gets to play Test matches if his ODI performances are anything to go by. Just look at how he gets hammered at that pace(which is in the 80-86MPH range). Reason : Standards. There is a day and night difference between standards of Tates ERA and now. Enjoy it while it lasts before the T20 slugfests runs down proper cricket.

    @Murray I hope you see why I take written accounts from the past ERAs with a big bucket of salt. That story of bowlers bowling from 2 yrds closer to the stumps is a classic case of a lie being repeated ad-nauseum till it becomes entrenched as a Fact!. I dont blame you or anybody for it because you have heard it from very emminent cricketers. Had I not had hard evidence I would have been ridiculed outta here in no time.

  • Murray Archer on January 15, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Thanks again for the footage Bheem :) You're right ! He once had his front foot somewhere not outrageously far past the popping crease :).

    "Shouldnt that be more like > 90mph (>144kph)"

    Yes ! from same article in Wikipedia - also has references.

    "At the Aeronautical College in Wellington, New Zealand in 1955 metal plates were attached to a cricket ball and a sonic device was used to measure their speed, with Tyson's bowling measured at 89 mph (142 km/h), but he was wearing three sweaters on a cold, damp morning and used no run up, Brian Statham bowled at 87 mph (139 km/h)."

    My Uncle (who wasn't fast) was about Statham's pace. Tyson WAS considered fast !

    Imagine if Benaud is right ?...... Imagine if Tyson WAS quicker than Thommo ? 165 + 10% ? - as you suggest, maybe only + 5-7 % :)

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Interesting tidbit. Chris Woakes - a medium pace bowler of 2012 vintage - averages 25 in English FC cricket today!!

    This is the era of completely covered wickets, overseas professionals, Div1/Div2 tiering, heavy bats, short boundaries. Yet Woakes, a mere medium pacer averages 25!

    So what's so surprising about Tate (by all accounts a very skilled bowler) averaging 18 in English FC cricket of the 20s - an era when conditions favoured medium pace bowling a lot more.

  • Bheem on January 15, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    @Murray "That's his BACK foot ! So around two yards on front ?"

    evidence at around 1:33

    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/selected-originals-typhoon-tysons-test-match/query/Tyson

    Let me know if this doesn't convince you.

    "Can we convince you yet that at least Tyson that one year was bowling a bit over 130 ?" Shouldnt that be more like > 90mph (>144kph)... i mean Tyson himself proudly claimed that he was the fastest and current bowlers were sissies or some such silly Bravado. :)

    Will respond to the rest tomorrow. but thx guys for indulging in a good debate.

  • Murray Archer on January 15, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    "These days bowlers of that speed simply wont get into a test team as strike bowlers because of prevailing standards and that is the entire point."

    Yes - ridiculous isn't it ?

    We saw Asif, have been watching Philander and Aust got so desperate had to play Bird (but never Copeland) - even some of the Sri Lankans showed promise. Why medium pacers when always having been the most successful bowlers, went out of fashion last 30 years is beyond me. lol It's ALL Thommo's fault ;)

  • Murray Archer on January 15, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    "Unless you have evidence that these bowlers were bowling 130+ KPH when the camera wasn't around you have no case here."

    Thought you settled that by linking a slipped frame rate video of someone holding back with keeper 2-4 steps deeper than Steyn in December 2012 ? Can we convince you yet that at least Tyson that one year was bowling a bit over 130 ?

    "Who is the bowler of Donald/Steyn class and speed that Bradman pulled and hooked ? Last time I asked you didnt have any names and tried to pretend that it didnt matter. Check the links of Ponting where he pulls really good fast bowlers on front foot. Bradman did no such thing."

    Ray Lindwall !

    Of course Bradman didn't do any such thing ! Bradman pulls on the front foot, when could get another 8 foot of time ? ONLY if already got what he wanted that day.

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    Check the links of Ponting where he pulls really good fast bowlers on front foot.

    Pulling off the front foot is risky business. No wonder Ponting gets out often to the pull shot. And pulling off the front foot was simply NOT AN OPTION in the days prior to the helmet!!

    Who is the bowler of Donald/Steyn class and speed that Bradman pulled and hooked ?

    DGB did pull and hook Lindwall and Miller often in FC cricket, when he was around 40 years old. He also often punished Larwood severely even during the Bodyline series. Allen was pretty nippy as well, though not as good a bowler as the other names. Farnes was another awkward customer Bradman faced. He also faced Constantine in 1930-31 - a mercurial WI fast bowler who could be fast.

    Whether or not Lindwall and Miller are in the Donald/Steyn class is a totally subjective matter. They were definitely very very good bowlers.

    Anyway, this is not how I judge players. I judge them without passion based on career figures.

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    And a Avg is 23 with SR of 66 for 38 wkts is indeed dirt cheap.

    Lots of test bowlers past and present have CAREER averages and strike rates that are better than 23 and 66!! Leave along figures on their BEST test rubber.

    No way that is dirt cheap. SR of 66 is actually on the poorer side by modern standards.

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    These days bowlers of that speed simply wont get into a test team as strike bowlers because of prevailing standards and that is the entire point.

    The circumstances these days are very different. The LBW law is far more relaxed. This aids quick bowlers and coaxes teams to be more aggressive in their selection. Also the bigger bats and shorter boundaries are definitely a handicap against medium pacers. Still the odd skilled medium pacer does okay when given a chance - Eg: Praveen Kumar in England in 2011.

    The circumstances of the 20s were different what with the timeless tests and old LBW law, which increased the necessity for stock bowlers who could be counted on to bowl 40-50 overs per innings if necessary.

  • Murray Archer on January 15, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    RE : Tyson From wikipedia (there's a reference to the fact) "In the match between the Victoria and the M.C.C he was photographed dragging his foot 18 inches past the crease"

    That's his BACK foot ! So around two yards on front ?

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    I have told this many times before : the clips are used to get a fair idea of speed.

    Regarding Tate: Nobody here claims he is a fast bowler. Not even Tate's ghost would make that claim.

    Regarding Adcock: Your clip told us NOTHING, besides letting us know that he didn't have an overly long run. The one good thing I saw on that clip was a very fine leg-slip catch by one of the SA fielders.

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    @Shrikanthk Can you post a link to that 2hr footage of Bradman? Thanks.

    That includes the documentary footage I owned a long time back ("The Bradman Era" documentary from 1982). Presently lent to someone. Not available online.

    The thing is even after taking out 20% of his wkts and by purposely not deducting the runs conceeded the avg is still a very very good bowling avg of 22

    So what's so anomalous with the first class average of 22? Bowlers slower than Tate who played as late as the 70s have had such FC averages around the world.

    And why this sudden focus on FC cricket? I thought you should be discussing Tate's Test average - which is 26. If one removes the easy SA wickets, it's probably over 30. Which is a fair reflection of him as a Test bowler. Would that average be better or worse if he were to play today? I've no idea. Medium pacers definitely have a harder time today. But having said that, Tate had to contend with the Old LBW law as well, which hurt bowlers.

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    Nor did Glen McGrath. And they are not alone. A whole bunch of truly great fast bowlers couldnt get anywhere closer

    Boll has already mentioned the name of Terry Alderman who took 40+ wickets in two Ashes series. Not someone you would regard as a great fast bowler. Yet he did something which many of the WI fast bowlers didn't

    Just goes to show that the no of wickets that you get in a 5/6 match rubber depends on who else is bowling with you at the other end. Alderman managed to get 40+ despite having Lillee at the other end

    Tate had nobody great at the other end which meant he had more opportunities to take wickets. His partner Arthur Gilligan was a shadow of his own self on that tour. And Tate didn't have it easy. He bowled 40-50 overs in a lot of the Aus innings to get those wickets

    How many medium-fast bowlers today are willing to bowl that much? If they do put in the hard yards, I'm sure they'll get some rewards even in this age of heavy bats and short boundaries.

  • shrikanthk on January 15, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    Unless today's fast bowlers bowl a full 2 yards faster, they get to a batsmen slower, because of front foot no balls.

    Very good point, Murray. This is where you add value to this blog - with your historical perspective.

  • Bheem on January 15, 2013, 2:53 GMT

    @Shrikanthk Can you post a link to that 2hr footage of Bradman? Thanks.

    @ariz .. you need to understand the context behind the calc. shrikanth said Tates avg is inflated due to sticky wkts. So in an attempt to arrive at his avg on non-rain affected pitches I just deducted 20% of his wkts. Shrikanths estimate was 10%. But the idea is to reduce his Bowling avg (as per Shrikanths take .. see the discusion for details). The thing is even after taking out 20% of his wkts and by purposely not deducting the runs conceeded the avg is still a very very good bowling avg of 22. I hope you understand. And BTW 44+54 adds up to 98.

    @Murray "Unless today's fast bowlers bowl a full 2 yards faster, they get to a batsmen slower, since front foot no balls. (Lawson was absolutely frightening from 16 yards ! (practice drill although he crept up anyway) - I can't even imagine Tyson)."

    So Tyson landed his front foot 2 yrds ahead of the crease. Right?

  • Bheem on January 15, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    @Shrikanthk "You're the one making derogatory comments on players ranging from Tate to Adcock based on very small clips which say very little, as if.."

    I have told this many times before : the clips are used to get a fair idea of speed. Unless you have evidence that these bowlers were bowling 130+ KPH when the camera wasn't around you have no case here. These days bowlers of that speed simply wont get into a test team as strike bowlers because of prevailing standards and that is the entire point. Feel free to dispute this and then we can talk about being derogatory. And a Avg is 23 with SR of 66 for 38 wkts is indeed dirt cheap.

    "My comment was based on all the Bradman footage I have ever watched " Who is the bowler of Donald/Steyn class and speed that Bradman pulled and hooked ? Last time I asked you didnt have any names and tried to pretend that it didnt matter. Check the links of Ponting where he pulls really good fast bowlers on front foot. Bradman did no such thing.

  • Sree on January 14, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    @Ariz

    Even adding Sachin's ODI + Test averages (44+54), its still only 98 :)

    If there are two numbers that are truly mindboggling in all sport, they are 99.94 and as Shri never fails to remind us, 95.14.

  • shrikanthk on January 14, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    There is a tendency for people to pass comments on players as though they have personally witnessed these players play. Eg : you on Bradmans pull shot being better than Ponting

    It's interesting that you choose to make this comment. You're the one making derogatory comments on players ranging from Tate to Adcock based on very small clips which say very little, as if they've driven you sick with several hours of live footage.

    My comment was based on all the Bradman footage I have ever watched (atleast 2 hours of footage all put together) and all my experience of Ponting over the past 15 years. I backed it up by my thoughts on why I think Bradman's pull shot technique is better, whereas you just posted the odd Tate/Adcock clip as if the clips themselves are self-explanatory.

    I don't have the final say on whether Bradman was a better puller than Ponting. I just posted my thoughts (not just clips of the same). I have very high regard for both.

  • Murray Archer on January 14, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    "Tate is also a very very influential bowler in cricket history. He is probably the first seam bowler."

    Yes ! (thanks Shri). Probably also first to tame and reproduce "Irish" swing on call .

    Anyone who can prove their new bowling ideas is fun :). !!! This is no Iverson or later type "backyard job" development. Tate's stuff is like Newton's - never even challenged !

    RE Pace :) It's nothing and not to be considered ? (variations are often tough though.) Unless today's fast bowlers bowl a full 2 yards faster, they get to a batsmen slower, since front foot no balls. (Lawson was absolutely frightening from 16 yards ! (practice drill although he crept up anyway) - I can't even imagine Tyson).

    It's ridiculous to suggest everything wouldn't have improved in 40 years, especially given professionalism ! So seeing pace is everything, where are all the bowlers quicker than Thommo ?

  • Ariz khan on January 14, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    Ananth Yes you are right. I told you Bheem wouldn't get it and he didn't. He understood the doubling of numbers but then goes on to justify it by saying that he wanted to be extra conservative! Now who is going to explain to him that those kind of conservative-ness can be accepted only from a person who is supporting Tate and not otherwise. He didn't understand another gross mistake of mine (or his) that I took away the runs against minnows but not the number of times he got out against them. He took away the wickets (infact doubled it) but never reduced a single run from runs conceded by Tate. After reading that legendary post of his I wonder how Boll and Murray are still arguing with him! its like some one said to me once that Sachin is better than Don coz his total avg (ODI avg 44+ Test avg 54 = 108) is greater than Don's 99.94! I am not kidding.

    I am pretty convinced with BQI. I am pretty sure if somehow pitch conditions are also added it will be even better. [[ I am working on it. It will be more or less on the lines of the 1-10 BPI value I developed last year. This comprises of both BQi and PQI. You might remember that it was an excellent indicator and clearly represented the level of difficulty faced by the batsmen. The technical advantage is also that it has a clearly identified normal distribution.I remember one reader did this work partly but I will firm it up. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 14, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    Does anyone remember Steve Waugh as a kid ?

    He got 3 five wicket hauls before a century in test cricket. Could have been a very good bowler !

    Until the 1990's or later the world record for wickets was almost always held by a medium pace bowler who moved it away from right handers.

    Now that so many batsmen are left handers, who knows what type of bowler ?

  • Murray Archer on January 14, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    To be fair to Rusi Surti, having watched him play a few seasons he had quite deliberately an extremeley wide variation in bowling speeds. Everything up to nippy. Also his bowling actions were pleasing to the eye. :))) He played "tough" and always tried to be exactly whatever was needed. (in that way very, like if M Hussey bowled 3 types left handed). That's the sort of attitude that the greats had. Many a cricketer lesser than Rusi got better results not having it :(.

    The Indian side of 1967/68 is easily the best Indian test fielding side I've seen, and another good example against the myth of fielding improvement due to professionalism. [[ Yes: Murray. Abid Ali (close catches), Wadekar (great in slips), Surti (mercurial), Pataudi (extraordinary at covers with one eye), Borde, Nadkarni. The only weak link was Prasanna. Even young Bedi could field reasonably well. Ananth: ]] @ Bheem

    "However do tell us why you consider him good when you have never seen him play"

    I got over all that early. One day (I was 10), I passed 100, and the opposition started telling me my family could play. I've since, only learned to filter who I'm hearing what from, far better........ that day I was surprised and got myself out :(

  • Bheem on January 14, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    @Ariz the reason why I took away twice the suggested no.of wkts in Tate's case was because I wanted to be extra conservative. Afterall unlike SRT/Bell's case where we know exactly how many matches were played against Minnows, we dont know how many wkts were easy wkts due to bowling on sticky wkts in Tate's case.

    @Ananth - I will comment on modern players as and when and it will likewise be impartial, blunt and asking very incovenient questions .. hope you don't mind :)

    @Shrikanthk "By the same token, you should never comment on any player you haven't seen live! Why even visit this blog."

    Never said that people shouldnt comment on players they have never seen play. Just wanted to emphasize the context in which the rating was done. There is a tendency for people to pass comments on players as though they have personally witnessed these players play. Eg : you on Bradmans pull shot being better than Ponting.

  • Boll on January 14, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    @Bheem, ah Alderman, 42 and 41 wickets ring any bells...pace merchant of course

  • Boll on January 14, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @Bheem. Ashes in England 1981 - DK Lillee, 39 wickets. Ashes in England 1997 - McGrath, 36 wickets. Don`t imagine shrikanthk has missed those either. Terry Alderman in Ashes series...

  • shrikanthk on January 14, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    If you bowl at the pace with which Tate is bowling you will be lucky if you get any wkts today. Have you ever seen a Opening bowler of that Pace play against Aus in recent times ?

    That depends on who is bowling at the other end. Tate played in the mid-late 20s - a decade when both English and Aus bowling line-ups weren't too special. He did a heck of a lot of bowling to get those wickets. England was heavily dependent on him. It's not as though Tate got those 30 odd wickets at a dirt cheap price. He had to bowl a LOT of overs to get those wickets at an SR which isn't too special.

    And you keep referring to Tate's "pace" as if you have a definitive idea of the same. While the truth is none of us are absolutely sure of anybody's pace prior to late 70s. We only have educated guesstimates.

  • Murray Archer on January 14, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    Have you ever seen a Opening bowler of that Pace play against Aus in recent times ? Aint happening.

    Dilshan took the new ball in the most recent test match in Australia.

    Sri Lanka's other opening bowlers, and Philander, in series earlier this season, all in the 120's.

  • Murray Archer on January 14, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    So how does a guy with that sort of bowling speed end up with such a great FC avg that I associate to the likes of waqars and wasims and Donalds?

    How did Terry Alderman reduce Gooch to being virtually unable to play ? (another who "defeated" science by "seeming" to speed up off the pitch)

    Alderman might still hold some records for 5 test series in England. Getting 40 twice was certainly unusual !

  • Bheem on January 14, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    "Just because you bowl at 135-140 kph doesn't mean you'll be successful down under."

    If you bowl at the pace with which Tate is bowling you will be lucky if you get any wkts today. Have you ever seen a Opening bowler of that Pace play against Aus in recent times ? Aint happening.

    "Bowlers of far lesser pace than Waqar and Javagal have succeeded in Aus in a big way"

    But none that is remotely close in speed to Tate. Heck your fav Aussie bowler - DK Lillee - never got anywhere close to that mark of 38 wkts in a series. Nor did Glen McGrath. And they are not alone. A whole bunch of truly great fast bowlers couldnt get anywhere closer. Heck DKL does not have 38 wkts at WACA in 7 tests.

  • shrikanthk on January 14, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    However do tell us why you consider him good when you have never seen him play

    What a line of reasoning! By the same token, you should never comment on any player you haven't seen live! Why even visit this blog.

  • Ariz khan on January 14, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    Anantha

    Please read my post again.

    It was not directed at Sachin. I repeat, it was not directed at Sachin.

    If that response had come from Bheem, I would have understood. If I had taken Bell's example he wouldn't have cared to pay attention to the gross manipulations that I have done, the same manipulations that he did. [[ Ariz, I get the feeling you take umbrage too soon. In fact I was only supporting your contention. I know that you had taken SRT as an example. My response was only to say that the numbers have to be handled carefully and ad-hoc methods would not work. I wasonly trying to expand your point on SRT. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 14, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    In Tate's case his overall bowling index will reflect that he bowled to different levels of opposition. There are many modern bowlers like Zaheer, Vaas, Hoggard with no great prestensions of speed

    Tate was different to those names. Shorter run-up. Slightly slower through the air. But very quick off the pitch. I'd rate him a notch ahead of those guys

    Tate is also a very very influential bowler in cricket history. He is probably the first seam bowler.

    There were great fast bowlers in the 1890s - Richardson/Lockwood/Kortright - all of them much quicker than Tate, but they never used the seam consciously. Also the cricket ball back then in 1890s did not have a very pronounced seam.

    Then in the early 1900s we had Barnes who also was NOT a seam bowler but a spinner of the ball!

    Tate was the first medium fast bowler to consciously use the seam to bowl leg cutters and off cutters, instead of spinning deliveries like SFB

    Great man.

  • Ariz khan on January 14, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Bheem "Earlier you said that the pitches in the.... ... 50571/2227 = 22.7 for normal pitches."

    beep beep beep beep (some hard words)

    What you did was this (I am taking Sachin's example for you won't understand for say Ian Bell) Sachin has scored 15645 runs with 288 times out so his average is 15645/288=54.32 Since he has scored 1738 runs against Zim/Bang - really poor bowling attack so should be discounted, before that lets double it 15645-2*1738=12169 runs So his avg is 12169/288 = 42.25 - Sachin's avg against non-minnows. [[ Why do any tweak which will not stand any quality check. I never do that. Taking your example of SRT, all of us know that 8% of his runs have been scored against minnows. We also forget that every single blessed run against Bangladesh has been scored away (due to BCCI's nonsensical policy of not allowing Bangladesh to set foot in India for Test matches). And I have said this 10 times and will continue to say this. His 105 was one of his five innings ever and anyone who thinks Bangladeshi attack that day was no good needs to have his head examined. So finally let us come to Bowling Quality Faced Index. It takes care of awful New Zealand or Sri Lankan attacks off which SRT might have scored and also good Bangladeshi attacks against which he has scored. Overall a perfect figure. It is somewhere in the middle reflecting the exact situation. In Tate's case his overall bowling index will reflect that he bowled to different levels of opposition. There are many modern bowlers like Zaheer, Vaas, Hoggard with no great prestensions of speed but sufficient skills to have done quite well overall. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on January 14, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    Anantha About players adjusted average (using BQI) against the real avg. I think its an excellent idea. We might incorporate pitch as well. But there is one issue - suppose 2 players from same team played one match against BQI=25 player A avged 40 and B averaged say 20. In the next match they played against BQI=35 there A averaged 60 and B averaged 80. Suppose they got out equally (4 times each). Now if one takes the performance of them over these two tests, they have made equal runs/Avg and have faced same BQI over two tests and hence have performed equally well. But I would tend to think that A has performed better against better opposition, and hence should be given a little more credit. Any thoughts on this? One might think that these types of anomaly cancel out in the end for better players, I don't think it does in some cases. [[ A: (40*25 + 60*35) / (100) = 31.0 B: (20*25 + 80*35) / (100) = 33.0 Even now A would have deemed to have faced a better quality of bowling overall. It is because he scored more runs against the better quality attack. That is the reason why Gooch is high and Sangakkara is low. That is the advantage and fool-proof quality of weighting. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 14, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    RIP Rusi Surti

    Surti's demise gives me an opportunity to answer some of Bheem's questions.

    Rusi Surti was a medium pacer about the same pace as Tate/Bedser/Tom Cartwright/Derek Shackleton. Maybe 1 notch above or below in terms of pace relative to these names. [[ Nearer to 3 notches below. I have seen Surti play and he was no more pacy than Mohinder Amarnath. Ananth: ]] He played largely in the 1960s and was a contemporary of Cartwright and Shackleton. Yet, Surti averaged 37 in Indian FC cricket! Whereas Shackleton and Cartwright averaged 18/19 in England!

    Takeaways :

    1. Even among medium pacers, "quality" matters. You simply cannot judge a bowler by his run-up or by how he looks in an old clip.

    2. CONDITIONS matter. Surti plied his trade on very flat Indian wickets unlike Cartwright and Shackleton. This reflects in FC averages. So obviously there was something about England which helped medium pacers.

    3. Surti's example is a demonstration of the truth that NOT ALL medium pacers were successful prior to 70s. The ones who were successful obviously had something in them.

  • shrikanthk on January 14, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    So how does a guy with that sort of bowling speed end up with such a great FC avg that I associate to the likes of waqars and wasims and Donalds?

    Not sure why you keep repeating the same thought though several answers have been given to the question.

    Take Tom Cartwright. A medium pacer (probably slower than Tate). He played his last first class match in 1977 (an era you are very comfortable with). The guy averaged 19 in English FC cricket and took 1500 wickets!

    Another medium pacer Derek Shackleton averaged 18 in FC cricket (last match played in 1969).

    What you're talking about is not simply a feature of the "dubious" Bradman era.

    What it does suggest is that FC cricket in England pre 1970s was a different game where the circumstances aided medium pace bowling a lot more than it does today.

    Nothing against Tate though. A very fine bowler, but probably someone whose figures flatter him a wee bit.

  • shrikanthk on January 14, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    Waqar and Javagal played 3 times as many tests in Aus and still did not manage 38 wkts between them.

    Waqar and Javagal bowled rubbish in Aus, whenever I saw them in action. Just because you bowl at 135-140 kph doesn't mean you'll be successful down under. If you keep bowling short, you'll suffer.

    Bowlers of far lesser pace than Waqar and Javagal have succeeded in Aus in a big way.

    Also the circumstances of Tate's day aided him. That was the era of timeless tests down under. The grounds were real huge with no boundary ropes. With the bats of those days, it was not as easy to take on a medium-fast bowler who is hitting his lengths.

    Tate was not quick through the air, but everyone he played with commented on his pace off the wicket. He lost very little pace post pitching and often hurried batsmen.

    And he was definitely both quicker and a better bowler in general in '24-25 than he was in 1930 (when he often bowled long spells within himself with the WK standing up).

  • shrikanthk on January 14, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Earlier you said that the pitches in the 20s and 30s where good batting surfaces with the exception of rain affected pitches happening one in ten inngs

    Not sure if you read me closely. When I talked about 20s/30s pitches, I was referring to test pitches all around the world including Aus.

    When I talked about Tate's FC record, I was referring to English pitches during the season (not for tests per se). English pitches in county cricket used to be of very variable quality right up to the 70s.

    Also there were other factors like absence of overseas batsmen, no Division 1/2 tiering and 3 day games.

    Tate by 1930 was a stock bowler 35 years old. His test record post 1929 is rather ordinary.

    In 1924-25 (the series you cite) he was really a force to reckon with at the peak of his career.

    He was a very fine bowler, though perhaps not as fine as his figures suggest. Also even during his career, he was never regarded as a fast bowler! So you have not discovered something new.

  • Murray Archer on January 14, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    @ K.V.Krishnan

    Yes, you are I think exactly correct.

    As Australians though (I Hope) we are a bit reticent to be proud of 2000 A.D. plus domination. As our ability slipped, even more into fame for winning, it meant we got lost ?

    Sad days. Almost glad I wasn't good or young enough.

    Once again anoly about Australia - is all I watch closely :( Surti reminded me of an Indian side who fielded very well ;)

  • Bheem on January 13, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    (cont) so lets just double that and take away 20% of his wkts. That reduces his wkts tally to 2227 (from 2784). Lets further simply not bother reducing the runs conceeded. So we end up with an avg of 50571/2227 = 22.7 for normal pitches. So how does a guy with that sort of bowling speed end up with such a great FC avg that I associate to the likes of waqars and wasims and Donalds ? If this doesnt convince you nothing else will But here is another glaring incongruency : Tate still holds the rec for most wkts(38) in a series in Aus. Waqar and Javagal played 3 times as many tests in Aus and still did not manage 38 wkts between them.

  • Bheem on January 13, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    @Ananth "I said I would give up. I didn't. But now I really do."

    well I did warn you upfront that you wouldn't like what I say.. didn't I ? :) This is why I don't comment. Take it easy. [[ For once I would like you to make a comment only on modern players and drawing a line at 1970. Ananth: ]] @Murray "I notice the wicket keeper in 1956 walk forward 17 (or was it 18 or 19 ?) steps to the wicket"

    There is no shortage of keepers standing that far to bowlers these days who are ridiculed here. ROFL!

    "I never said Tate was fast. He was however very good. Do you think Hadlee once he became good was fast ?" I never accused you of labeling Tate as fast. However do tell us why you consider him good when you have never seen him play. And are you trying to say that Tate was in the Hadlee class as far as just speed is concerned ?

    @Shrikanthk a FC average of 18 in English county cricket was very common ..(because of uncovered wkts)

    Earlier you said that the pitches in the 20s and 30s where good batting surfaces with the exception of rain affected pitches happening one in ten inngs (cont)

  • Aniruddha on January 13, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    Hi Anantha, the simulator program has always fascinated me (just like the rest of the readers I guess). I have been wondering for a while if it can work to predict future matches. Is it possible that it can predict the future results based on the current/historical performances of the teams/individuals. I do foresee some issues with relatively new players (not enough data) but it might still be interesting. Not to mention the bookies of course. [[ When I was demonstrating my simulation game at Sharjah during the early-1990s someone said that I could be making a lot of money if I offered it to the bookies. I told him that there was a fair chance that I would become the next day's news if my simulation predicted the wrong result, as was bound to happen. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 13, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    RIP Rusi Surti,

    A better player than his record suggests. He was a personal favourite from my early cricket watching days at the 'Gabba. [[ Surti was probably an average all-rounder but raised himself above the rest of the Indian players by his fielding. He is still amongst the five beat all-round fielders put on the field by India. Because of this he fitted easily into the tough Australian cricket. And, Queenslander to boot. Ananth: ]]

  • Engle on January 13, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    As a wktkeeper of many years, I recall a match where the new batsman came in to bat. His stance and technique was awful. Just a short matter of time, before we get this guy out, I said. After our team got hit all over the place by this batsman, it taught me a valuable lesson.

    Judge a player on his technique at your own risk.

  • K.V.Krishnan on January 13, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Commenting on the election of the Best World XV,I would say Australian Cricket can itself putforth 2 Best World Teams from among their cricketers, while their 1948 Team under Don with Morris, Hassett, Neil Harvey, Syd Barnes, Keith Miller, Samy Loxton, Ernie Toshack and others would definitely stand out as a world beater. While W.Indies, S.Africa, England can each select from their cricketers a world beating Team, India, Pak., S.Lanka, N.Z. & Zimbabwe can together muster one challenging team. Any Team with Bradman amongst them can carry away favourable results on more occassions. Bradman was indeed a cricketing phenomenon. His performance, especially in the "bodyline" series and on "uncovered" wickets can never be denied by any one. Maybe he escaped the present day strain & pressure. It will be interesting to stage a series of matches among these selected teams. But alas! this can never happen, except in our minds. But one thing, Don should not be in any team, to even the chances. [[ It is possible once I get my Test simulation game back on rails. Why ombine India, Pak and other teams. I am certain India and Pakistan could each offer a team which would certainly give any team a run for their money. Maybe the other three teams could be combined. Sri Lankan batsmen and spinners could combine with Shakib Al-Hasan and Flower and Streak to form a good team. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on January 13, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    re.`I did not inlude Baseball since I feel it is too limited a game: almost 100% American dominated. Ananth:`

    Ananth, I`ll have you know that the World Baseball Classic ( started in 2006, 2nd edition 2009, 3rd edition in 2013, finals at Tokyo Dome) has only ever been won by one nation - Nippon, who defeated Cuba and South Korea respectively in the finals. [[ Boll San, My apologies. Two major countries it will be. I may be wrong since I feel Baseball is also popular in Cuba and a few other countries also. Why? did USA not sent a team to the WBC or they were defeated. I have just seen the Wiki entry and can see that this is a major event. Do all teams send their strongest teams. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on January 12, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Than comes in temperament . How does a batsmen handle the periods when bowlers are doing good. Does he try to force his way out or can he wait out. From todays article 'Unlike Amla, New Zealand's bowlers were not able to maintain their standards'. Nothing regarding technique. Just temperament [[ Yes, it is an object lesson to watch a top team like Australia or (recently) South Africa handle opposing big partnerships. They would never drop their shoulders. Either of the bowlers would always be putting in those extra yards. Ananth: ]] If technique was all Mark Waugh would be rated far above Steve Waugh. But he isnt.

  • lovegoel on January 12, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    Further while technique is an integral part of batting, it is not the only thing. There are many other important aspects of batting.

    Lets take a batsmen who has an strike rate of 50. He will on a average have 20-25 scoring shots. Rest 75-80 there will be no scoring shots. This means that batsmen along with knowing how to play a shot must also be capable of selecting which ball to play which shot. You can have the best pull shot in the world but if you can't decide which ball to pull and more importantly which not to, you wont be able to handle it [[ Goel, You have made one of the most important points anyone has made recently. I will take it further. Let us compare three centuries. Tests: 200 balls, 140 non-scoring balls. 70%. ODIs: 120 balls. 70 non-scoring balls. 60%. T20s: 60 balls. 20 non-scoring balls. 33%. The defensive technique, temperament, deciding which balls to score off all are required lot more in Test cricket. Lot more patience is needed. In T20s, there is little choice. You have to bat more often by instinct and technique takes second, or more likely third, place. It does not matter which era a batsman played in. Without technique, temperament, patience and concentration he is not going to score one century leave alone 20 odd. Agarkar is an exception. Ananth: ]] Shot selection remains the most important aspect of batting.For me it remains even more important than technique. Without technique a batsmen would be found out at first class level itself.

  • love goel on January 12, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    I wonder how Kevin Pieterson switch hit will be assessed in terms of technique 85 years from now on.MCC still cant decide how to bring leg side rules into play when considering switch hit.

    Or how do people 85 year back would have reacted to reverse sweep and the scoop shot and the cut over the slips!

    I remember a innings Jimmy adams played against india in like 94(or something like that). He used the pad lot to defend. If tommorow the rules change to limit pad play , are we going to discredit his innings and say he would not have been able to adapt. TBC...

  • Dinesh on January 12, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Re: But if you give the carbon fibre racket to Gerulaitis or someone who hit the ball powerfully and give them 6 months, they would be nearly as good.

    Ananth dont you think you have exxagerated a bit here. Some one who has won just 1 grandslam to a person who has dominated two years in arguably the greatest era of mens tennis. I know you kind of dont like Djokovic, but comparing him to Gerulaitis is a bit of exxageration.

    What you are trying to convery is correct,that this is the era of Long rallies and baseliners and not of serve and volley kinds. [[ I think you are the one who has over-reacted. First thing, I compared the two strikers who hit the ball hardest in today's game (Djokovic and Bedych) with someone who hit the ball nearly as hard. As some one who watched every ball of his classic 1977 semi-final against Borg, I know. Why do you say it is because I do not like Djokovic. In fact it is a compliment. I wanted someone who hits the ball hard. Berdych (who, inclidentally, is yet to win a major) was the most obvious one. Djokovic followed next. Why take 2 and 2 and make two cricket teams. Does it mean no one should say the one who served hardest were Sampras and Ivanisevic. One with 14 majors and the other with one. No one is comparing them. One is only saying that they had the hardest serve in business. Or that we should not say that the best inswinger was bowled by McGrath and Alderman. Or that the best short ball was bowled by Marshall and Bond. Or that the best straight drive was played by Tendulkar and Boon. Or ... Ananth: ]]

  • B.C.G. on January 12, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    One cannot judge how good a player is;just by how the concerned player's drive(s)look like.

    Check out 3 player from the (supposedly high quality bowling)modern era- G.C.Smith(SA) S.Chanderpaul(W.I) S.R.Waugh(Aus)

    Are the fore mentioned good drivers of the ball?More like ugly nudgers.Can they hook,pull short balls gracefully(if at all) Yet these 3 have achieved considerable success in these difficult times for batting(with helmets on)

    "Either that or my understanding of a drive is different from that of people who voted here"-...... All the Great players know what works best for them;not what looks the best to some people. Hobbs drive may not be perfect;but if it worked for him why whine about it. [[ And it worked for him for 30 years and how many tens thousands oif runs and nearly 200 centuries. As Shri always says, the English country cricket was quite strong around the beginning of this century. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 12, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    @ Ariz

    :) Yes Bruce Reid was certainly thought about :) Super bowler on odd occasion of fitness :(. Mohammad Amir also wonderful when can play :(

    Middle order was tough for me ... I actually considered lots for 4th spot there. (got lazy and just picked 3 opener format, even before :) )

    Picked Martin Crowe mainly because he voted in this and is worthy..... Their is few yet many worthy - you mentioned 2 ! :)

    Yeah ... thought Hall, yet McDermott just stuck out ? IDK why really - just was imagining the team ...... which unpicked quick would you pick ?

  • B.C.G. on January 12, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    Bradman did face a good W.I. pace attack in 1930 & still averaged 74.

    This same attack destroyed England(Jardine getting some of his own medicine)

    @Bheem-Check out McCabe's record on sticky dogs.How many moderns can play like that? [[ And for that matter the bad-wicket batsmanship of Hobbs. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on January 12, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Murray I felt that you have started a very good concept of the team. The only name that could I could come up was was Bruce Reid, but you don't know when he will get injured! I wouldn't pick a third opener but would consider Kanhai, R. Richardson (would prefer him over Crowe), S. Clarke in the team. Can't think of Mcdermott in the team though.

  • Murray Archer on January 12, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    @ Ariz

    Sure am ! :) I would probably better say didn't hide behind :). More importantly, is there a better Left hand seamer than Vaas who didn't get a vote ?

    To everyone, if we look at pure athletic improvement, we see Niumi was running maybe 12% slower than Bekele. (almost all sports other have had equipment improvements that skew ?). Even with 10,000 metres is likely diet/recovery and computer analysis adds 5 % to anyone ?

    So if someone in 1920's was 7% less an athlete than someone in 2012. And the one in 1920 WAS a standout athlete, and one in 2012 was not athletic at all. What would happen in an "imagined" contest ? Athletes excluded - how many playing cricket today ?

    PS Ananth - seeing Jordan has priority in baseball, ;) I sent Koufax off the mound. hehe why waste him or Vider Blue ? - even a "righty" will make that opponent fly ! Oh wow .... how that man did fly ! [[ I did not inlude Baseball since I feel it is too limited a game: almost 100% American dominated. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on January 12, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    @Murray

    I am pretty sure you must be having another unprovable theory about Vaas/Murali. The funny thing about Unprovable theory is that it can not be disproved. So I won't even try. Anyways there is another kind of theory that Bheem is following - "Undisprovable Theory". LOl. But I am really enjoying the discussion between Bheem and the rest. Nice try by boll but its not gonna work. He is going to beat them all, has already taken Anantha's wicket. Bravo.

  • dale on January 12, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    @Ananth: excellent example! Laver is my favourite player but I rank Federer as the #1 player of all time just ahead of Laver. Jesse Owens is rated as one of the greatest Olympians and was once the "fastest" man alive. However Jesse Owens could not defeat the fastest High School sprinter from Jamaica or the USA today! But that does not and will not ever detract from Jesse Owens' legacy or legendary achievements at the 1936 Olympics! [[ People have talked about the power of hitting of Djokovic and Bedych. I accept. But if you give the carbon fibre racket to Gerulaitis or someone who hit the ball powerfully and give them 6 months, they would be nearly as good. Ananth: ]]

  • dale on January 11, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    John Edrich at the age of 38 was still facing up to Lillee and Thomson in 1974/75 . A decade earlier he was badly injured by a Peter Pollock delivery. Brian Close at the age of 45 opened against Roberts and Holding and at one point frustrated Holding while he survived a barrage a bouncers from the speedster.More than a decade earlier he had done the same to Wes Hall and Griffith. There is not much difference in the speed of the "fast" bowler , the key is how long can he maintain his top speed and how much assistance is he getting from the pitch and finally who is operating from the other end?

  • dale on January 11, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    All sports are continually evolving and the style of play is dictated by the rules as they apply and by the equipment used. Cricket is no different and the style of fast bowling is a great example. (Thanks to Sarfraz)How would Imran,Akram and Waqar fare if it wasn't for "reverse swing"...the West Indians certainly did not use it neither did Lillee,Hadlee,Willis,Thomson,Donald et al... What was the effect of the smaller seam and heavier more meaty bats? Most fast bowlers who enjoy a lengthy career (counted by active years)become true exponents of the art when they cut their pace,use movement off the pitch or swing if conditions permit, instead of sheer pace.(Hadlee for example) Kanhai started playing in the 50's and in 1975 he at age 39 he faced Lillee and Thomson in the WC with his 55. Cowdrey started in the 50's and in 74/75 was drafted into the team to face Lillee/Thomson at age 42.He did not make many runs but he earned the respect of Thomson.. (continued) [[ As I usually do I will take Tennis. If there is a greater fan of Federer than myself I would like to shake his/her hands. I am almost certain that he is the greatest sportsman who ever lived, considering all factors. But that does not mean that I cannot appreciate how great was Rod Laver. I am still uncertain how many Grand Slams he would have addeed if he not turned pro in 1963. He lost 6 straight years. Had a Grand Slam book-ending these years. What about the competition. Very tough, maybe not as tough as today but not a cakewalk. The equipment: All used wooden rackets.The rules: The same 7 matches to win each major. His wins were not like Willian Renshaw's who would win his title match, go into the country to perform his duties as the country squire, come next year and win the Challenge round. I would discount Renshaw's titles, not Laver's. If we transported Federer and Laver into each other eras, how they would have done. They would have adopted. They would have won maybe a couple of majors more or less. They would have continued to be at the top for quite a few years. If you give one guy a wooden racket and the other carbon-fibre, that is unfair. As long as the playing field is fair it is fine. Bodyline bowling, Lbw laws, uncovered pitches, lack of protective equipment, no restrictions on use of short-pitched bowling, financial security, media exposure are all factors which might have influenced the way the game was/is played. There might have been drastic changes over the years. But that does not give us the licence to pull down any era. If I cannot understand and appreciate Rod Laver, my appreciation of Federer would be hollow and vacuous. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 11, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    I admit to and apologise for angst here !

    200 who will nominate and put forward anyone they think is better than what chosen. Totally outdone by someone who won't !......

  • shrikanthk on January 11, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    This is a great site, and we should give it the respect it deserves.

    It is a great side and we are giving it the respect it deserves. Which is why this debate is being raged here amongst people who understand the game reasonably well and whose interest in cricket goes beyond the orgasmic delight of a four or a six.

    It is important to have debates and understand the meaning of numbers. Numbers like 99.94 and 95.14. These don't come about just like that (by lowering standards as Bheem supposes or by even fixing outcomes). It is only with age that I have realized how extraordinarily rare those numbers are and why we should respect them. And hence this attempt to convince fellow readers not by rhetoric but by reasoned arguments - which are not necessarily the final word.

  • shrikanthk on January 11, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    Reg Tate : how do you explain a FC Bowling avg of 18 and a Test avg of 26 with that bowling speed ?

    Firstly, a FC average of 18 in English county cricket was very common and not at all extraordinary right up to the 70s. Even medium pacers like Tom Cartwright back in the 60s had ridiculously low FC averages. Reason : English county cricket pitches were uncovered (often much poorer than test pitches) right up to the 70s. Also overseas players were not common in Eng FC scene till the 70s. Lastly the Division1/Division2 concept didn't exist back then. And matchs were played for 3 days (not 4).

    Regarding test average: Tate often played in extremely helpful conditions against weak opposition like SA. The same bowler found wicket-taking very tough against stronger batting line-ups like that of Aus in '30.

    Same goes for Bedser. Alec had ridiculously low averages playing against teams like India in '46 in England. But struggled a lot more against Aus in Aus (especially in '46)

  • Bheem on January 11, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    @ananth Are you trying to say that Hobbs batted with a completely different technique in all matches except the one that I put up ? Are you saying that he got it completely wrong only when the camera was around ? Remember there are more clips of him than the one I posted and these are completely random clips (Unlike the SRT/Steyn Clips) that I use to check out the Batting techniques alone. Also there is plenty of footage available for SRT/Steyn.

    Reg Tate : how do you explain a FC Bowling avg of 18 and a Test avg of 26 with that bowling speed ? Iam sorry but Iam having a hard time associating such avgs to that sort of bowling speed. Perhaps our understanding of fast bowling is different and Iam willing to listen and change my opinion if you can explain and prove why my assessment is wrong. [[ Bheem I have no practical knowledge of the game at all since I have never played any cricket. So I cannot answer anything you have asked with any clear knowledge. Maybe Tate (or for that matter who ever bowled during that time) had something extra, beyond the video clips, which helped him bowl well and finish with a good average. Maybe he bowled to the overrated Bradman, McCabe, Ponsford, Woodfull, Headley et al which helped him get that average. Maybe he was like Hadlee. He did not need consistent 140+ deliveries to get his wickets. Your campaign started with Bowes (I think). Then it went on to Voce. Somewhere it moved to Bradman. Then on to Hobbs. And then Larwood. And now Tate. Who next? Verity was no good. Hutton was worth only 45 avge. Hammond was highly over-rated. I said I would give up. I didn't. But now I really do. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on January 11, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    @shrikanthk/Bheem and, for want of a better word, (with no disrespect meant, and pun fully intended), sundry others...I present you with , what I like to refer to as, The Ananthian Manifesto.

    1) You will respect this space and all who visit it. 2) You will enter with an open mind. 3) You will contribute but accept that your knowledge is limited. 4) You will be willing to learn. 5) You will put aside prejudice.

    I don`t think that hammering one particular fixed agenda is useful for anyone. I do think that coming to a new realisation about the game/players is what we should strive for, not just try to convince others that we are right.

    I`ve been as guilty as anyone, on occasions, in my stubborn refusal to face up to clear quantitative/qualitative evidence that contradicts my beliefs. Accepting that (and recognising my own ethnocentric views on the game and those who`ve played it) has been a real eye-opener.

    This is a great site, and we should give it the respect it deserves. [[ What have I done to get so much support from an Australian English Professor living in Japan. Maybe something good in this or previous life. Dave, many thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 11, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    1) Test cricket wasn't professional when Thommo started playing. (he was certainly on a contract before test cricket was professional)

    2) Helmets were not necessary until after a few years of what he conceivably ? started. (had been in the 50's and 30's and before but wasn't an ongoing priority)

    3) There was no international short form cricket

    4) Short form cricket encourages negative bowling (no need to get them out). Thereby encourages shorter bowling.

    If Australia in summer 2011/12 had have bowled as short as previous, they may well have lost 0-4 ? - who knows ? but Pitching up is coming back...... it works against the shorter trained player. Slowing down and bowling a quicker one, is coming back. (same lack of exposure)

    Never let your wife throw that old, out of fashion dress out ! ;) lol

  • Murray Archer on January 11, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    The start of the "Pace is everything" Cult.

    When speaking of GREAT cricketers, is different to, yet hard for me not to mention Jeff Thomson.

    Usually only GREAT cricketers change the game ? I contend Thommo did !

    No-one had seen anyone that quick since Tyson and Adcock. i.e no-one playing had !

    Ok so what happened to England in '74/5 is ..... "who care's they've been trying to take advantage, threaten each other's lives etc for ever..... typical Ashes". TRUE !

    But when it happened to West Indies a few survived and regrouped. Once the regrouping was let loose with new intent ...... "let's blast them continuously" i.e let's give what Thommo and Dennis gave us PLUS be like Len Hutton with over rates.....

    The whole world wanted FAST bowlers and lots of them.... it got to be silly !

    So then the spinners moved in for the kill in wickets. lol everyone had become fast bowler oriented ;)

    The medium pacers, again are next? (Fashion) Thought Asif :( would lead, but Philander might.

  • shrikanthk on January 11, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    What is more important is how Sandham would have rated Bedser since he was nearer to Tate. Loader was clearly below both of them.

    Both bowled at roughly the same pace, but Bedser lasted longer against better batsmen. Tate started very late (in '24-25 I think). He was great for a 3-4 years, but aged quickly and by 1930 he was just a stock bowler.

    I think that was the age of the medium-pacer. Not just Tate and Bedser but also Bowes in England. Bowlers of this type will be less successful or atleast find it more difficult today because of the better bats and shorter boundaries. I think a fast bowler like Gubby Allen (though less successful than Bowes in the 30s) might do better today than a Bowes or a Tate.

  • Murray Archer on January 11, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    @ Ananth & Shri

    I have never found anyone to actually compare the difficulty of facing Bedser V Tate except Bradman. (Nourse and Brown both missed Tate and others never made Bedser :( )

    I only had 4 hours with Sandham. He was, generally not rating people, (very fine bowler .... etc) rather tried to explain the differences and similarities. What I said earlier is out of context (bad choice by me)

  • Murray Archer on January 11, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    @ Bheem

    Thanks for the film clips - great stuff :)

    Please call me Murray , maz .anything ...?

    I notice the wicket keeper in 1956 walk forward 17 (or was it 18 or 19 ?) steps to the wicket. I'll upload & post the fixed wide angle of Adelaide 1st over this year for you. ROFL !

    I never said Tate was fast. He was however very good. Do you think Hadlee once he became good was fast ?

  • shrikanthk on January 11, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    twice I have told Bheem that a video of Tendulkar's last ten dismissals, if circulated, will show a very different player than the great one that he is

    I don't know why you are getting defensive by citing Tendulkar. [[ For once, Shri, you have not got it. I used Tendulkar's video example just to say that a video could be misused. I could as well have used Sehwag or Dravid. Anyhow ehere is this word "defensive" coming in. Ananth: ]] Firstly Mr Adcock didn't do anything disgraceful in that video of ordinary quality and insufficient duration.

    All he did was pitch up a couple of deliveries as one SHOULD in a test match and was driven down the ground by top order batsmen.

  • K.V.Krishnan on January 11, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    In the earlier years, there were 4 genuine allrounders, Botham (E), Kapil Dev (I), Imran (P) & R Hadlee (NZ). Of these, both Botham and Kapil were very much better batsmen, while Hadlee was definitely a better bowler than all the others. But Imran is neither here nor there, but considered a good allrounder. I am really surprised to note Imran creeping into the World Best XV edging out Botham, whom I personally consider far better. I feel it is a travesty of justice. In the present day, there is no better allrounder than Kallis of S.Africa. In fact, no other team has any allrounder worth the name. It is my observation looking at the voting percent-age for the World Best XV. [[ I am sure there were periods in their careers when the four all-rounders went into a zone and there were periods when they were ordinary. It is quite easy to pick up a 10-Test slice during which an all-rounder would have performed at the best ever level in history. However we select the players based on their career performances. I have given below the summary of the 4 all-rounder careers.

    Player      BtAvg BwAvg Idx1  Idx 2
    Imran Khan: 37.69 22.81 1.652 14.88
    Botham:     33.55 28.40 1.181  5.15 
    Hadlee:     27.17 22.30 1.218  4.87
    Kapil Dev:  31.05 29.65 1.047  1.41
    
    Idx1 is the ratio between batting and bowling averages. Idx2 is the difference between the two averages. Imran is way ahead on both Idx values. I find it difficult to accept that Imran is not the best of the lot. He is 4 ahead of the next batting average. He is almost at par with the best bowling average. The sole point is "Could he have played as a front-line bowler". The readers have answered this by displacing my selction of Hadlee with Imran. I have no problem with this change. We should forget about the 15 matches in which Imran played as a batsman. That is an extended injury. Kallis and Sobers both have 57 and 32/34. Thsy are far better batsmen than these four but are no match as bowlers. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 11, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    Given that the 1936-37 Ashes series has received so much attention on this thread, here's a clip from an interview with Bradman which discusses the 1936-37 series.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka-Ef9N6Zfc

    Rare footage. Features a lot of the names we've been discussing - Gubby Allen, Ken Farnes, Voce, Laurie Nash, Oldfield, O'Reilly, the chinaman bowler Fleetwood Smith and ofcourse Don Bradman

    Bradman's backfoot play stands out even in this short clip. Observe the way he goes back and across to cut deliveries. There's also a pull off Allen where he neatly transfers weight from one foot to the other with no exaggerated "falling over" in the renowned Ponting fashion

    The "back and across" movement while cutting is something that is dispensed with these days thanks to heavy bats - a lot of modern batsmen prefer to swing their bats without much feet movement (Nothing wrong with that - with modern bats one can afford to do that as the odd false cut can still race away to the boundary

  • shrikanthk on January 11, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    Adcock :

    http://www.....)

    This is very amusing, Bheem. I like the way in which you link to your videos with the air of a detective. [[ Twice I have told Bheem that a video of Tendulkar's last ten dismissals, if circulated, will show a very different player than the great one that he is. Somehow he seems to persist in presenting videos and deriving conclusions. How often in the past year has Steyn been clobbered for 6s and 4s. A video of a few of these shots would make Steyn look like an ordinary trundler, not the wonderful bowler he is. Ananth: ]] That video tells you nothing about Adcock or anybody else, besides letting us know that Adcock was not a spinner! All he did was pitch up a couple of deliveries that were driven down the ground for runs. A very normal passage of test match action. It could well be a B/W clip from a test match in 2012.

    Maybe Adcock would have risen in your estimation if he was a big and dark West Indian with a drooping moustache and sinister eyes with a much longer run-up.

    Thanks for the amusement!

  • shrikanthk on January 11, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Sandham, while he was coaching Surrey, thinking Loader a much lesser bowler than Tate , similarly misguided ?

    Two very different bowlers. Loader was a fast-medium bowler. Tate was a skilled medium pacer, seldom perhaps exceeding Praveen Kumar/Trent Copeland's pace.

    Tate was great in the mid 20s, when he was renowned for the pace he made off the pitch and his prodigious movement. But by 1930 (when Bradman faced him), he was a spent force. Essentially a stock bowler.

  • Bheem on January 11, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    @Archer I will let the videos do the talking for me. Below are small glimpses of 2 bowlers in action that you speak very highly off (Tate and Adcock ). Jump to the times in brackets to save time. And I dont need any convincing about Roberts.

    Tate :

    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/cricket-highlights/query/Tate ( 06:30 ) http://www.britishpathe.com/video/first-test-match-4/query/TATE ( 01:00 )

    Adcock :

    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/the-first-test-2/query/Adcock ( 00:25 )

    I hope you see why I generally dont take words as proof.

  • shrikanthk on January 11, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    Does his being (Oh shit !) scared, at 21yo against Adcock and uncomfortable, (very fast) at 42yo against Roberts, Croft and Garner, count as proof that there were FAST aggressive bowlers before the 1970's ?

    There were always fast bowlers. But what makes the post 70s bowlers a bit different is that their lengths were definitely shorter than those of the 30s/40s/50s/60s.

    For all we know Roberts were probably not faster than Trueman at his fastest. But perhaps more fearsome because his lengths were consistently shorter than Trueman's. It was this shortening of lengths starting with the 70s that eventually necessitated the "Helmet".r

  • Murray Archer on January 10, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    Bobby Simpson re: fast bowlers amusingly said 3 types; fast, very fast and Oh Shit !

    Does his being (Oh shit !) scared, at 21yo against Adcock and uncomfortable, (very fast) at 42yo against Roberts, Croft and Garner, count as proof that there were FAST aggressive bowlers before the 1970's ?

    Maybe the WI boys were being kind to Bobby (the opposition skipper) in his old age ? ROFL Bobby was also Thomson's captain when he came back - was Thommo holding back in the nets ?

    Maybe when becoming coach and constantly suggesting the players were gutless, and wouldn't work, Simmo didn't understand how much cricket had improved since '50s in the late 1980's ?

    Sandham, while he was coaching Surrey, thinking Loader a much lesser bowler than Tate , similarly misguided ? [[ What is more important is how Sandham would have rated Bedser since he was nearer to Tate. Loader was clearly below both of them. Ananth: ]] I'm certain they weren't mislead by ANYTHING that had been written !

  • Murray Archer on January 10, 2013, 20:57 GMT

    @ Ariz khan

    Yes sir, you got what I meant correctly. ("made" probably too strong) In that post I was picking a XV that got no votes in this exercise. My picking is faulty for certain, yet Vaas was best left hand seamer I can find not mentioned (in front of Hirst and Barlow in my mind).

    My (unprovable) theory is that people only played at McGrath outside offstump because they felt a need to score before they got an "unplayable" from the other end. (guessing 200 wickets worth)

    @ Bheem

    I can't even prove to you that Andy Roberts was fearsome (the bruises went long ago :) - although the depressed skull fracture in my brother in law's forehead still gives me a laugh). I personally know Roberts was fearsome though.

    My only disappointment with what you have been saying, is that I also know that some who played since war 2 were also exceptionally good. (getting flogged by Harvey when he was 50 etc, same season as battered by Roberts). I understand you will not think this proof.

  • shrikanthk on January 10, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    the clip didn't really look too pretty and hence an eye opener

    It is never about how pretty you look. It's about how effective you are. Any "drive" should ideally be executed by getting to the pitch of the ball. The demonstrated "drive" of the 44 year old Hobbs in that video meets that criteria. He does get very close to the pitch of the ball instead of staying rooted at the crease and attempting to drive on the rise the way Sehwag does quite often.

    And I don't know why you squirmed at his cut shot. That's classic back-foot play. You move back and across and cut the ball by getting beside its line. Ofcourse you may choose to be more "stately" by staying put at your crease and playing an airy cut with no feet movement (the way Ganguly executed his cuts). But that's not likely to work out well as often as Hobbs' approach.

  • Bheem on January 10, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    @ananth ""You have never ackd any of these numbers presented giving the impression that the video clips mean more.""

    That is true and I have my reasons. The primary one being that you will not like what I say and unlike other posters on your blog I will go the extra yard to back up what I say as you can see in how I made my case for the 270. [[ On the contrary I also presented enough information to justify the high rating of 270. You asked for the PQI and I gave you (somewhere right in the middle). Ananth: ]] That said Iam not inflexible. I come with a open mind and Iam capable of completely removing emotion out of the way while dissecting a topic threadbare. But this mind needs a bit more than numbers and words to incorporate any cricketing gyan into its DB. Believe me I say this as someone who has done a bit of cricket stats. I also know it is a thankless job. [[ Let me also say that I am not just a number freak. Pl read a response to Murray. You are always welcome to post your comments. However single agendas rarely work well. I am sure there is another side of you which we cannot all see. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on January 10, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    @Anantha - Absolutely love your passion.. keep going Sir. @Shri - Regarding "evolving technique" - probably I can clarify myself with an example. In the modern T20 scenario, there are many players who get their front foot out of the way (instead of in-line) to play over the leg side. When 70 years down the line people look back on a footage of SRT or Lara they would obviously spot the difference (i.e. the foot coming in line rather than taken away) and it might look odd. Just an example to try and explain my previous remark. Regarding demonstrated clips - The very fact that this was an "intentional" demonstrated clip would suggest that this would be close to perfection (as per perfection of those days). As you rightly said even you (or anyone) can look pretty by such demonstrated clips - point is, the clip didn't really look too pretty and hence an eye opener. With 197 FC 100s there is no doubting his ability or talent - the comment was more around the perception of old clips

  • Bheem on January 10, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    @Ananth -Unfortuntely this is his mission and he has contributed nothing positive, despite being such a knowledgeable person. Thanks for the kind words. but what is so unfortunate in calling a Spade as a Spade ? Has anybody here found any inaccuracies or errors in what I say ? Surely you don't expect me to simply take words of posters at face value do you ? [[ The point, Bheem, is to acknowledge the analytical conclusions presented (Bowling Quality Faced Index, PQI etc) and understand that maybe the differences are not as much as you might have perceived. And objective factors should prevail over subjective factors. If I say that Bradman''s average BQFI is 35.9, you should be able to realize that this is only about 6% worse than, say, Tendulkar's. At the same time Hammond's BQFI of 43 should convince you that these values are correctly computed. You may not take the subjective comments of posters at face value but at least take the objective analytical conclusions more seriously. You have never acknowledged any of these numbers presented giving the impression that the video clips mean more. Even on this, there is a youtube video of Tendulkar's last 10 dismissals. It makes a horror movie. 10 years from now someone should not post this video and say negative things. A spade may be a spade but that subjective generic statement should not be used to draw broad-based overall conclusions. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 10, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    The video of Jack Hobbs was an eye opener

    How is it an eye-opener? Since when did we start making either positive or negative comments based on demonstrated clips?

    If I were to do a demonstration in my washroom, I can make sure I look very pretty and very "correct" so that fans watching that washroom clip 50 years hence will judge "shrikanthk" to be a very fine technician.

    And I don't get this whole "technique" evolution thing. If you are not doing the basic things right, you will be found out in any era. Not every tom, dick and harry averaged even 40 in FC cricket even in the 1920s (leave alone test cricket) People playing this game 70 years ago were also "Homo sapiens" with the same 206 bones in their body. Not aliens with different body constitutions.

    And here you're talking about a man who scored 197 first class hundreds, played in over 800 FC games and was a feature on English cricket grounds from early 1900s till 1934

  • Ariz khan on January 10, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    "Chaminda Vaas (unlike McGrath, he made his spinner not was made by ?)" Lol Murray Correct me if I got it wrong Vaas made Murali Warne made McGrath

  • Aniruddha on January 9, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    @Bheem - The video of Jack Hobbs was an eye opener - Not just the cover drive, even the back foot square cut (with the right leg moving towards point). To put it in perspective the game has evolved and so too the "technique". As someone rightly pointed out - majority (not all) of the greats would have adapted their game if they had played in any of the other eras. @Shr1 - One reason (for anti Bradmanism) could be Ananth's insistence that he be chosen by default (excluding him with reasoning not withstanding). This forum commends itself (and rightly so) for being knowledgeable so probably this forcing of the hand might have ruffled a few feathers. Another way of looking at it is that it can be equated to similar sentiments for SRT. The fact that these two were exemplary (no tampering, abusing, fixing, etc) might have forced people to find other (non-existent) faults in them. Maybe some get off the hook by having some -ve (discuss able) qualities as seen during BBL last week. [[ Aniruddha You are only partly right. I only told that if a reader did not select Bradman, he should specidically confirm this to me in a second comment and stand by their decision. Paul Sime did this and his selection is there. There was a reader who sent his entry within 15 minutes of publication of the article and his selection did not contain Bradman. I am 99% certain it was an oversight. Since then he has never responded to my requests for confirmation. I wanted to avoid such clear mistakes. People did not select for their own reasons. Shri could have selected an all-time XV if he wanted to. He chose to select his three era-based XVs and stay out. Rizwan insiated that he would only select a XV excluding my selections. I could not accept this. Much as I would have liked their XVs, I respect them for their stand. Bheem's posts have nothing to do with this suggestion, I repeat, suggestion. They stem from a deep-rooted conviction that the cricketers before 1950 were grossly lacking in skills and would have been no match to the current and recent generation players. Unfortuntely this is his mission and he has contributed nothing positive, despite being such a knowledgeable person. So in no way are my instructions responsible. If I ever get a Tennis team selected I would elevate Federer to such a position. If I ever get a Football team selected I would elevate Pele to such a position. If I ever get an Athletics team selected I would elevate Bolt to such a position. If I ever get a Golf team selected I would elevate Nicklaus to such a position. If I ever get a Baseball team selected I would elevate Jordan to such a position. I see nothing wrong. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 9, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Just a quick XV that didn't even get a vote. There are many more no doubt just as good. If I weren't so past realising, almost amazing that so many need to be left out when the first 119 aren't available.

    Bill Posford ( the n left out in respect of me always missing n's) Eddie Barlow (what a player !) Saeed Anwar ( tough call over Bert Sutcliffe, but this guy really looked the goods to me - except for his fielding lol)

    Clem Hill Dudley Nourse Martin Crowe Frank Woolley ( Leyland ? idk ? - but will go with DGB's take + bowling)

    Farouk Engineer (tough call on Oldfield and a few others - yet worthy !)

    Aubrey Faulkner (incredible he missed a vote? ) Chaminda Vaas (unlike McGrath, he made his spinner not was made by ?) Craig McDermott (maybe not this high batting after he got the scares) Athol Rowan (a favourite from lore and damned good !) John Snow (wow !) Sonny Ramadhin Neil Adcock ( I am disappointed no-one joined my RIP - this guy was a seriously fast and quality bowler)

  • Murray Archer on January 9, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    @ Ananth

    lol and sad to hear - but me too !

    The fielding of Bill Brown inspired such efforts ! (pre-war stuff) I can remember as a kid watching a OMG HOME MOVIE (no such thing) of Bill in his backyard and hearing "look at that! he even gardens elegantly" lol

  • Murray Archer on January 9, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    @ Shri

    Re: out fielding improvement ?

    In my Grandmother's back yard there was a 3"x 3" beam holding the clothes line.

    The game was to throw at the post from about 25-30 yards with a tennis ball and regather the rebound throwing in same motion again. If you missed, had to run about 200 yards down the slope to go get the ball. Your score was consecutive hits.

    I played this game for about 8 years and my record was 36. After that I played baseball shortstop, next to Border at 2nd base for a few years. I swear NO-ONE thought he threw near as well.

    My Grandmother told me Ron gave up after he'd got 200 once & my father's record was 2,342. (As a Uni student he used to relax once getting home, with a quick 200 before hitting the books.)

    Dad's idol was Bill Brown. The idea of the game was to field like Bill.

    Apart from poor fieldsmen fielding less poorly, I think fielding standards have gone downhill sharply. Less athletes !

    One rarely not unnecessarily leaving feet, sure surprised Cowan [[ Currently I would lob the ball, miss the post, trudge downhill, come up and after 5 attempts, run out through the nearest exit. That was one tough fielding drill. To see Sehwag field now in slips, your grandpa would be turning in his resting place, if I can assume that he is setting up such drills in the Elysian fields. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 9, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    @ Shri

    I totally agree. We two garner our information by different methods. Anath by another yet. The biggest gain in this blog for me by far, is that Anath can get stuff from just scorecards, that doesn't vary at all significantly from your careful cross readings, or my interviews. That is very impressive ! I would have previously thought it to be impossible !

    Imagine how many hours we could have saved (discounting the pleasure of so doing) if we'd all had Anath's stuff many years ago ? Anath's conclusions are extraordinarily close to how I see things (strongly suspect yours too ?) and I expect will get closer and closer (there lol must be some reason for him to encourage us other than pity and self harm ;) ) ?

    PS my first section of rave about athleticism dropping off, I posted on the wrong blog :( [[ Murray, you are very kind and have made my week. If only you can remember to add a 'n' to my name, the happiness would be complete. These are wonderful words to hear. Let me also say that I have two sides. A tough number-based, no-nonsense mind-driven one and a heart-driven side which can appreciate the great game, personnel and writing. The former side would analyze Ponting's career dispassionately to see whether it is time to do an article on him. The later side would make my eyes go moist when I see Hussey walking off. I can also appreciate great cricket writing. The best writing I have encountered is by Ray Robinson when he writes about McCabe's three unforgettable innings. Again, time for the eyes to do their job. Once again, many thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 9, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    My concern is why all the scepticism gets directed at Bradman's generation for no rhyme or reason.

    History suggests that bowling and fielding standards of the late 60s/early 70s around the world were no better that what prevailed before the War. Yet, you don't see attempts made to pull down the averages of Cowdreys, Mays, Ian Chappells and Graeme Pollocks of this world.

    Regarding fielding : Whatever improvement we've seen in outfielding is of very recent origination (post Packer era). Fielding in test matches of the 60s/early 70s was arguably no better than what prevailed before the War.

    "Weak" attacks have flourished in test cricket around the world even post 70s. The English attacks of the late 80s/90s plundered repeatedly by West Indian and Australian teams were pretty poor by any standards.

    Defraitas/Dominic Cork/Tufnell/Chris Lewis : Give me any of the 30s English attacks any day over this lot! [[ I could not get the exact bowling attack you have given. I got a better one. DeFreitas, Lewis, Pringle, Illingworth, Gooch. The bowling quality of this is a woeful 43. Richardson's 104 would have a true value of 70. Ananth: ]] And not all "modern" greats averaged 100 against this attack in the 90s. [[ Shri The problem is that I don't think Bheem has been part of the discussions on numerous analysis done in the past wherein I have analyzed batsmen figures against different types of bowling attacks and on different types of pitches. What I did last year on Easy, Middle and Difficult runs was a great eye-opener. The batsmen of every era have their share of Easy runs and Difficult runs. Many moderns have tallied over 3000 runs against the weaker bowling attacks. The final word on this must be my most cherished Bowling Quality faced index. For those who do not know of this the formula is Runs scored x Opposition bowling average for innings ------------------------------------------------------------------- Career Runs scored. Since the Opposition bowling is based on actual bowling and career-todate averages, it is almost perfect. I have given below a few important BQF index values. Tendulkar: 34.45 Ponting: 34.70 Lara: 32.01 Gavaskar: 34.17 Jayawardene: 36.30 Gooch: 30.54 Richards: 32.66 Gower: 32.22 Hammond: 43.86 Cook: 35.43 Bradman: 35.95 Barrington: 35.94 So it is clear that many of the past era batsmen have faced weaker bowling attacks. But not to the level portrayed. The difference is of the order of 5-6%. The only exceptions are batsman like Gooch, who has almost always faced top attacks and Hammond who seems to have got many cheap runs. His 600 runs against New Zealand were off the worst bowling attack in history. The modern greats are also around the 34 mark indicating that there were many average bowling attacks around. The value of this index is further enhanced when we see Jayawardene's value. Everyone knows that both Jaya and Sanga got tons of runs off the weaker Bng attacks. I get the idea that a value such as the one given below is an excellent method to settle this issue. Adjusted avge=Actual avge*Overall bowling average/BQF. Bradman's might come down by about 5-6%. Gooch's might go up by 7-8% and so on. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 9, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    He never had to face technique busters comparable to the great fast bowlers post 70s.

    Well, you talk as if the batsmen post 70s were facing 90mph+ bowlers all the time day in and day out!

    The bottomline is that most attacks around the world in most eras are average. Evaluation is always at an aggregate level based on career stats. If performance against "best" is the major criteria, Wasim Raja should go down as one of the greatest batsmen of all time!

    Gavaskar also faced several very "average" attacks in his career. Eg : The 1971 WI attack with Sobers, Noreiga and Shillingford was definitely worse than most English attacks of the 30s.

    Even the 1976 attack (in Port of Spain) against which India won a test was a pretty ordinary attack (worse than the 30s English attacks, barring a raw Holding).

    The Indian attacks on 2011 English tour (after Zaheer's injury) against which Bell/Cook plundered runs was also worse than 30s English attacks.

    I can go on and on.

  • Ravi on January 9, 2013, 0:11 GMT

    Bheem et al, Here is an anecdote about Bradman from Tendulkar.

    "We went to see him on his 90th birthday. We were talking about averages and I said, 'Sir Don, if you were playing today, what would you have averaged?' And he said, '70 - probably.' I asked, 'Why 70 and not your actual average of 99?' Bradman said, 'Come on, an average of 70 is not bad for a 90-year-old man".

    Also let us not bring in analyses/criticisms of individuals in this Test XV Team article. [[ Ravi This story has also been attributed to a few others. So I am quite unsure about the authenticity. Makes a good read and probably a tongue-in-cheek comment. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 8, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    ....

    Natural athletes show out most clearly in the field. Our current side fields pretty badly. Warner seems an athlete, Clarke not too bad, Johnson stands out a bit - someone who can actually throw.

    Were are the AB De Villiers types of this lot ?

    How many sports would Phil Hughes, Ed Cowan, or Nathan Lyon excell at ? Siddle could of course go back to woodchopping.... Watson ?

    Now I know that coaching is supposed to improve players and will marginally. It could assist Steve Smith or Glenn Maxwell to bat or bowl better. It just can't make athletes out of people who never were or will be.

    I think if you took an Aust touring 17 of early 50's, V's whatever we are about take to India. The average time for 100 metre sprint would be about a second slower today. Improvement due to coaching and professional approach ? Meanwhile the athletes are running faster.

    Of all the myths about standards increasing, the one about fielding I find the most amazing.

  • Murray Archer on January 8, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    @ Bheem "Ever see any bowler from the Bradman Era make the final cut of any XI's here"

    Yes O'Rielly made a few. Would have been more except that Barnes (from pre WWI) was similar. (If no Warne; O'Rielly or Kumble would probably be in most XI's ?) Bedser and Lindwall should also be considered exceptionally unlucky not to have gotten more votes.

    Sentimentality has seemed to be a part of selections here. (was in mine). Sentimentality was based on Era. How to pick a side not overloaded with players from England, Australia, and Sth Africa, when they'd played for so much longer ? (good chance there'd be more old timers in our VX's if we weren't sentimental).

    I wonder if Laver had won say 24 grand slam tennis tournaments, you'd still think Federer better ?

  • Ravi on January 8, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    Logically, one should choose more batsmen who had succeeded in this period (we have 4 from this period and 3 from other periods leaving out Gilchrist) and pre-WW1 and more bowlers from the period between the world wars when batting was supposedly at its best. What could explain this?

  • Ravi on January 8, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    Remember the quote from Sydney Barnes when asked about Bradman's opinion that O'Reilly was a better bowler because he bowled a better googly ('I never had to use them'), Barnes had worked out his percentage for his period (did not have to rely on the googly) and would have worked it out for any other period as well. The same goes for Bradman or Gavaskar or Marshall or Murali or the rest. - The period between 1970 to 2000(or 2005) was without doubt a golden period for bowlers of all types. It had the best practitioners of every form - swing, seam, raw pace, leg spin, off spin, left arm, right arm - you name it and you had it. Unlike batting, where many names like Grace, Trumper, Ranji, Hobbs, Headley, Bradman and others from a different era come into contention when doing such exercises, the bowlers considered by most (barring maybe Barnes) come from this period. In this exercise all bowlers selected are from this period. Is that contra-indicative? ...(cont)

  • Ravi on January 8, 2013, 15:54 GMT

    It may sound like percentage cricket or percentage shots as they call in tennis but every player has worked this out for themselves, only the percentages are higher and options varied for the best as compared to the good and the rest. - If we can magically teleport any of the best of any era into another era, most of them will adapt, survive and thrive in that order as much as they did in their own era; obviously some will not. Though theoretical, is there any like that amongst these 15 selected who may fail to adapt? I may be wrong (and there is no way to prove it otherwise as well), the only possibility I see is Mcgrath. In my view, he may not have been as successful if he had played in the pre-90s era but this is my view. In the time in which he played, he was amongst the best which means he had worked out his percentages and would have worked out a different percentage for a different set of conditions. ...(cont)

  • Ravi on January 8, 2013, 15:52 GMT

    - Given this variety and the possibilities thereof, what sets apart great players are aspects like adaptability, temperament, concentration, reading of the situation/ conditions, the motivation and then play accordingly and succeed. Their basic skill, whether batting or bowling is only the foundation and that alone will not bring success. The game has evolved over time with aspects like overarm bowling, googly/ chinaman, backfoot strokes, lofted shots, behind the wicket shots (glance, upper cut), shortpitched bowling, doosra, rule changes (lbw, no ball), tactics (bodyline, declaration), training methods, fitness, fielding, catching, covered/ uncovered pitches, protective gear for batsmen and many such presenting challenges to both batsmen and bowlers. The best have adpated to all of these over time with the game being what it is today. The best work out what works for them within the given conditions and stick to it most of the time to be successful.

    ...(cont)

  • Ravi on January 8, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Without getting into the individual innings or player related discussion happening and keeping it at a general level, in my view,

    - Cricket is a very limited international game with only a handful of countries playing it at the highest level. However, within this limited set of countries, what sets it apart from other games is that though there is a common set of rules for the game, the conditions in which the game is played allows a variety of situations to emerge within a day, match or series. Most outdoor games last a maximum of 90 minutes, in cricket, a completed team innings can last 90 minutes or 900 minutes.

    ...(cont)

  • Bheem on January 8, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    @delmeister "I have a little more sympathy with yr line of thinking than many here,but pls consider the above carefully"

    well that depends on the quality of bowling isnt it? Ever see any bowler from the Bradman Era make the final cut of any XI's here?

    @Ramesh I never spoke about Bradmans Technique. He never had to face technique busters comparable to the great fast bowlers post 70s. Not his mistake I totally agree. But as I said before if you want to embark on an cold and impartial assessment of Batting skills you should first and foremost consider the class of Bowling the batsman has had to contend. This is the basic crux of my point which is grounded on a very simple and common cricketing knowledge i.e better the bowling harder it is to score. If you ignore this fundamental aspect of cricket Bradman gets an unfair advantage. [[ Bheem First, the Pitch plays an equally important part in determining how batsmen bat. Not just the bowlers. I am going to make a last response. Afterwards I will keep quiet. As I have already mentioned, you have to let go. The whole argument is going nowhere. It is counter-productive. We have had hundreds of arguments on the player numbers and how these would stack up against other numbers from across eras. How would Tendulkar have managed without helmets. How would Lara have batted against real fast bowling. How would Gavaskar have handled the body-line attack. How would Bradman have taken care of the restrictive run-denying fields of the 60/70s. How would Sobers have played against the minnows and so on. After lot of comments going back and forth, at times quite strong, we all, because of our knowledge of the game and a built-in pragmatism, come to the conclusion that A GREAT PLAYER OF ANY ERA WOULD HAVE ADJUSTED HIS GAME TO BE WITHIN 10% OF HIS ACTUAL NUMBERS. Or something like that. That is the truth and common sense conclusion. It is possible that one of the top moderns, if he had played in the 1930s might have averaged around 60. It is possible that Bradman would not have averaged 100 if he had played today. The consensus was around 80-85. Seems eminently fair to me. It is possible that Barnes might have averaged 20 today. Maybe Underwood, in the 1900s, might have averaged around 21. I am sure most of the readers would agree with me. I do not know your views on this. But it is essential that you adopt to this view in this blogspace. That is the only way to put a closure and move forward. I would love to hear your views on totally different matters. Your comments are made from a good knowledge base and let us get the benefit of the same. Ananth: ]] @shri totally agree about not mixing eras. But I was talking about people actually writing against older era players not just voting.

  • delmeister on January 8, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Now here is a delicious thought to take up Shri's point about Bradman's average- could any 1st class,even Test batsman be ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEED to make a hundred (then retire) every single innings v current XIs of his old school and their regular opponents? Not quite same as averaging virtually 100 overall, but you get my point?

    @ Bheem- I have a little more sympathy with yr line of thinking than many here, but please consider the above carefully...

    Ananth- thanks again, you are so right about that, at least after the depression fades. Yr 'reward' lol kind sir is for me to select an XI of those you left out of yr original XV. Would be interesting match (I told you I was addicted to selecting these!):-

    Hutton,B.Richards,Grace,Headley,Pollock,Botham,Imran(cpt),Knott(wkt),Lillee,Barnes,O'Reilly

    Considered Verity too as Bradman had HUGE respect,saying he had no breaking point,and difficult for Don to get down pitch to him

  • Ramesh Kumar on January 8, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    Bheem has bowled a beamer and we have an avalanche of comments.

    Bheem..While some of your points arguably can be valid, you need to respect the fact that Bradman has got a huge lead over others of any era in Cricket. Batting is not just technique. You need one ball or one mistake to get out and to survive that and create an average with such a large gap over others speak volume about other parameters which govern high run scoring. He may not be a 99.94 player (no evidence to say it either), but still will be first among equals. You need to let go this one as we will end up pulling down all great players. [[ Just a silly tweak. Pull down Bradman's average by 25% because ....... Pull up, say, XYZ's (could be anyone in the 55 range) average by 25% because ....... We get Bradman: 75 and XYZ: 70. There we rest the case. Ananth: ]] Ananth…the issue with innings rating based on outcome is not on the methodology. It is on the inference we derive from it. It does not stop with innings rating, people take it to conclude greatness of players. I’d like to remember the gems which you highlight and not conclude that Hill was the 2nd greatest player. [[ Ramesh, that was exactly the problem I had in 2001. People confused the Innings ratings with Player ratings. There is no doubt that the two greatest losing innings were played by Astle and Asif Iqbal. At no stage do I expect these two to go out of the top-20. But these two were not, by any stretch of imagination, great players. Azhar Mahmood, a run-of-the-mill all-rounder, plays one all-time great innings, again a top-20 effort. We have to say that these are the Warholian "15 minutes of fame" for these, otherwise ordinary, cricketers. Accept and give them the credit for these innings. Maybe Bradman or Lara or Richards or Ponting or SRT might have many such "15 minutes". That is what makes them great. That they performed at a very high level for many years. But they need not also produce the best single efforts. Ananth: ]]

  • delmeister on January 8, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Ananth- Thank you very much for yr kind words. A really nasty, awkward injury that not only restricts my guitar playing in new band (tho to be fair fact that am mainly limited to my favourite style of power chord playing is no hardship to me!), but much worse is can't reach upwards enough to change lightbulbs etc.My huge sympathies to you for yr similar struggles... [[ Del, I am probably quite a few years older than you and will take some more time to come back to 90% (100% - the doctor laughs). Just now started driving. Luckily last year we bought one with Automatic transmission and that has proved to be a great boon. Take care and all the best. Hope your musical notes start flowing soon. As I did with my 1400 comments, smack in the middle of my recovery period, for the brace of Test XV articles, nothing will come in the way of doing what you like. Ananth: ]] MURRAY- thanks a lot.Tho I have contributed little this yr to easily my favourite internet blog, I have read yr recent superb posts with great interest. Always great when someone combines blatantly huge knowledge with such a readiness for humour :) Actually, I got the eras wrong with those teams. Should have been:-

    pre WW1 Grace,Trumper,Hill,Ranji,FS.Jackson,Faulkner,Rhodes,Blackham(wkt),Lockwood,Barnes,Richardson

    1920-1970 Hobbs,Hutton,Bradman(cpt),Headley,Hammond,Sobers,Miller,Evans(wkt),Lindwall,Trueman,O'Reilly

    You have my post 1970 line up already :)

  • shrikanthk on January 8, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    I rate Len Hutton very, very highly.

    Wasp: One simple test is to ask people who have seen both Hutton and Hobbs at their peak. Yes, some people may be sentimental and talk up the older player. But generally people are fairly reasonable in their assessments, albeit touched with a bit of sentiment.

    I have NOT heard even a single player who saw both claim that Hutton was the better player!

    Similarly I have not heard anyone claim Sutcliffe was better than Hobbs. (though he was probably more conservative and compact than Hobbs)

    So I have no hesitation with these equations. Hobbs gt Hutton Gavaskar gt Hutton Hutton bt Sutcliffe

    Hobbs vs Gavaskar (no idea - though I'd have both in my XV) [[ Hobbs = Gavaskar Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 8, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    Delmeister : Good teams. Though I had defined the eras a tad differently.

    I believe cricket post WWI was vastly different to what was played before the War.

    So I'd club the inter-war years with the post WWII years. 3 eras : Pre WWI 1920-1970 Post 1970

  • shrikanthk on January 8, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    And no I dont think bodyline compares anywhere to what Roberts, Holding, Croft, Garner, Marshall etc etc dish out

    At no point has Ananth or any of the other regulars here said that Bodyline attack was as good as the WI attack of the 1980s! [[ The BQI for West Indies Test # 999 First Inns vs Australia was 20.1, almost the best ever. The BQI for England Test # 999 First Inns vs Australia was 32.1, nowhere near any of the 1980s values for that matter the 1950s values. But let us not compare this 32-level attack with the 32-leval attack of India-2005 (Pathan, Sreesanth, Patel, Kumble and Harbhajan). Ananth: ]] Glad to see that on a blog where posters are overwhelmingly biased towards anything that is from the older era.

    Not at all. Most regulars here picked All time XVs where atleast 8-9 players were post-1970 players. I, for one, refused to pick an all-time XV because I believe conditions have changed too drastically over the years for us to make valid comparisons. Instead I picked 3 teams - Pre WWI, 1920-1970, Post 1970.

    Also most of us here are avid watchers of the game that goes on these days and completely abreast with each test match that gets played. Not the sort who switch off the television saying "things were better in my day".

    Lastly a lot of us are very young. I'm probably the youngest of the lot. Just 28.

  • Murray Archer on January 8, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    @ Dale

    I hadn't actually heard of it at all. It doesn't surprise me in the least. lol Thommo'd probably said something silly like I think the skipper plays well at his age ;)

    It was 11 years later, (at 81) when Bradman last played a par round of golf.

    @ delmeister

    Lovely stuff and I very much like your 3 era teams :)

  • Murray Archer on January 7, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    RIP Neil Adcock.

    Bobby Simpson, Ali Bacher ..... many, reckoned he was the fastest bowler they ever faced.

  • Bheem on January 7, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    @ananth where does the 270 rank as far as the pitch index is concerned? How many points did it get for that criteria. It will be great if you post a list with breakdown for each criteria(or atleast the main ones). [[ Not now, Bheem. It will be done as and when I do my revised Ratings work. But just for information the PQI for match no 257 is 0.963. This index ranges from 0.319 (Match # 216: Saf 36 ao, Aus 153 ao, Saf 45 ao) to 2.793 (Match # 418:nzl 450/2, Ind 531/7, Nzl 112/1). It is around the middle, 978th amongst the 2000+ Tests played. So it is neither a batting paradise nor a nightmare pitch, something right in between. Very fair index indicating the overall nature. 1.0 indicates a middling pitch. 0.97 is the median. But let me add, this is today's value. Not what was used in my original program. There have been about 20 changes to this parameter. My suggestion is for you to let go. It is becoming counter-productive and time consuming for me. Ananth: ]] @ananth/@boll ohh come on ... do you really think people here will not throw a hissy fit if anyone were to argue in favor of Amla et.al over Ranji et.al and not merely vote ? just look at the indignant responses that Iam attracting when I post video of Jack Hobbs that shows him playing.

    "Bheem also conveniently ignores body-line" No I did not(See 7:24AM post). But do tell why Larwood never played a single test after that series. Also tell how many tests in which BL was truly employed. And no I dont think bodyline compares anywhere to what Roberts, Holding, Croft, Garner, Marshall etc etc dish out. And I can actually back that with hard evidence and not un-verifiable stories along the lines of "he-said she-said".Somehow I just don't think people here will like that

  • Murray Archer on January 7, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Huge smiles to Dinesh :) ( and your brother)

    Boll ... your attitude is so familiar and comfortable, *nod. Keep playing mate ;)

  • Boll on January 7, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    @Bheem, again your comment that this is `a blog where posters are overwhelmingly biased towards anything that is from the older era` has absolutely no basis in fact - if you look at the recently selected XV/XXX, you`ll see that 25 of the 30 played test cricket after 1970. If anything I think most of us felt that pre-1970s players were a little hard done by. [[ Tayfield, Ranji, May, Morris, Hanif, McCabe, Gupte, Fazal got 1 vote each. Amla, Shakib, Bond, Haynes, Lloyd, Akhtar got more votes. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on January 7, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    @Bheem. You continue to astonish and annoy - according to you bowlers pre-1970 were unable to set-up batsmen, bowl pace, pitch the ball short or bowl accurately; fielders were neither sharp nor captains astute... Larwood was average...and of course Bradman was, well, a bloke with a ropey technique who scored a few runs against the local clergy.

    And of course for the 100 plus years pre-1970 cricket was a gentleman`s game played for leisure. [[ Bheem also conveniently ignores body-line. Half the balls pitched short with the specific intention of causing bodily harm or give a catch to one of the 5 leg side fielders. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on January 7, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    I think the innings which were played before the Advent of live coverage are at a disadvantage as very few people know about those which were played in pre-1975 days.I am one of them.

    Ananth: Thanks a lot for showing those innings. I seem to have missed a lot.

    I have introduced made my brother to the blog and now he is kind of getting addicted to it.

    PS: Fortunately or unfortunately this article seems to be on fire.

  • Dinesh on January 7, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Contd..

    Coming to Knott's innings, i think his 81 was a better innings than 106 as it had absolutly no supprt compared to the latter one.

    Re:" The problem, Dinesh, is that the 136 has single-handedly dissuaded me from proceeding further in the re-do of this huge exercise."

    I personally rate his 122 vs England on a higher plane than 136. 122 might have been scored against a not so good attack but with absolutely no support. for 136 he had at least Mongia. People pitch the 136 is because a 4th innings one, the theater that is IND vs PAK, great bowling attack and a lack of alternative for India in 1990's other than Tendulkar.

    All this made people sit up and take notice. [[ And while you are it, Dinesh, I am sure you would remember the importance of Tendulkar's 105* against Bangladesh. I would rate it as one of his three best innings. India would have lost that Test certainly but for this classic. There is a tendency to bypass such innings but how important was it in the match context. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on January 7, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    "Just for fun, please go through the 10 losing innings I have pointed out."

    I did go through some of them yesterday night and read some articles on them. Astle 222: I had seen Astle's Innings before,and we have videos on YouTube as well. That was one hell of an innings. He played with utter disdain and dint give a damn to any bowler.Hair raising stuff i all i can say.

    Asif Iqbal -146: What was that. That scorecard just blew me away. I was stunned by that. My younger brother passed by when i was checking the scorecard and he said "Pagal hogaya hai kya jo 60's ka scorecard check kar raha hai.koi kaam dhandha nahin hai kya tereko". Then i showed him the scorecard and he was just stunned and just stood there and then took away the lappy and started searching for its videos.We both cursed like anything for the lack of videos, but did read about that innings. Outstanding. [[ Dinesh, that is what I was telling. Some of the unknown and unseen gems are far better than the known ones. Pl look for Hill's 188 and Azhar's 132 also. Ananth: ]] Contd....

  • Ananth on January 7, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    First, apologies for the delay in publishing the comments. Dinesh/Bheem Currently I allot x points for the winning team, .5x for the drawing team, 0 pts for the losing team and allocate this between the 22 players, based on their respective batting and bowling rating points. However I have been thinking about this for some time. This seems to me to be a winner-takes-all concept. So I have been working on tweaking this, as follows. Have, say, 100 points for the match. Allocate this between the teams based on the Team Index value for the match. And then do the player allocation. Thus a big win team may get 80+ and the other team, 20-. A close win team might get 65-70 and the other, 35-30. The draw will vary between 60-40 (one team escaping bnarrowly) to 50-50. This will be based on the Team Index value which I explained in detail at the end of the 2010 England-India series. If you go through the 2012 review this is also referred to there. But more about this later.

  • Murray Archer on January 7, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    "Practically everything in bowling barring reverse swing and doosra were prevalent in the 30s."

    It's just a hunch, but I think, JB King was bowling reverse sometimes ?

    The real big difference was no ball changes. Also a seam raised far less than today. I don't remember when the getting a new ball in same innings started ?

    Some of those 1890 - 1914 bowlers were likely to cut everyone up totally if they'd got a second cherry ? Imagine if they'd had the 1948 tour rules ?

    and yes Bheem, they're all questions.

    To compare Dale Steyn - (a hider from responsibility {maybe it's Smith not him ?}, and glory merchant- is my personal take.) to Miller is fair enough. (same)

    To compare Steyn to Farnes, Larwood, Lindwall is .... well *cough..... at least you asked also about Donald :). Good quickie Donald ! When a side with Donald (or any very good bowler) were getting hammered he'd pester his skipper for the ball..... ever seen Steyn do that ? ( he was digging holes in Bris and Adl to hide )

  • Murray Archer on January 7, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    "Even if you make Tendulkar face Bangladesh at Chittagong repeatedly for 20 years (and face no other team), I don't think I'd back him to average over 70. Or for that matter Richards/Ponting/Lara/Sobers/Hammond/Hobbs/Grace/you name it."

    lol - very amusing :)

    Personally though, I'd have a few $ on Lara, Ponsford, S. Waugh, and of course Bradman.

    The rest would get too distracted ?

    .... long shot's to bet on might be.... Hayden and Hick ? Maybe Barry Richards too... he had run hunger ;) ROFL Stuart Law or Jamie Siddons at 150+/1 probably WOULD average 70 ;)

    Distraction maybe like ..... ?

    Tendulkar ...I'm tired and need a rest Richards ... I've made my mark and reduced them Ponting ....will we win for sure? Sobers ....this is boring Hammond ....I'll beat Don yet ! Hobbs........your turn Grace.... is this the IPL ? If not who's paying me ? Lead me to that man, NOW !

    lol - cricket's a great game. Always has been. Hopefully not too much worse lately :).

  • B.C.G. on January 7, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @Ananth-Going through your top 100 innings;I was surprised to see Lara's 375 ranked so highly.It seems the Indian (aka Mumbai) media went berserk at this;they stated Sachin's 136 was in the 4th innings against Wasim,Waqar,Saqlain,Afridi.Lara faced Lewis,Malcolm.....in the 1st.

    Not complaining though;just curious.Match results are probably key here.

  • Bheem on January 7, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    @shrikanthk

    "Firstly in First class cricket of any kind in any era, 7 times out of 10 it is the batsman who gets himself out"

    Its the bowlers who know how to setup a batsman that are successful. Short pitch bowling, reverse swing, pace and accuracy backed by sharp fielding and astute captaincy are the key ingredients that go towards achieving that end goal of setting up a batsman. Most of these simply did not exist in that era. The closest working over that Bradman faced which can be compared to modern day tactics was Bodyline. And Larwood is nowhere near in class as some of the best we have seen post 70s.

  • Bheem on January 7, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    "Pulls are generally executed against long-hops. A long hop is the same no matter who delivers it - Voce, Steyn or Matthew Wade."

    sometimes the good ones too : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ood03gSwnH4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F0WqN7JZaA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnMh2m7R0Eo

    you will find a whole bunch of decent balls being pulled in those 3 links.

    "Even if you make Tendulkar face Bangladesh at Chittagong repeatedly for 20 years (and face no other team), I don't think I'd back him to average over 70. Or for that matter "

    he already avgs 136 against them so what makes you think that avg would come down had he played them for about 50 tests ? But most importantly shouldn't the question be how much would Bradman avg against the very best bowlers ? Whether you like it or not the best bowlers are from the modern times.

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    ...greater than Wasim, but he is perfect for variety of left arm over and around,and all important reverse swing master.This time Botham ahead of Imran as we have not only 2, but 3 very fast truly great bowlers already in. Anyway, time to give someone else a turn now,like much missed Hussey.Just before that that,an XI of my favourite cricketers in my time of watching cricket (1982 onwards) versus World XI of the remainder:-

    Favourites

    Gooch,Jayasuriya,V.Richards,Lara,S.Waugh(cpt),Botham,Knott,Akram,,Lillee,Alderman,Murali

    World

    Gavaskar,Greenidge,Ponting,Kallis,Tendulkar,Gilchrist(wkt),Imran(cpt),Marshall,Warne,Ambrose,Underwood

    An interesting match I feel.Happy New Yr to everyone,hope didn't offend anyone with my extremely strong views :)

  • Murray Archer on January 7, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    RE : Cricket writing

    Some writer once asked Grace what he was thinking during scoring that amazing whatever it was. Reply was along lines of absolutely nothing, I was watching the ball.

    When James asked Headley about being in difficulty at the crease; Headley said he never was if he was seeing the ball. He said something also about being so focused to see the ball, he wouldn't recognise anyone he passed on way to crease.

    Bradman when asked why he thought he had achieved so much more than any other batsman :- Along lines of others seemed to have over complicated it... all you have to do is see the ball and hit it.

    Pollock once said "Batting's easy just see the ball and hit it"

    While we see batting as the beauty it is, the stuff above doesn't make for great copy ? And deadlines have to be met so gotta say something ? "he watched the ball and hit it all day" might get your editor/publisher annoyed ?

    That's why Anath's stuff is so brilliant. No flowers !

    Shri - Hope they're close

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    ..were way worse than the disgraceful one Jamaica 1998 when the England test had to be abandoned.WAY worse.Sure,the bowling back then was not of the pace as now,but I am prepared to believe the erratic roundarmers got the ball,at their fastest,to the batsmen at about the pace of Jimmy Anderson,and the ball,by simple trigonometry,gets to the batsmen quicker the lower yr arm.Plus, Shri again will confirm that he was past his best when debuting in Tests, aged 32.Anyway,enough of that for time being lol I will pick 3 teams now using Shri's criteria for one of his points,and see what others think.

    pre 1945:- Hobbs,Grace,Bradman(capt),Headley,Hammond,Gregory,Rhodes,Tallon(wkt),Larwood,Barnes,O'Reilly

    1945-1970 Hutton(capt),Morris,Weekes,Pollock,Compton,Sobers,Miller,Evans(wkt),Lindwall,Trueman,Laker

    post 1970 B.Richards,Gavaskar,V.Richards,Lara,Tendulkar,Gilchrist(wkt),Botham,Akram,Marshall,Warne(cpt),Lillee I think that Ambrose,McGrath,Hadlee,Holding and maybe some others even..

  • Bheem on January 7, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    (contd). I never attributed their comment to you just as I did not attribute the comment in "on this day" to you. they added that comment on their own to Embellish Bradman's inngs. And it is this aspect of journalism that I'am largely commenting about. Now I'am not sure if you agree with me on the 270 being played on a good batting surface. I have presented my case in detail earlier.

    And about the 281-but for the great mans 3 crucial wkts the match would have ended in a draw and would have ranked much lower. Its not VVS' fault had it ended in a draw. This aspect is the main shortcomming of your list IMHO. And I totally understand the limitations involved in such exercises. This is why I never comment (untill now) about the list itself as there are too many variables to consider. Iam more interested in how people form opinions about players they have never seen play. Beleive me I'am not so shallow that I would need validation for my fav player on a blog. thx for listening. [[ Bheem I am not one who follows the silly American policy of "winning is everything". I hate those "winner takes all" contests. At the same time only the losers say "winning is nothing". I follow the middle and safe road of "winning is something and winning should be recognized". Consider this as not "penalizing the losing team" but "rewarding the winning team". I agree that without the unlikely three wickets of SRT the Kolkatta match would have been drawn. It would certainly have lowered the Rating points of Laxman. But that is life. The batsman does his best and if the bowlers co-operate there is a win. If the bowlers fail, there is no win and the batsmen should pay, in some way or other. For that matter, did Ganguly go for a win. Certainly not. If so, he would have dexclared at close of the fourth day, setting Australia to score an impossible 320 for a win. Frankly let me say this: Laxman's was a match-saving innings. It was converted to a match-winning innings by the ineptitude of the Australian batsmen and the unlikely spinners' wickets. I will show you three innings. Same runs, balls, pitch condition, bowling quality faced, innings and match condition et al. One wins the match, one draws and one loses. Do you mean to say that all innings should carry equal Rating points. That seems quite silly. That is perfectly acceptable in a non-objective, subjective and often romantic evaluation: not where everything is analytical and to the point. What I do is to allot x points for the teams, depending on the result and then allocate these between 22 batting and 22 bowling performances (I know there may be only 10) as Result Contribution. I work on the basis that overall, this will not exceed about 8-10%. I fail to understand why this is not right. One thing I can assure you. No analysis of mine will ever ignore the result. That is against my own beliefs. Pl refer to the separate comment on this. Ananth: ]]

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    ...reportedly constantly driving his teammates to new heights in physical training etc My guess is a relative lack of belief as compared to those great allrounders,and other great cricketers,similar to Cowdrey,tho not as bad as that at all.He can hit sixes more or less when he wants-he now has 90 plus in Tests,behind only Gilly!Woolmer said that his first ball in the Warwickshire nets,when trying out for them,knocked Lara's middle stump into the back of the net.Thank God he is finally showing us his real capabilities.But afraid that reasons given (sorry to go on and on btw!)are why he doesn't make it into squad,and I consider him only about 7th (still fantastic obv)on alltime allrounder list.In Flintoff's prime,before injuries,the latter always had the best of him-Freddie was top cricketer,but not at those others' levels...Grace is sadly under-regarded.As Shri will tell you,for 10yrs,he averaged over 49 in FC cricket while every else was in 20's,on ridiculously uneven pitches that TBC

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    ..even if he has always been clearly the best player in the side.He has no real excuse for scoring so slowly for such a huge percentage of his career,which is why I am delighted to see him start to change a bit now.Maybe because Amla is so reliable,more than t20?I think the latter is mainly responsible for the revival in his bowling pace.A bigger problem I always had with his allround cricket even that non-acceleration was the scandalous lack of effort he was putting into his bowling mid 2000's.Even his coach criticised him for being content to chug in below 80mph (see for instance World XI v Aus test footage and any number of other matches couple of yrs either side of it) when he was capable then of at least 84mph.Thankfully (fear of being pasted all round the park maybe?)he has stepped up in last couple of yrs,and his age makes that,and his wonderful consistency,all the more admirable.But why this long before those improvements?Could be selfishness.However,he is consumate team man

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    ...Allrounders have always been my pet favourites, since growing up with the 'Awesome Foursome',and I absolutely love his pure technique and willingness to graft in difficult conditions when too many others just want to thrash indiscriminately.What I CANNOT accept from him over the majority of his career is a variation of his universal criticism.It is one thing to play yrself in sensibly,but to totally refuse to accelerate,all the time(thankfully in his late 30's he is starting to FINALLY remedy this!)when well past 3 figures?Sorry,but that is not good enough for somebody of his huge talent.No use telling me "Border,Barrington,Sutcliffe grafted all the time and never deserved criticism for not accelerating,are accepted as legends".Please-do not try telling me that any of those greats,or several others had Kallis' talent,timing,strength,eye,height and leverage.He can hit bondaries for fun,no WAY the limited player those others were.He has never played in a weak batting line up,even TBC

  • Bheem on January 7, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    "Bheem, for one moment I suggest you forget about the brain-washing media. Talk to me, the 100% creator of this. I worked alone for well over 3 months in Banglaore with occasional interactions with Wisden. Don't be like the Mumbai journalists of 2001 who completely ignored the 281 but concentrated on Tendulkar.."

    First of all I did not know it was you who did the work !. Secondly I have never said one single sentence for/against inclusion of SRT. The 281 is the greatest inngs ever played simply because of the quality of attack let alone the match condition. Period. So pls dont club me with any journalists. That said it is highly commendable that you are willing to answer questions on a public blog. Most such expert opinions are one way traffic. They speak and we listen. Our only option if we don't like what the "experts" say is to switch off. So my sincere thanks.

    Now to BBC. I don't understand why you take offense at what BBC said. But it is a fact that BBC said so(contd)

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    ...Lillee (I would just as easily have Marshall btw),not somebody in the next category down in both depts as Botham was before his Perth test injury,then his lower spine collapsing early 1988.Barnes will not take the new ball,he was a bowler of cutters at medium-fast pace that swerved in the air the opposite way to how they cut off the pitch.Kallis is wonderful,but Grace covers the openers and Sobers 'second spinner in the XI'option better,tho I think we should assume no injuries in these things,just selections maybe not being good enough,possibly,for their opponents,hence need replacing with reserve.I still consider Gilchrist the 3rd 'selection supercricketer' (genuine 2 in 1 player) after Bradman and Sobers, but with genuine allrounder at 7,could select the vastly superior keeper and decent versatile bat,Knott,ahead of one of my alltime favourites.May he forgive me,Warne too..lol On subject of Kallis,averages say otherwise,but in no way can I put him alongside nonpareil Sobers TBC

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    ...alltime CRICKETING FIGURES.Why?Because they were on same sort of level as pure allrounders (with Miller and the desperately unfort Procter,I firmly believe this quartet is behind only the peerless Sobers and noticeably ahead of the under-regarded Grace and ultra reliable Kallis),but Imran was also an incredible leader(tho not at all astute tactician.But shrewd enough to lean on Javed and Mudassar for that),the man who really took Sarfraz's reverse swing to new heights,left a massive legacy with that and developing alltime greats Wasim and Waqar,plus the much forgotten fact that it was he before anybody else who kept on tirelessly badgering for 'neutral'umpires.Basically,that is a much bigger overall legacy left to the game than Botham (my childhood hero),so should be higher on 'Cricketing Legends'list-but not imo on 'Best Allrounders'list.He gets in ahead of his rival in my team tho because the allrounder needs to be a TRULY great,preferably genuinely fast bowler to partner TBC

  • Murray Archer on January 7, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Reading this is kicking me in the ass for even suggesting (probably previous article)not everyone had always thought Bradman was the greatest.

    Apart from possibly Grace, NO-ONE EVER has dominated the game like he did.

    Further, Bradman dominated cricket for another 30 years after he stopped playing. He PERSONALLY made CERTAIN Australia played cricket to the tradition standard he had inherited. Till Kerry Packer broke the mold.

  • Boll on January 7, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Sorry, make that July 1938-Nov 1946, close enough to 8 and a half years.

  • Boll on January 7, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Over 8 years for Bradman without a bat in tests, Aug 1938 (103/16 in Leeds) - Nov 1946 (187 in Brisbane)

  • Bheem on January 7, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    @Waspsting

    "I'm assessing how they look technically, and measuring it against a modern standard and measuring that modern standard against what i've read about said players (given what was written about them was done against an old time standard)"

    Thats exactly the spirit in which I look at things except articulated in a much better way by you. thanks for stating that Waspsting. Glad to see that on a blog where posters are overwhelmingly biased towards anything that is from the older era.

    @ananth "350 runs in 150 overs for 23 wickets (at Bradman entry time) has "A very difficult wicket" written all over it."

    thats if you overlook the fact that only half of the wkts were due to conditions that came about because of rain and that the pitch became benign again as has been proven. I understand your constraints but these are the pitfalls of trying to use the brute force of computers to arrive at a list of great innings. such conditions would work well for covered pitches. [[ Let us throw all computers into the water. Let us say I do an exercise similar to the Test XV article. I ask people to nominate their best innings. What do we have here, in this circle of readers. Cricket knowledge: 5-9 (only because this is an informed set. AMongst the general populace, this will be 1-9). Bias in favour of players/teams: 1-10. Bias against players/teams: 3-8. Viewing bias(I will only rate what I have seen): 3-9 Shallow thinking (take 10 minutes to jot down and send 10 innings): 3-5. So I collect and compile. With 200 readers I got 120 players. What do you think I will get here. 1000 innings. Will anything be gained. On the other hand the computer is free of bias (only my own bias, which I can proudly say is minimal). It will work as I have instructed. It will not push up my or anyone's favourite innings. It does not have favourites. Cold and analytical. Gavaskar, Boycott, Chappell, Shastri, Atherton, Bhogle, Abbasi. Firdous et all, all have their biases (Have you seen any Vengsarkar's innings being discussed). The computer does not. If Lara's 153 moves to the sixth position, it will stay there. The only way this will change is if I introduce the code "If innings is Lara's 153, increase the Ratings value by 7%" or some such direct and crooked code. If you or any one else thinks I would do that, you should vacate the blogspace immediately. Why you, maybe I should. Finally let me ask you this question. You have good knowledge of cricket. Did you know about Hill's 188, Asif Iqbal's 146 and Azhar Mahmood's 132. These are there right on top. Most people have not heard of these innings, probably including you. This analysis has brought these unknown and unheralded gems to the public view. Steven Lynch said that the placement of Tayfield's 9 for 113, a very much unknown spell, at the top was the single biggest proof that the Ratings system worked very well. So use the Ratings results well, without thinking these are the ultimate, but fruitfully. You would be the gainer. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on January 7, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    @shrikanth/bheem re."Dont you agree that such journalism is responsible for people forming opinions about Bradman and has been the case for years ?"

    I would suggest that Bradman`s stats, moreso than anything, are responsible for people forming opinions about him. As a great man (probably an Aussie once said) - Look at the Scoreboard!

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    ..selecting first XI first, then reserves best suited to back them up.I will also offer a few XIs mainly for fun on some other related points eg alternatives to Shri's teams of different eras.So..final XV of Del Ribeiro:- Hobbs,Hutton,Bradman,V.Richards,Tendulkar,Sobers,Imran,Knott(wkt),Warne,Barnes,Lillee. Reserves- Grace(opener/allrounder),Botham,Marshall,Murali. I am MASSIVELY disappointed to leave out 2 huge favourites and matchwinners,Gilchrist and Lara.If I was using Ananth's 'floating squad'method,hopefully they would get in.In an old style touring party XVII,they would be added without hesitation.. My firm belief in these exercises is that fairest way is you consider a player at his peak AND A LITTLE EITHER SIDE OF IT.That is why,for example,I have always believed Botham(1977-end of Perth1986/7 after which he never bowled a ball off his full run again internationally) was better PURE ALLROUNDER than Imran (1980-mid 83, then !986-1988).But latter should be higher in list of...

  • dale on January 7, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    Ashley Mallett's "Thommo speaks out" (The authorised biography of Jeff Thomson)- relates a story about Thomson watching Bradman bat at the home of the eminent surgeon,Dr. Donald Beard. This impromptu net session took place on a turf pitch in Dr Beard's backyard during the rest day of the fifth Test against India at Adelaide in 1978. Thommo states that Bedi and Vishwanath were also present. Apparently Dr Beards' sons did the bowling and according to Thomson they were about McGrath's pace. Bradman at age 70 batted without any protection. "There wasn't a false stroke .. he belted every ball...the manner in which he batted defied imagination" are just some of the comments Thomson made in reference to Bradman's batting. Thomson himself bowled a few leg breaks to Bradman but ceased bowling in order to watch Bradman. Maybe Murray Archer (or anyone else) knows something about this event?

  • Boll on January 7, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    @Bheem. You`re not alone in questioning the skill-levels of cricketers pre-1970s, or pre-some other selected period.

    I think your obsession with anti-Bradmanism (for want of a better term) is blinding you somewhat to a few clear points. Firstly, while it`s true that cricket as an international sport didn`t become fully professional until quite recently, it was hardly in its infancy in Bradman`s era, or by the 1970s - almost 100 years after the first recognised test was played. Yes, techniques and the craft continue to change and evolve, but to suggest that this only started in the `70s is simply not true.

    re.Bradman, I don`t quite understand the problem. He was almost universally regarded by those who played with (including a great uncle, by marriage, of mine) or against him, by those who watched him, as the greatest batsmen of all. Statistics place him way ahead of any batsman to have played the game. Why wouldn`t people (Nicholas/Boycott - hardly neophytes) lionise him? 2 Poms btw

  • delmeister on January 7, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    Great work for umpteenth time on both articles. I am totally GUTTED that missed chance to post my team- I currently have fractured shoulder socket and arm still weak after 7wks in sling.Thought had time before 30thDec, but never mind-no time to be bleating after the tragic losses of Greigy and CMJ.May they truly rest in peace. [[ Del, my fellow sufferer, As one who is still not back to full fitness (I mean the sedantary programming/writing/answering) 10 weeks after a shoulder rotator-cuff tear surgery, I can symphathise with you. Physiotherapy exercises, posture control and conditioning exercises. I have only now started driving. All the best. Your comments are always welcome. Ananth: ]] Hope none of you mind my hugely belated offerings here.I have been virtually addicted lol to picking AllTime Teams since 1986,as a teenager,and what got that going was a colour ad for Audi car in sunday supplement.It showed a photo of their alltime XI,saying 'another way to view our car'.In summer 1986, team was:- Hobbs,Hutton,Bradman,Grace,V.Richards,Sobers,Botham,Evans(wkt),Lindwall,Trueman,Bedi. They were also going for aesthetics there I feel.Fine side,albeit no Barnes, Lillee,O'Reilly...Really treasured possession of mine,but unfort can't find it anywhere.Without further ado,let me offer my belated XV here.Bearing in mind I'm favouring the approach of (TBC)

  • shrikanthk on January 7, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    "Dont you agree that such journalism is responsible for people forming opinions about Bradman and has been the case for years ?"

    Not at all. Very few people have the patience or time to read 80 year old journalism.

    Bradman's greatness stems from his figures and figures alone. Forget his test average of 99.94. What's more astonishing is the FC average of 95.14. [[ And not to forget that he scored over 500 runs in the last series (virtually a 4-Test series as far as his batting was concerned) and he was still the best batsman on the side. Tendulkar is the same age as Bradman was in 1948. Look at the diffrence. If we talk about bowling, the last two series have been at home against not-so-fast visiting bowlers. This is not to put Tendulkar down. His reflexes have slowed and bowlers are capitalizing on that. But Bradman was also 39 and lost 6 years of peak age criket. For all top batsmen the averages over the last 10 Tests drop, but not for Bradman. Ananth: ]] Even if you make Tendulkar face Bangladesh at Chittagong repeatedly for 20 years (and face no other team), I don't think I'd back him to average over 70. Or for that matter Richards/Ponting/Lara/Sobers/Hammond/Hobbs/Grace/you name it.

    Even a technician as accomplished as Vijay Merchant playing on extremely benigh wickets in what was probably the weakest FC league of all time (Indian FC cricket of the 30s/40s) could average only 71.

    Sobers - a man who played FC cricket all around the world and whose career straddled many eras - from early 50s to mid 70s - could only average 56 in FC cricket!

  • shrikanthk on January 7, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    Again whats the hard evidence that backs this opinion? Who are the bowlers comparable to Donald and Steyn that Bradman pulled and hooked like how Ponting did ?

    Firstly in First class cricket of any kind in any era, 7 times out of 10 it is the batsman who gets himself out. Not the bowler getting him out with an "unplayable" ball.

    Pulls are generally executed against long-hops. A long hop is the same no matter who delivers it - Voce, Steyn or Matthew Wade.

    Observe Ponting pulling even against military medium bowlers. He falls over quite often and is trying hard to retain his balance on one foot whenever he plays the stroke. And the ball is seldom kept down.

    Whenever I see DGB pulling I see him get behind the line and also transfer weight on to the back foot. The execution clearly suggests the ball is likely to be kept down.

  • shrikanthk on January 7, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    cricket was still in its infancy and was yet to go truly professional and techniques and the overall craft to evovle.

    Cricket was not in its infancy. Overarm bowling has been around since 1864. Practically everything in bowling barring reverse swing and doosra were prevalent in the 30s.

    And yes, all English players of the 30s were professional (barring a few exceptions like Gubby Allen and Ken Farnes). In contrast most Indian/Pak cricketers of the 70s/80s were NOT professiobnal.

  • Bheem on January 7, 2013, 2:35 GMT

    (contd) Its just that cricket was still in its infancy and was yet to go truly professional and techniques and the overall craft to evovle. True there are magnificient cricketers from before the 70s but there will be only a handfull that could compete with the modern lot IMHO. You might feel otherwise. But looking at those videos from eras gone by it is impossible for me to buy into the belief that they were just as good as modern cricketers. The actions and techniques have the unmistakable stamp of amateur written all over them in bold.

    The guy is demonstrating perhaps reluctantly to the camera some strokes on a lazy afternoon. How do you know this ? That signed letter at the beginning of the clip has a diff story to tell.

    His pulling and hooking is far classier than Ponting's pulls. Again whats the hard evidence that backs this opinion? Who are the bowlers comparable to Donald and Steyn that Bradman pulled and hooked like how Ponting did ?

  • Bheem on January 7, 2013, 1:24 GMT

    @shrikanthk : Well, no serious cricket fan ever does that. 3 random examples : 1. BBC on the 270 : "Just to increase the difficulty rating he was batting on a damp and difficult surface." Link --> http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/1457249.stm [[ I recommend to the readers to read the article to see how misleading Bheem's attempt to portray this comment is. He is making out as if BBC had a line to increase the difficulty rating. This is just a statement. Bheem, for one moment I suggest you forget about the brain-washing media. Talk to me, the 100% creator of this. I worked alone for well over 3 months in Banglaore with occasional interactions with Wisden. Don't be like the Mumbai journalists of 2001 who completely ignored the 281 but concentrated on Tendulkar. It was nauseating and an insult to the greatest innings ever played by an Indian. The then top-10 was an amalgam of innings over 100 years, The 270 was followed by Lara's 153, Gooch's 154, Botham's 149, Laxman's 281, Hill's 188, Azhar Mahmood;s 132, Hughes' 100. Every era is represented including the pre-WW1 and the modern. Most countries are represented. Of course, your top-10 might be different, but subjectively gathered. You have a right for that. Mine was the result of long and hard hours and finally Wisden was unanimous that they would be happy to be associated with this 10 and 100. I suggest you read my respone to Murray to get my ideology on Ratings. I am the last analyst to be influenced by subjective brain-washing facts. When it comes to analysis numbers are king for me. You are a good student of the game with a good perspective. Please do not let your need to pull down Bradman colour your views. And not in this blogspace. Ananth: ]] 2. Mark Nicholas unabashedly swooning over Bradman on commentary during Ricky Pontings final test. Ditto with Boycs elsewhere. 3. The tidbit "on this day" that I presented earlier. With all due respect to Bheem, who am sure knows his cricket well enough - he typifies the typical young cricket follower today. Their belief goes something like this -

    Trust me Iam not young although I wish I was. reason why cricket from the 70s onwards is of higher standards is mainly because of fast bowling. If you were to pick 5 best fast bowlers of all time no-one from Bradmans time will make the cut. i.e if you were to keep emotions aside and do the picking in a cold , ruthless and impartial manner. This doesnt mean that everything before was bunk(cont)

  • Murray Archer on January 6, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    "Dont you agree that such journalism is responsible for people forming opinions about Bradman and has been the case for years ?"

    Yes ... and everyone else too. Every morning I read something and wonder how I'd managed to watch a different match. I am absolutely certain that more rubbish gets written today than any previous time. (that's why what's written here is so good !)

    Bradman though is easy.... 7,000 runs in 52 matches is all anyone has to know ?

    RE Technique :-

    I can't think of anyone who was impressed with Bradman's technique when he came to the city. "Loose" was the thought most had when they first saw him. Hunter Hendry told me that he demanded the ball on first sight in grade cricket.

    Bradman just kept getting runs, while generally expected to fail at next level.

    Was a seeming certainty to fail in England. He didn't !

  • Dinesh on January 6, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    "many Indian watchers have a closed mind. They have seen Tendulkar's fighting 136 and in their mind concluded that it is a great effort ready to be enshrined amongst the all time greats"

    Common Ananth. Unlike I have never been part of the Propping up Tendulkar agenda and you know that. I am Pro Tendulkar, i have Qualms in accepting that, but that would not blind me from accepting other players works. I have just given you some examples and i had placed tendulkar's innings after others and that was my order as i felt Clarke and Lara's works were better that those of SRT's. [[ I accept your points without any reservation. You are always very fair in your evaluations. Ananth: ]] All i said was that not to make a huge difference between a winning and losing innings even though those which came in wins should be given a slight advantage.

    I seem to have touched a wrong nerve which was never the intention. [[ I am sorry I came on strongly. The problem, Dinesh, is that the 136 has single-handedly dissuaded me from proceeding further in the re-do of this huge exercise. I have probably been asked 1000 questions on the 136 but not one on the 222 or 146 which are far greater losing innings. I have no problems in explaing why an innings is in but when people keep on hammering at why an innings is not in, I have problems. Finally every tweak I do now is to make sure the overall % weights for parameters is within an overall range and the Result % will not be allowed to exceed 10%. Is that enough. Just for fun, please go through the 10 losing innings I have pointed out. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 6, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    If not for Ananth's presentation many of us perhaps would not even be aware of the circumstances under which the event took place!

    .... and without his blog space we wouldn't have this great place to sensibly debate and learn from each other !

    The one I saw live I was glad to see on that list was Kim Hughes in Melbourne...... bravery and skill in bucket loads. (what an appalling pitch)

  • dale on January 6, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    All rating are subjective but this should not influence our ability to understand the presentation. Therefore the context becomes very important and this is where a misunderstanding occurs. The 270 was rated as the best innning based on the parameters which Ananth used. If they are changed perhaps another inning will be on top but ten years ago this inning of Bradman aced the test! If not for Ananth's presentation many of us perhaps would not even be aware of the circumstances under which the event took place! [[ Dale, you have hit the right note. Forget about the 270. Many would have heard about it. Pl look at Clem Hill's 188 (Match no 56). This was an innings which most Englishmen were not aware of. It was in the top-10 and got eyeballs which it would never have got. This was not a fourth innings chase. It was first day innings. Aus: 323 ao (Hill 188, coming in at 1/1 and score went to 58/6). Eng: 174. Eng: 263. Aus: 115/2. The other innings which attracted such attention was Azhar Mahmood's 132 (Match no 1403). Pak: 259 (Azhar 132, coming in at 89/5). Saf: 231. Pak: 226. Saf: 225. These are two gems which most people were unaware of. I think one needs to appreciate the fact that NO SINGLE RATINGS ANALYSIS IS EVER 100% CORRECT. What is needed is the sagacity to draw something from that and improve one's knowledge. Unfortunately contesting every point, presenting subjective conclusions, or a pointless asking "why is this innings not there", forgetting that there are probably 100 other such innings, is the most common response. Even in the 2012 Review, I have brought to light Jayawardene's 180, a completely forgotten innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on January 6, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    Ananth: I Have a Question..

    Since you have already said that Innings which come in Wins will be given preference and rightfully so. But i think the preference should not be to such an extent in which some innings which were Truly great may lose out. Some of the examples are Clarke's 151 vs SA, Lara's 226 and 182 at Adelaide 5 years apart, Tendulkar's 114 at Perth,122 at Birmingham where the next best was 18, 136 vs Pak.

    These are the innings which were truly great, but probably did not have much impact due to the result. So they might not crop up in your Impact-full innings ratings list.

    i dont want these innings to go unnoticed. So that is why this question [[ I do not want to open this door now. But many Indian watchers have a closed mind. They have seen Tendulkar's fighting 136 and in their mind concluded that it is a great effort ready to be enshrined amongst the all time greats. Please study the following losing efforts. You will get a jolt. Astle's 222 (1594). Asif Iqbal's 146 (623) Lamb's 113 (1099) Knott's 106 (754). Moin Khan's 117 (1306). Knott's 81 (794). Jayawardene's 105 (2005). Russel's 128 (1124). Umrigar's 172 (528). I can assure you that each of these innings probably deserves more credit than any other innings you can think of. The only thing I will say is that a losing innings will get credit and placed well if all other factors are in favour. Please do not now come in with factors supporting one innings or other. Completely counter-productive. Ananth: ]]

  • dale on January 6, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    "On this Day" which was January 2nd states that this day was the beginning of Bradman's epic 270. However,Bradman's inning began on January 4th. Great as the inning was, I am more impressed by the fact that once the going really got bad on the second day of play , Bradman had the tactical acumen to declare the 1st inning closed so that England batted on a very bad wicket. Please note that Australia's initial problems in their 1st inning were due to bad batting and not due to the state of the pitch. Bradman's next brilliant move was to have the tailenders bat first in Australia's second innings so that the top order batsmen would enjoy the better batting conditions as the pitch dried out. When he arrived at the wicket at #7 in the 2nd inning,Australia were already ahead by over 230 runs with half the wickets down and the wicket was now playing as well as it did or even better than when the match first started. Bradman's captaincy was at least as influential in determining the outcome.

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    270 is a great innings as it is, but it hadn't occured to me that it might get additional statistical weight based on the rest of Aus teams performance in that innings - and i'm pretty sure that yes, it was played in easier conditions than the initial Aus collapse

    Yes. I've heard an audio interview with Gubby Allen who said that the first 100 runs out of that 270 was the worst hundred Bradman ever made. He played and missed atleast 20 times during that hundred (according to Allen, who was no Bradman fan)

    But stuck it out and made sure he made a big one.

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    or Hutton's 62*?

    They're outscoring everyone else - statistically that must give the knock a big plus(?)

    But there's probably no way to verify if they happened to be batting in different conditions(?)

    In these two cases, I have it on good authority that the 2 innings' were played in easier conditions than the collapses that marked the rest of the batting in the same innings - but I imagine it'd be impossible to verify this for every innings every played.

    As far as crunching numbers, you'd have to just go with - Hutton 62* out of 122 all out for England?

    270 is a great innings as it is, but it hadn't occured to me that it might get additional statistical weight based on the rest of Aus teams performance in that innings - and i'm pretty sure that yes, it was played in easier conditions than the initial Aus collapse [[ I will not open that door now, WS. Suffice to say that I have a set of parameters which will enable Laxman's 96 to be book-ended by the 400 and 365 on either side and the 62 to be rated ahead of the 294 and Vishy's 97 to be rated ahead of Rowe's 302 and so on. All will be revealed later "when the time is ripe..." ("Yes Minister !!!"). Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    actively be looking to see the exact mechanism of the movement to see it (even then, it takes a few looks).

    Very close to, and invariably over the line of the ball.

    Plays beautifully straight, but flicks leg balls stylishly. Sways out of the short balls line w/ apparent ease. (and i believe he could hook w/ the best of them if so inclined)

    Only imperfection I recall in Gavaskar - he did play defensively to balls wide enough of off stump enough of the time that I'd deduced his judgement of where his off stump wasn't as good as some

    Not that he didn't usually middle the ball - but the point is, why play at a ball you could leave, when your not looking for a run? Risk of nick, no upside - and Gavaskar wasn't the kind who just psychologically liked to feel bat on ball regardless of scoring oppurtunity (as opposed to leaving it)

    ---

    "I go by numbers. Numbers say this was a truly great innings"

    Ananth, I was wondering how you adjust for "conditions" in cases like Don's 270 (con)

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    writes (paraphrased) "trying to get him caught in the slips was a waste of time".

    Lindwall was the fastest bowler in the world, specializing in outswing! Imagine Steyn or Lillee saying that about a batsman!

    Hutton's discomfort against short bowling is well known but consider that he still got runs aplenty and probably got more bouncers than anyone in the period.

    There are also pro-Hutton short stuff though mixed in. Sobers thought Hutton's defense to the short ball was a perfect model, and i know i of 2 stories at least of him bringing out the hook to Lindwall and Miller - and flogging them.

    Add in that he had to readjust his whole game after an injury left one arm 2 inches shorter than the other and locked his wrist... I rate Len Hutton very, very highly.

    Gavaskar's a favorite of mine too. Those two would the openers in my World 11!

    His technique was rock solid - the essence of compactness as I've seen it. Slides into position back and across so smoothly, you have to (cont)

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    Hi Shri - don't get me wrong - on figures alone and given they played in more or less the same period, I have no doubt Bradman was streets ahead of Hutton.

    I'm assessing how they look technically, and measuring it against a modern standard and measuring that modern standard against what i've read about said players (given what was written about them was done against an old time standard)

    Bradman was known for solidness, compactness. He doesn't look particularly compact to me (just a comment on style - he's obviously the best of his time, IMO, ever too)

    Hutton's style looks much more modern to me(?)

    --

    More on Len

    The funny thing about Lindwall/Miller/Hutton is all of them have a crazy high opinion of the other. Hutton writes about how facing them was "sheer hell", but L & M write about how bowling to Len was "a hopeless task".

    Take two assessments of Hutton. Bradman thought him the "greatest master I ever saw at keeping the ball down on the legside", while Lindwall (continued)

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    He says (paraphrasing), "some say Hutton's best innings was 62* out of 122 on a wet wicket". This type of statement gives a COMPLETELY FALSE representation

    I agree that several pundits misrepresent the past. But misrepresentations work both ways. Some consciously glorify the past. But there are others who often undermine the past.

    Eg: Many English pundits label Bradman as a "good wicket" player and talk up Hammond instead. But in reality, Bradman was pretty solid and reliable in most conditions he played in (barring bad rain affected surfaces with uneven bounce). While it was Hammond who could get tied down even on perfect batting pitches.

    Grace is viewed as this overrated player who averaged only 39 in FC cricket. But what's forgotten is that THAT average of 39 was sustained over 4 decades in an era when people were beginning to fathom overarm bowling! (1864-1906). He was obviously a very special player (something that people lacking historical perspective can't appreciate).

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    To start... are we happy that people since WW2 were real players (in the modern sense) ?

    I liked this tongue in cheek comment, Murray!

    With all due respect to Bheem, who am sure knows his cricket well enough - he typifies the typical young cricket follower today. Their belief goes something like this -

    "Cricket was somehow of a pretty low standard till 1970 - following which there is this sudden discrete jump in standards. The modern era begins."

    I find this argument very unconvincing - that there was a sudden jump in standards circa 1970 and everything before that date is crap.

    The reason why people hold this belief is because television coverage began in a big way starting 1970 - so you have more footage to convince the "unbelievers".

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Larwood was a little quicker than Lindwall almost everyone I've asked has said I certainly therefore believe that by 1920 people were bowling quite rapidly

    I think speed wise, bowling slowed down in the 20s. And spin/medium pace bowling became increasingly popular.

    1890s - the best period for pace bowling pre WWII In that decade, you had Richardson, Lockwood, Kortright, Ernie Jones, Knox, Kotze

    1900s - Googly bowling rose in prominence. Still there was the odd quick bowler like Cotter around

    1920s - A poor period for fast bowling with only Gregory and McDonald carrying the torch

    1930s - A definite revival especially in England. With Larwood, Allen and Farnes being the quickest and other fast medium pacers like Voce and Clarke. Aus had McCormick and WI had Martindale and Constantine

    1940s - Lindwall and Miller aside, not much else.

    1950s - A definite revival in England again. Tyson, Trueman, Statham

    1960s onwards : Fast bowling emphasis kept increasing till about 1992.

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    The fact that this is a scripted video to demonstrate his skills implies that he considered that drive to have been played correctly in his opinion

    Firstly it is not fair to infer anything good or bad from a "demonstrated" clip. Often the producer "dictates" a certain shot, and the batsman is obliged to attempt the shot regardless of his mood or length of the delivery

    Also the other thing that is often overlooked is that this is the 20s - an era when even silent films were a novelty and people often very uncomfortable while posing in front of a camera

    Also ideas of "technique" have changed over the years. Hobbs learnt his cricket in the 1890s - the era of Grace. That was the era of very high backlifts and forward play. Post WWI, that style of batting went out of fashion. Back-foot play became dominant. Hobbs himself pioneered this change. That's why he is one of the greatest cricketers ever. An original who contributed to the game's technique (like WG and Ranji before him)

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    ohhh I absolutely agree and concur. But my point was at those who try to argue in favor of Bradman using the uncovered pitches excuse which is dishonest. One of the first things that I get told almost dismissively is about uncovered wickets and how treacherous they were and they slip in the 270. This is why I put forward that long explanation.

    Well, no serious cricket fan ever does that. Everyone agrees that pitches in England and Aus were pretty true and good for batting in the 20s/30s. Perhaps as good as they are these days. Nevertheless, there was a possibility of batting on a rain-affected wicket that might do tricks perhaps once in 10 innings. A possibility that doesn't exist today. [[ I am not sure where Bheem got this. I have never ever said that the 1920s/1930s pitches were difficult to bat on. All along this statement has been said of the pre-WW1 pitches. My extensive period analysis proves this. In fact the 1920s/30s period was good to bat on, partly due to Bradman's high numbers. But there were other free-scoring batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    By modern standards, he's not particularly compact or solid. Hutton looks solid and good to me though

    For once, I disagree with Waspsting. Hutton to me looks like a very conservative back-foot player with not much of a front-foot game. Benaud - a very good judge of the game - rates Sunny ahead of Hutton and I'm inclined to agree.

    Hutton also had issues with the short ball and often struggled against Lindwall/Miller.

    Bradman's footage reveals the class of the man. A very very strong back-foot player but also a good driver off the front foot. His pulling and hooking is far classier than Ponting's pulls. Far more balanced with good use of the depth of the crease.

    Regarding bowling standards : I think standards were pretty low immediately after the 1st War. (1920 to 1930), excepting Gregory/McDonald. This is the consensus view reflected even in test/FC averages. In the 1930s - there was an improvement in both pace/spin resources. Especially pace in England.

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Andy Sandham told me that he found FC cricket in England easier after the war. (1914 -1918) Hobbs has been quoted with same opinion. Woolley as late 1938 said the game may never recover from the great war.

    This opinion I've read at many places. Playing standards in the era pre War (1905-1914) were definitely superior to the standards of the 20s. This is especially true when it comes to bowling.

    Regarding Bradman's 270: No one has ever claimed that the knock was on a rain-affected wicket. The pitch played pretty well. Having said that it is still a remarkable knock under pressure by a captain with his team 0-2 down, against a pretty decent attack by ANY standards (Gubby Allen, Voce, Verity). [[ Shri Featherbed and Sticky wicket are terms used by others, not by me. I go by numbers. Numbers say this was a truly great innings. Maybe Hutton's 30 at Oval in 1948 was a truly wonderful innings. The numbers would not support that view. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on January 6, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    The pull is off a rank long hop and most certainly the bowler is a slow blower. Thats not enough evidence. Defense : Looks okaish but again its not against a quick bowler and certainly nowhere watertight as a Dravid defense.

    Oh C'mon. The guy is demonstrating perhaps reluctantly to the camera some strokes on a lazy afternoon. Hobbs wouldn't have known those lazy demonstrations would be scanned by some kids back in India 80 years later!!

    This argument is beyond ridiculous. Also the year is 1926. And the batsman is Hobbs who was 44 years old at the time. Yes, 5 years older than what Tendulkar is at the moment.

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    too heavily - would the innings still be ranked 1 if Aus had won the match then gone on to lose the next 2 to lose the series 1-4?

    Still, that big a score, under a lot of pressure against a good attack and not in the easiest of conditions (though not a sticky-dog either)... its a contender for the top spot, even minus some of what i PERSONALLY think are irrelevent considerations

    (Leave you guys with a tid-bit. Hammond thought his best ever innings was the 36 he scored in the same match on a genuine wet wicket. Not the big hundreds he made or the fastest triple in test cricket history)

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Eng were cut down to 30 odd for 6 on a wet wicket. Hutton was held back, so as not to risk the best batsmen getting out on that sticky dog.

    Next day after the wicket was back to NORMAL, Hutton scored his runs. Fine performance, but not what Boycs suggests it was.

    I'm with Bheem in dotting the i's like this. Should add this blog has a much higher standard than any i've come across for knowing this type of stuff, and for accepting it graciously if they haven't.

    RE 270 - how to compare a "perfect" innings on a good pitch (like Don's 254) to a gritty one on a bad one (say Gavaskar's 96 at Banglalore)?

    I applaud both Pietersen's 100 smashing the SA pace attack and his 100 on the minefield vs IND spinners... but they're such different innings, hard to compare them.

    270 gets a lot of extra juice because of match and series situation - and what ended up happening after that in the series (2, down 3 to play, match winning effort, go on to win series)

    IMO, these things get weighed (con)

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    let me say this - 270 on a featherbed against weak attack is still a fine performance - and the pitch wasn't a "featherbed" nor was the attack "weak" - its a great performance by Don.

    But I get where Bheem is coming from - suggesting otherwise distorts the view of the innings making it sound EVEN better than it was (which isn't to say it wasn't great)

    Another example of this kind of inaccuracy is the common statement "Gavaskar scored 13 hundreds vs WI" - leaving the false implication that those were all or mainly scored off some 'fearsome foursome' WI attack - which wasn't the case.

    Another example of inaccurate suggestiveness that I came across from no less a figure than GEOFF BOYCOTT.

    He says (paraphrasing), "some say Hutton's best innings was 62* out of 122 on a wet wicket".

    This type of statement gives a COMPLETELY FALSE representation of what happened. You'd think Hutton batted on wet wicket and scored when everyone else failed reading that! What actually happened was.. (con

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    but maintained old timer Kortwright was the fastest bowler ever.

    The first time Kortwright's wicket keeper saw him, he stood up to the stumps! (moved back soon though)

    I can't imagine anyone in their right mind standing up the stumps to Malcolm Marshall!

    @Murray - really appreciate hearing your views, first up.

    A possibility about how players rank their opponents that always occurs to me is they fail to take into account how they themselves have changed.

    Bradman didn't. He admitted HE FOUND Bedsar harder to play than Tate, but considered the possibility that his age might have been a factor in that (as opposed to outright concluding Bedsar was the better bowler)

    Its nuances like this that Don often had that so many other ex players don't that make me tend to trust Don

    RE: 270 - i read Cardus' day by day account of that series - among other reports of the match, innings, series etc. - but Cardus' is the main one.

    Bradman did not bat on a wet wicket for that one (con)

  • Waspsting on January 6, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    re: bowling speeds - (this'll be long-ish - i capitilize to emphasise a point - not shout)

    An INDICATOR of a bowlers pace is how far back the keeper stands.

    I read a book by Wally Hammond - and take my word for it, he's a highly melodramatic writer. The kind you assume is EXAGGERATING to make his points.

    He writes of the fastest bowling he ever faced that before he could bring his bat down the ball had flashed into the keepers glove "15 yards behind the wicket".

    Now 15 yards is NOTHING, and my suspicion is, its an exaggerated figure. Given a slow, low pitch even, the suggestion to me is that the bowling wasn't all that fast.

    Videos of Gregory.. he doesn't seem to put much body into his bowling. looks like a medium pacer (but so did Thommo on action alone) so no conclusion, but another pointer.

    Videos of Larwood. The action is a modern fast bowlers action, but again, the keeper doesn't look all that far back to me

    Other points - Cardus thought MacDonald faster than Larwood (con)

  • Bheem on January 6, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    (contd) is responsible for people forming opinions about Bradman and has been the case for years ? Why try to portray a player as a bad pitch player when he really isn't by his own admission? But if you feel offended I apologize. However I would respectfully beg to differ with you on the 60+ yr old example. That is a bit too much to digest. Call me cynical if you want to. But it takes a big leap of faith for me to believe that pre-war players had such magical skills and that their fitness and hand-eye skills lasted almost for twice as much the duration as modern day batsmen. Science kinda gets in the way.

    @Ananth 564 runs in 150 overs (8 bpo) has "Batting Paradise" written all over it. [[ 350 runs in 150 overs for 23 wickets (at Bradman entry time) has "A very difficult wicket" written all over it. Ananth: ]]

  • Bheem on January 6, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    @Murray Archer "(why not bat on a better pitch ? - think Brisbane, Aust V England 1950)"

    ohhh I absolutely agree and concur. But my point was at those who try to argue in favor of Bradman using the uncovered pitches excuse which is dishonest. One of the first things that I get told almost dismissively is about uncovered wickets and how treacherous they were and they slip in the 270. This is why I put forward that long explanation.

    Great inngs in the context of the series - most certainly. One of the best inngs ever played - most certainly not. Best inngs on a bad pitch - absolutely not.

    "I'm still surprised that we need to be "brainwashed" to recognise a great cricketer personally taking control and winning a most likely lost series as skipper ..."

    you missed the context in which I made that comment. It was a general comment based on my observations of various writers who like to embellish on half truths (uncov pitch in this case). Dont you agree that such journalism (contd)

  • Bheem on January 6, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    @Waspsting ... Iam a sucker for such debates but I generally don't post much as people start getting upset when Bradman is subjected to a bit of scrutiny. But it will be great to discuss with you.

    Reg hobbs drive : More than the airiness the thing that I noticed immediately is how he jumps out of his crease . At one point he has both feet in air for a fraction of a sec with his front foot very high. This cant be right. I don't know of any batsman who would play in that fashion. The fact that this is a scripted video to demonstrate his skills implies that he considered that drive to have been played correctly in his opinion. Which further complicates things.

    Pull and defense : The pull is off a rank long hop and most certainly the bowler is a slow blower. Thats not enough evidence. Defense : Looks okaish but again its not against a quick bowler and certainly nowhere watertight as a Dravid defense.

    Agree about bowling speeds in those days. will write more later with videos.

  • Murray Archer on January 6, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    @ Bheem

    I think I get what you are saying. re 1936/7. However one cleverly delayed innings of 270 swung a series HEAVILY ! (why not bat on a better pitch ? - think Brisbane, Aust V England 1950)

    Although a scoreboard may suggest that 270 wasn't even needed, the psychological impact of such, turned what had been a bleak time for the new Aust captain into a series victory ?

    This series, '36/7 was most surely the biggest battle of rain ? (pls look at first 2 tests as well.)

    I'm still surprised that we need to be "brainwashed" to recognise a great cricketer personally taking control and winning a most likely lost series as skipper. Let alone what he'd already, and would in future do.

    How many times did I see Ponting get a 150 in first test of series ? (take control ! ).

    Your beef with this 270 is surely a bit like my personal rave about Sobers responding when his world XI was getting thrashed ?

    Can't understand rating players based on anniversary & nothing to write on articles. [[ Murray I go ONLY by scorecards and nothing else. I do not know and do not want to know whether the pitch was alternately a minefield, batting paradise, minefield and batting paradise at the end of each playing day. If I can get that information through an analysis of the scores, fine, else, tough luck. I do not want to know whether a player was injured. I do not want to know whether the player was under any external pressure. I do not want to know whether the batsman, a la Close, was hit on the body and was bruised head to toe. I do not want to know whether the fast bowling attack averaged 145 kmph or 120 kmph. It is how they have actually performed in their career-to-date which matters. I do not want to know whether a 100 was full of divine graceful strokes or was a scratchy innings with 3 drops. If the first innings was part of 500 for 3 and the later was part of 250 all out, it is likely that the later would get more rating points. That way I make sure that no subjective opinions get weight and I can defend my analysis. By now everyone knows that Lara was/is one of my all-time favourite players. But I do not let that have any impact in my analysis. In selection, yes, but never in any analysis. As you might have seen, Lara's 153* was second placed in the Wisden-100. If it moves down in my revised analysis I would not bother. As long as there is justification it is fine. The 270 met all the criteria very well. It does not matter to me whether Bradman rated it only as his fifth best. That is his personal choice. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 6, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    @ Anath

    This is very interesting stuff to me ! Being at best an "oral historian" myself, the difference when people look for "indicators" truly has my thoughts whirling as to what those indicators should be.

    2011 was far different - Although no doubt a great pitch for fast bowlers. (pitch of course calmed down and Amla and Smith batted great against indecently poor bowling). No mystery to me how first innings got runs - Clarke played the best innings I've ever seen (on TV)! It was a 150 pitch maximum in my eyes. (The Mark Waugh at Pt Elizabeth innings was nearby !)

    In 1950 when the rain came (second day) it later became a spinner's paradise. I have long heard, that 4th innings in Capetown 1950 was impossible to bat on for first 200+ runs. One person made it look easy, was what they'd all said. (Harvey himself said it was worse than Manchester '56)

    By no means having "a go at you" Anath, am honestly intrigued by process and looking to probably contribute if I can.

  • Bheem on January 6, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    (contd) Bradman came in to bat at 5 down and if you add up the no.of balls faced by each batsman who got out ( assuming that Fingleton never faced any balls which is unlikely) it amounts to about ~240 balls or 30 eight ball overs which would put the start of his inngs well into the afternoon which would have caused the pitch to further dry up. Bradman made 56 runs on that day. The next day i.e Day4 (Jan-6th) we have 1.3mm of rain which only caused the ball to become wet and un-helpfull for the bowlers. This is confirmed in the match report. It can also be cross-checked from the scorecard by the fact that Fingleton scored about 90 odd runs and Bradman about 190odd runs and MacCabe a few runs. This amounts to almost a whole days worth of play with brief interruptions for rain. Thats my take on why its not a bad-pitch inngs

    met weblink : http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_nccObsCode=136&p_display_type=dailyDataFile&p_startYear=1937&p_c=-1481639740&p_stn_num=086071

    END

  • Bheem on January 6, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    (contd)This just simply does not happen and hence why I'am inclined to agree with Wisdens take on the pitch when Bradman made 270. Now lets assume for the sake of argument that Wisden got it wrong as to when it rained. How do we prove them right/wrong? Lets look at rainfall data from a neutral source i.e the Aus Met dept. For this we need co-ordinates of MCG. A simple google search will fetch you this data. It is 37.820°S, 144.9832°E. On the Met Website we can plug in these co-ordinates and get the daily rainfall data for the nearest station. It happens to be a mere 1.8 KM from the ground (I again independently verified this). The data tells us that it rained 10.2 mm between 1937-Jan-2 9AM and 1937-Jan-3 9AM . This coincides with Day-2 of the test match and from the close-of-play section of the scorecard we find that this coincides with Englands 1st inngs. There was no rain for the next 24hr interval i.e Jan-3-4 which coincides with the rest day. This is when the pitch dried (contd)

  • Ananth on January 6, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    My eyes went moist when the wholly unselfish Hussey ran the winning run for Johnson. Did not think for a moment that he should stay in the crease and score the winning run himself. That is the way he played the game and finished his career. In my opinion the ultimate players' player not just people's player. May his tribe flourish. His type does not walk the field often. Many might score more runs but very few would have played like this and departed in such graceful fashion. Mike, YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH YOU WILL BE MISSED, especially by the non-Australian followers. Ananth

  • Bheem on January 6, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    @ananth

    The Hobbs video is a scripted piece of action as opposed to the live action that you are comparing it with when you mention SRT/RD/KP. I hope you realize the problem.

    Reg the 270:I have not read your analysis that you did 10yrs ago. I was commenting about the tidbit on the 270 made in the "on this day" column. here is the link --> http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/magazine/default_aty.html?date=01-02

    "As far as the 270 is concerned, what do you know. Your knowledge is also heresay." what I wrote is based on applying conventional cricketing logic and whats written in the Wisden match report which can be found here --> http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/154078.html

    From that report we find the pitch condition from this statement : " The pitch had become as perfect as any batsman could wish". This also fits perfectly with common cricketing knowledge in that its highly unlikely that a side would last 149.7ovrs(8 bpo) on a bad pitch(cont)

  • Murray Archer on January 6, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    @ Anath

    Thanks for the links :). Along with your other articles here, you have given me enough to read/digest/mull over... till at least the upcoming India tour :)

    Sorry about not looking to 2nd initial of a Simpson - silly stuff by me ! :( (especially having met Reg at centenary test)

    Having perused that list of top 100 innings, I wonder what the rating for Harvey's effort at Durban in 1950 would be ? (test No 320).... if nearby handy, please tell me ? [[ Murray In the original list it was placed past 200, mainly because the South African bowling, sans Tayfield, was quite average and it also turned out to be a comfortable win. But in the refined analysis, currently under process, it is comfortably within the top-75. The bowling and pitch . numbers are far better determined. In many ways tis Test is almost identical to the recent Cape Town Test. 1951: 311, 75, 99, 336/5. 2011: 284, 96, 47, 236/2. What happened during those middle two innings is one of Cricket's great mysteries. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 6, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    @ Waspting (con't)

    A correction on what I said - no pre great war second hand knowledge from people playing in test matches. Of course people debuting in 1920 had seen stuff before (but not from the competitive playing field - my main criteria).

    Sandham in particular was fascinating to me. The first man to have scored a test triple century & a long term batting partner of Hobbs. Then after second world war, coach of perhaps the most dominant County side ever (Surrey of course). His thoughts, having been personally involved in top level cricket from 1911 till late 1950's, I value highly.

    I'm all for a dispassionate and logical discussion. I was actually offended by Bheems original comment. (but am over it)

    Being in an unusual situation of having had invited contact with many past players, I'm more than happy to try to explain ( I write badly) why I'm certain Hobbs was a genius player :).

    To start... are we happy that people since WW2 were real players (in the modern sense) ?

  • Murray Archer on January 6, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    "No. Murray, that is correct. MCG, 1950-51. Australia made 217. Simpson scored a wonderful 156*, coming in at no.3 and England scored 320."

    lol @ me ! was thinking RB Simpson :(. Forgot about Reg. (also was thinking 2nd test - 2 in Melb that series)

    RE : quality of opposition... I believe that was the end of a run of Aust not being beaten in 24 tests - all of them played since 2nd world war.(perhaps more if pre-war counts). They were a pretty good side !

  • Murray Archer on January 5, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    @ Anath

    Thanks - am onto your Wisden ratings now. Very interesting lists !

    Not that I care, but if you're still involved and the Rediff.com list is the official one, there's an error... No 17 listed as :- RT Simpson 156* Eng Aus Melbourne 1950-51

    probably might be 225 V England Adelaide 1966 ? He certainly wasn't playing in 1950/51. [[ No. Murray, that is correct. MCG, 1950-51. Australia made 217. Simpson scored a wonderful 156*, coming in at no.3 and England scored 320. Then the bowlers took over and dismissed England for 197. A wonderful win against a very strong Australian team. Lindwall, Miller, Johnston, Johnson and Iverson. Ananth: ]] [[ By the by you should also read the articles on the 5-Test simulation I had done fr Times of London. C M-J worked with me on that. The links are given below. I did the London Times simulation of matches between an all-time England XI and Rest. Couple of years back I did two articles on that. The links are given below. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par.php http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par_1.php Ananth: ]] As for Bradman's self rating - he was a perfectionist, so was most taken by 254 Lords 1930 ...."every single ball went exactly where I meant it to with the exception of my dismissal. Even then, it was just 2 feet closer to the fieldsman than I had meant". (truly unimaginable stuff to we mortals !) The old timers used to say he was still "dirty" about that catch "the best I've ever seen" 50 years later :) ("don't ask him how he got out Murray" lol)

    The 270 is as good a choice as any!

  • Murray Archer on January 5, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    @ Waspsting

    RE : Bowling pace in Hobbs day and prior.

    I didn't start asking specific questions of ex players till mid 1970's. The earliest players I've interviewed were from the 1920/21 sides. I have no second hand knowledge of Test cricket pre great war.

    Andy Sandham told me that he found FC cricket in England easier after the war. (1914 -1918) Hobbs has been quoted with same opinion. Woolley as late 1938 said the game may never recover from the great war.

    Gregory was probably the fastest bowler until Larwood. "a little slower than Larwood, yet very sharp" Bert Oldfield told me. Larwood was a little quicker than Lindwall almost everyone I've asked has said. I certainly therefore believe that by 1920 people were bowling quite rapidly.

    It's hard to gauge exactly how fast Tom Richardson bowled, but it was appreciably faster than many sometimes considered better - e.g Lohmann, Barnes, Spofforth, Turner etc.

  • Boll on January 5, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    @Bheem, well I was attempting to address one of the points you raised - your arrogant assumption that everyone who voted here was a gullible, brainwashed fool who had done so based on little more than hearsay and propaganda, whose knowledge/experience of cricket was limited, and whose decisions were certainly not based on `real/tangible evidence`.

    re. `Try debating the points or is that too much to ask ?`: how about showing a bit of respect for the people you`re speaking with before you ask the same of others.

  • Waspsting on January 5, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    , though it is suggestive. Pull and defense look good enough.

    Bheem, what do you think?

    --

    more generally re: old video footage... written accounts of Bradman playing "more over and closer to the ball" than anyone don't look AT ALL true to me from what i've seen - and there's enough footage of Don to make a decent assessment.

    By modern standards, he's not particularly compact or solid.

    Hutton (much less footage) looks solid and good to me though.

    Would be most glad to discuss this with anyone willing - it has the potential to blow passionate - i'm thinking of a disapssionate, rational discussion

  • Murray Archer on January 5, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    I am a little surprised that DGB's 270 in Melbourne was rated best ever innings.

    I fully understand in terms of the series it was essential !!!

    Bradman himself once wrote an essay "my ten best centuries" which was published in a book called "middle and leg" produced by the Primary club. - a cricket based charity for charities.

    He suggested "given that I am in a unique position to judge" some others were in his opinion better.

    Point aside - imagine getting a bad or average 270 ? .... too funny ! [[ Murray You probably are not aware that this massive exercise was done by me and Wisden 11 years back. It is possible/probable that this may not be the best innings today since I have done so much more analysis now and am in a far better position to evaluate factors. However if you look at the match situation, pitch condition, when Bradman entered, what happened afterwards, the bowling quality (Voce, Allen, Verity and Robins) and the final result, this is not a bad choice. It better be to keep out 153*, 281, 154, 149 and 188. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on January 5, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    I think Bheem's basic argument boils down to "how do you know how good they were?"

    The honest answer, in the absence of seeing them is "I don't know".

    I think its likely, let alone probable, that "fast" bowling in Hobbs time wouldn't be considered "fast" today - but again, I don't know. I can't know.

    I think how one sees the matter says more about the person than what they're talking about (given most of us haven't seen a lot of these players and can't know one way or another)

    I myself cast doubts on Grace, Trumper, Spofforth, Lohmann, etc.

    So do ALL OF US - otherwise these guys should be in most people's 15 (Lohamann particularly)

    I respect Bheem's opinion, and agree with him to debate logically.

    RE: the video footage of the drive - it looks pretty airy, but I think Bheem's drawn too much from it.

    Sobers, Lara played many wacky drives to overpitched balls - foot nowhere near the ball, weight on the back foot.

    Not possible to conclude anything definite from the one shot (con

  • Ariz khan on January 5, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    @Ananth In your words we can agree to disagree on Hussey, since he is retired we would never be able to see how he would have fared in India and England, my contention was that he won't be lighting firecrackers but I have been proven wrong, many a times - remember Miandad's West Indies tour of 1988.

    I was really sad to hear about Tony and at that time I remembered CMJ and couple of days later heard about is passing - while Tony used to fill life in dead matches CMJ was one of the first commentators to impress me.

  • Murray Archer on January 4, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    @ Dale - excellent example !

    My notes on that match are from one who played in the prior ( there were 2). They saw Headley play that day for the only time. "The class was obvious from the very first ball. Although never trying to play the big shots he had been famous for, he had seemingly all the time in the world. Never looked even slightly troubled."

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/db/PICTURES/CMS/96500/96580.2.jpg

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/372664.html

    40 odd years apart !

  • Engle on January 4, 2013, 22:22 GMT

    @Bheem - There are 2 issues that need to be addressed :

    1. Sight - One cannot rely solely on watching a player perform to judge how good he is. In fact, sight can skew your opinion of a player, where per chance you happened to see a good player have a bad day/series or vice-versa. You would have to accumulate all of the information to judge a player (scorecards, stats, writings)

    2. Technique - If you watched clips of Bradman, Grace, Ranji, V.Richards etc, you would similarly question their technique. It is results that matter, not how you attained them. A 100 years from now, if an amateur boxer watched clips of Ali, he may question his technique as well.

  • dale on January 4, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    In September of 1954 George Headley opened the batting with Roy Marshall(Barbados,WI,Hampshire) for a Commonwealth XI playing against an England XI. Frank Tyson who by all accounts was really fast, opened the bowling for the England XI. According to the English press it was said that Headley (64) and Marshall (59) "tamed Tyson." Tyson had by this time made his debut against Pakistan two months earlier and was getting ready for his now famous exploits against Australia two months later. Headley was 45 years old. Quite a few players truly deserve all the accolades they receive but we should also remember that some writers put pen to paper without any intellectual integrity. However appreciation for the great(truthful) journalists such as CMJ should enable us to measure greatness without any of the preconceived prejudices.

  • Murray Archer on January 3, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    @ Bheem

    I've never seen either Hobbs or Bradman bat. Have known plenty who saw both (mostly from on the same field).

    My father played against Bradman and said "for a guy who couldn't cover drive, they were coming past me fairly rapidly". Watching my father prepare at 67, and by then blind in one eye, for an over 60's tournament in Canada and watching Weekes bat there at same age was end of competitive cricket for me ! When blind 67 yo's drive better than you ever could it's time at 37 to stop !

    By the way I think the propaganda beat up is Gilchrist and McGrath both of who I've played competitively against.

    As for driving.... always myself thought it's about hitting the ball in middle of the bat into gaps. If it were anything about a particular technique, we'd all know Amla for example is a hopeless player ? (ohhh but we saw him middle so many.... must be the new Hobbs ?)

  • Bheem on January 3, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    @Boll it doesnt take much to write a rasping reply. Try debating the points or is that too much to ask ? [[ Bheem I did not want to enter this space but have to come. It is deja vue. A few months back you did the same thing using old footage. You are showing lack of technique of an acknowledged great player by showing clippings. I need not remind you, but a clip compilation of Tendulkar's last 9 HOME dismissals would look like a horror show. I am sure a Youtube link is floating around. A collection of Dravid's Australian tour dismissals would look similar. Similarly some of Ponting's sub-continent dismissals would make him look like a novice. Or Pietersen, the giant, could be made to look like a midget just by unleashing clips of his facing average left arm spinners. As far as the 270 is concerned, what do you know. Your knowledge is also heresay. Do you have any idea about the pitch condition on a pitch where 23 wickets had fallen for 350 runs. I only go by what the scorecard tells. It was a very difficult pitch to bat on on this and other evidences. If you have some unproved pitch metamorphing evidence it is subjective, heresay and should be kept where it belongs. When the 270 was ranked no.1 10 years back, it became the centre of analytical attraction for a week. I was grilled for hours by Wisden/Cricinfo people like Steven Lynch, men better cricket-wise than you and me, on every aspect of the conclusion. We went back and read about the match also. Steven even talked to people who remembered the match. Finally it was accepted and has stood the test of time. You have every right to question that analysis but based on a detailed study of the process and the 12 parameters used and not on some personal whim or heresay evidence or a chip on the shoulders about the brainwashing. The 270 was compared in each of the analytical numbers with the 281, 153*, 154, 149, 188 which were its top-10 competitors and came through. Today when I do the analysis again it might not come on top but I would be very surprised and worried if it went off the top-20. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on January 3, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    @Bheem - first of all thanks for the link to the Jack Hobbs reel...wonderful stuff. Secondly, thanks for exposing the evil propaganda machine in all of its manifestations. As presumably one of the "very few people (to) have the time to do due dilligence(sic)" to assessing cricketing performances over the ages, I also commend you.

    As one of the brainwashed gullible folks, (who`s never had the foresight to seek the truth for themselves) I bow down before your superior insights. You are indeed a Bheem of Light.

  • Bheem on January 3, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    (contd) About the poll...One anomaly I noticed in the poll results is that Jack Hobbs getting more votes than Sunny. Have a look at the technique of Hobbs in this video @5:25 and judge for yourselves : http://www.britishpathe.com/video/the-life-of-jack-hobbs-reel-1

    Again I attribute this to the fruits of the fantastic propaganda machinery that is kept well oiled and well maintained for decades.

    Either that or my understanding of a drive is different from that of people who voted here.

    And before people start getting angry.. yes these are all great cricketers because of who's efforts the game has managed to survive. But my bone of contention is that if you are going to embark on picking the best practitioners of Batting and Bowling do so based on some real tangible evidence where you have actually seen the player display those skills. Picking players based on the no.of column inches of propaganda articles is soo wrong. Unless ofcourse you guys think that is how a drive is played!!

  • Bheem on January 3, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    @Guru It is not fashionable to ignore Bradman. Such is the effect of the brainwashing. I present a live example. Read todays "On This Day" where the writer Eulogizes DGB's 270. In there he states that DGB made those runs on a "rain affected" pitch facing frighteningly fast bowlers. This is just plain brazen embellishement. The truth is that by the time DGB got going the pitch had eased out thanks to the rest day. Less said the better about the pace of bowlers. These are the sort of things that have jacked up DGBs stock. It was very easy to do this back in the day and it is paying rich dividends as even 80yrs later people fall for such stories. Back then readers had no viable option to double check the facts. But the sad thing is even today there are plenty of gullible folks who fall for this sort of reporting. Who is going to stop such people ? Nobody. Very few people have the time to do due dilligence, hence the near 100% for DGB(BTW I did not vote in this exercise lol) (contd..)

  • milpand on January 2, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    From CMJ's last copy: "Tony, charming and gifted, was destined to be the man who controlled the revolution. Already he had made a firm mark as one of the three best England all-rounders starting their careers after the war. Less exalted than Sir Ian Botham and not so cerebral or consistent as Trevor Bailey, he was more like Andrew Flintoff in temperament, but a better player of quick bowling and in a less explosive way just as capable of match-turning spells." [[ How fickle life is. 24 hours after he penned this, someone else had to pen a similar tribute for him. For me CMJ was a constnt companion, often having to refer to his all-time classic: The Complete Who's Who of Test Cricketers. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on January 2, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    John Woodcock on CMJ in The Times: "As a cricket commentator he would bat high in an all-time first XI, alongside such household names as Howard Marshall, E. W. Swanton, John Arlott, Alan Gibson, Rex Alston, Brian Johnston, Peter West, Alan McGilvray and Henry Blofeld, not to mention “Aggers”. His initials — CMJ — were as instantly identifiable as were P. B. H. May’s, D. C. S. Compton’s, M. J. K. Smith’s and very few others. That alone is a mark of his popularity and claim to fame." [[ It is a tragic twist of fate that two wonderful and gifted commentators departed within couple of days of each other: one having written about the other's demise. Ananth: ]]

  • javneet on January 2, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    please post a similar article on odis 15.... [[ Will do. But much later. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on January 2, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    @Ananth, I was a little over the board with my first comment but I seriously think he should have stayed with the team especially till the end of England series. He is a gutsy player and has played some fantastic innings, it's just that he should have given a thought about the status of the Australian batting lineup. Although he is almost 38, but has been playing test cricket for only 8 years, hard to think that he is bored of it. I wouldn't complain about Punter, wasn't playing well, so was a good decision, but Hussey was playing well. I am only asking the question "why"? it's definitely better than asking "why not". Agreed tone wasn't perfect. Irrespective of whether his decision was affected by this but I do think that bowlers in India and England would have posed some problems for him. Its surprising a player who had a good FC performance abroad (England) and only handy one in home domestic cricket, managed to reverse that in test matches.

    Happy New Year to you and every one. [[ Ariz, What does a player do. It is not wrong for Hussey (or any player) to quit when he can still add value to the team. On the other hand it is wrong to continue if a player cannot do any value to the team. If Hussey had gone to India he was honour bound to go to England. With IPL in between (why should he not secure his future), it would have meant a continuous stay away from home of 7 months. He has thought over it. With 4 young kids at home why should he not think of spending time with them. Let us not forget that Hussey, along with Clarke, is the best player of spin in Australia. He has the best soft hands in business today. He would have taken care of the Indian and English spinners very well. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on January 2, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    No need to Anath !

    This article - the original article, and the team brought forward are all incredibly good ! (each one selected even ! )

    Maybe one day we'll have a female cricketer worthy of playing men's test matches (perhaps even doing well ?). If so, will be an interesting time for selectors and administrators lol. :)

    This has been a wonderful experience of memory .... and searching :). Mostly of love... the sort reserved for something we DO closely follow and DO have a great interest in :)

    My VX I picked later, given they got not even one vote here; would rattle most sides ! (most of the great quick bowlers taken - plenty of the others).

    Lots of incredible cricketers! :)))

    No doubt about the XV selected. They are awesome ! Yet I personally thank you for bringing them and others to mind :)

  • Murray Archer on January 1, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    One group we all forgot is the women .....

    I'm sure there's been quite a few good ones , but I know (because she used to practice with us) that Belinda Clark was as good a batsperson as most of the men I played with and against. She had absolutely no fear at all facing men bowling, and played many exquisite shots. (only lacking in brute force ! ) Also the first person to score a double century in a ODI..... quite a player ! She certainly convinced every bloke in those nets, that women's cricket wasn't a joke. [[ Basically I am not very comfortable with writing/analyzing anything which I have not closely followed and have a great interest in. IPL was the exception since I was committed contractually to analyze that. Hopefully not any longer. Ananth: ]] I've heard Rachel Heyhoe_Flint was also an outstanding player.

  • Ariz khan on January 1, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    Hussey: Retirement timing couldn't have been better. With two tough away series round the corner, he did pretty good for himself. [[ That is the first time anyone has even hinted at a negative perception of the retirement. Do you seriously think he would have thought of the "difficult" times ahead in India after seeing the way the Indian spinners were handled by even Prior, Root and Bell. Anyhow he has never been one to walk away from a contest. Quite disappointed with the tone of the comment. If someone retires with a 10-Test average of 60, we seem to find a way to compain. If someone does not retire after a 10-Test average of 25, we complain So what does the player do. Hussey did it perfectly and the way it should be done.. Ananth: ]] But it couldn't have been worse for Australia. With just Clarke being only batsman of repute (although he too becomes a shadow of himself when goes out of sweet home Alabama (read Australia)), rest of the batting is brittle. Would do well to draw a match in India, especially if the home team manages to prepare spinning tracks.

  • alpi on January 1, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    When was this selection done? I missed to send my XV :( [[ Pl go back to last month's article by going into the archives. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on January 1, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    Ananth - You are right about Puchho na Kaise from 'Teri Surat meri Aankhen'...slipped my mind. Composed in raaga 'Ahir Bhairav', its a treat to listen to in the wee hours of the morning. May the tribe of your grandson and others grow, who can still appreciate the classic of yesteryears along with all the new age music of today. Sorry for the diversion from cricket. [[ My grandson is too young to appreciate Manna Dey's classic. But I am sure that, in 10 years time, that song will still remain evergreen and I am sure he would appreciate the same. Ananth: ]] Hussey's exit perhaps indicates that during those years when he was diligently acquiring all those first class runs, he realized something about life and cricket, which is truly humbling. Hats off to him ! Will miss him immensely.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on January 1, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Here is wishing everyone a very happy 2013, and you especially Ananth, since if you have a great 2013, we all are assured of one too... [[ Thanks a lot, Gerry. You guys keep me going. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on December 31, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    And taking about India...the last few years have finally given birth to the paradigm, 'Indian dream'. Despite the ever increasing and widening disparity, the circulation of money currently in India, is unprecedented. And it gives hope to everyone, that by hook and crook, there's a lot to be made. But with expectations and greater expectations, come frustrations and depressions of the very dark kind. I am less worried about the corruption and law and order problem today, I fear what would happen when the growth rate falls further. Every problem in India can be traced back to the 'population to available resource' ratio. And in some ways, just to the size of the population. If one wanted to know what population explosion looks like, one needs to visit India. Like you said, watching cricket in such an atmosphere has become too hard. Despite all the despair, Ananth, your good work is so much appreciated.

  • Som on December 31, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Ananth - Would have loved to discuss the legend Md Rafi, but missed the opportunity. But here are a few of my favorites:

    Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare Din Dhal jaye hai, raat na aaye Puchho na kaise maine raein bitaye Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya Tum jo mil gaye ho, to yeh lagta hai Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai [[ One minor correction. Poocho na kaise is an all-time classic, sung by Manna Dey and picturised on Ashok Kumar. This song overshadowed every other song in the film, Meri Surat Teri Aankhen, including the lovely "Tere bin soone", "Yeh kisne geet cheda", "Nache man mora magan". But what does not matter. My grandson would be able to appreciate these time-less classics. Ananth: ]]

    What an era it was when Rafisaab, Lata, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Asha, Mukesh and others sang to the compositions of Burmans, Shankar Jaikishen, Madan Mohan, Sahir, Shailendra, Gulzar and others...

  • Som on December 31, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    Dear Ananth...Was traveling and couldn't participate any sooner. Thanks for the excellent work on the first and second XV. I am sure, this might have been pointed out before, the only exchange possible is between Hutton and Richards, if one ought to have three openers. And likewise, if one chooses first XI out of the XV, Imran, Ambrose and Richards misses out, with Murli/McGrath being the XII man. While slightly, ironical, as it would exclude the two greatest glamour boys of cricket - Richards, Imran, nevertheless, the remaining XII are surely the one's God's would stop to watch. The top 5, is what would make this team unbeatable, and they come from just two countries - Aus, WI. The greatest cricketer and greatest batsman, followed by the greatest spinner, allrounder, fast bowler and the wicket keeper. Your readers have been ruthlessly critical in assessment in my opinion. Would be hard to beat this ensemble, be it any jury. Wish you and everyone in this blog a very Happy New Year ! [[ Despite all the discordant views, mostly exressed with lots of poise and class, my feeling is that the Final XV was formidable. I accept your point made earlier that my selection might have influenced some of the selections. But what does it matter. It does not matter whether the songs are by Rafi or Manna Dey, those are all-time classics. All these players deserve their place on the pedestal. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 31, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    @ Waspting

    Thanks for the Thommo shoulders history. I "remember" incorrectly more often than look up :( .

    With the close fieldsmen I'd agree, except that today people with no hands can get wickets on rebounds without risking death :(.

    Sid Barnes was famous for being too close, yet on that day I believe he wasn't overly. Solkar was further back usually ? , yet was famous mostly for moving forward ...... That's a very tough catch !

    G Chappell and AB De Villiers (Jamie Siddons - wow) were also excellent in close. I remember Chappell catching a full blooded Chris Old drive there - amazing catch ( believe he broke World record for catches that game)

    I figured everyone has had a bat sandwich ? Not the most pleasant food. A simple construct of sweating palms ( nerves lol ) and a fieldsman being too close ! Served with verve ! Impossible to serve to anyone bearing grilled helmets :(.

    I feel having eaten such, it's wrong any people who don't want to dine, should field there....

  • Murray Archer on December 31, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    "who's lost more in a row than America's cup Challenges" ? "what's perfect one day.... sublime the next, and all out for 48 on the third"?

    lol this is what I had to put up with every day having NSW team mates ! :).(I wouldn't swap them for anything ! ) Unseen memories of NSW V Victoria with Harvey having to bowl about 100 overs, so QLD could lose again, were always vivid !

    When we (QLD) finally did win the shield, we did a few times - thanks Stuart Law !

    All those years of Bill Brown, Ray Lindwall, Wes Hall, Tom Graveney (as captain/coach) Greg Chappell, Majid Khan, Jeff Thomson, Alan Border, Viv Richards, Ian Botham, Greame Hick etc (bound to have missed some) hadn't helped at all :( Amazing game cricket !

    While I see what Ramesh says.... it's still an amazing game, and at least for mine, had taught me much about life, fairness, appreciation of others, and life isn't fair, long before life itself did.

    I am proud of India being outraged! You will certainly succeed. eventually [[ Yes, certainly. If we do not allow these events to be swept under the carpet, we will succeed eventually. Many thanks for your kind words. Murray, Here is wishing you and your family a wonderful, happy and healthy 2013. May the Force with you all always. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on December 31, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    When Sid Barnes was struck by a terrific swipe from Pollard at short leg, accounts of where he was standing are varied.

    its generally conceded that Barnes generally stood closer to the batsman than any other short leg, about 3 yards away.

    English press claimed one foot was actually on the pitch (i've seen footage of Solkar among others, about the same distance away), though Bradman denies this.

    Compton claims Barnes was standing as close as he usually did when hit, Bradman says he was a little further away, about 8 yards

    I tend to believe Bradman, who writes like a reliable person, whereas Compton is highly melodramatic in much of what he says.

    Murray - anyone you know witness the incident can verify?

  • Waspsting on December 31, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    re: protective gear for fieldsman - yes, they can exploit it to field closer than they otherwise would and yes, it looks bad compared to players of yore who who fielded even closer sans the equipment, but...

    I think its best as it is now. No one wants to see players get injured - and those catchers are obviously in danger.

    A bit like batsman and helmets really. We've been talking about how batsmen bat differently because of it - there's no suggestion that helmets be done away with, or a batsmen hit on the head is forced to retire hurt whether he's hurt or not.

    I give fieldsman the same courtesy - they need the protection, and better they exploit it some than risk the type of injury that can otherwise occur.

    Raman Lamba died from blow to the head standing at short leg - i'd hate to see people risking that because they don't want to risk giving away 5 runs for taking a blow to the helmet!

    Interesting discrepancy, Murray maybe you know someone who can verify? (continued)

  • Waspsting on December 31, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Re: Thommo - he injured his shoulder playing lawn tennis before the 6th test of the 74/75 Ashes series. Not a big injury - just enough to keep him out of the test.

    The big injury was the collision 2 years later, which by all accounts, took away the extreme edge he had.

    Even than, he was the fastest bowler in the world - winning the Packer speed contest, and firing in some spells that those who faced claimed to be the quickest they faced e.g Desmond Haynes.

    Imagine how quick he was before the shoulder injury than!

    Knott noted that pre-injury, Thommo's follow through was about 1 pace. After injury, it was considerably longer.

    I'd guess his pace dropped 3 years after the collision for the same reason any express bowlers does... you only have about 3 years to keep up that 95 mph type pace before physically it disappears.

  • Murray Archer on December 31, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @ Anath

    ROFL .... was going to go to the very top and offer Hussey along with Bollinger, Hilfenhaus, Bailey and even Bichel in perpetuity to Super Kings :).... ( we might need Rixon lol)

    Surely the Pepsi man can find a batsman or two for us ?

    Seriously ... I like the look of Joe Burns as a young batsman. (we sure need a few to stand up). [[ Where is Joe. Is he at least in the selectors' radar. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 31, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    @ Gerry

    Re : Thommo.

    I'm not exactly sure - he lost that extreme edge earlier than Packer started though. (and ...he didn't join Packer till at least 2nd year ?)

    Sometimes, after that, he tried to bowl like normal people (with control) and it wasn't too good ! From memory he did his shoulder twice - once in a mid pitch collision with Turner and again playing tennis years later. (his out field throwing originally was to die for !)

    @ Anath Harris coming back from shoulder surgery, Cummins out for season with back fractures, Pattinson & Hilfenhaus - side strains, Hazelwood fractured foot, Copeland hamstring/knee, even Hastings is hurt ! Cutting gets hurt even before being in " the setup" too.

    Add to that Watson, McDonald and Mitch Marsh .... (the potential 5ths) & Holland :(

    I have no idea what's going on .... but lol Starc seemed pretty confused the other day too ! (selectors can't cope with fit bowlers ?).

    Picking the right few if they're ever all fit will be a challenge ! [[ Murray, please make sure that when you do the exchange, select the fast bowlers who are more off than on and select batsmen who are competent and have not earned the IPL millions !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 31, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Ananth,

    The tragedy of the rape victim in India reflects sorry state of affairs in our society. So many similar incidents are tumbling out every day.Male domination, increasing economic disparities and adverse gender ratio paint a gloomy picture to the state, GDP growth notwithstanding. Many such incidents are reminding us that life is more complex and important than a cricket game and this so called obsession on Cricket and its heroes make us out of sync with the real world and would do no good. Even the simple pleasure of watching a game is lost on our fights on trivialities about the players. [[ In my opinion we are moving so fast towards advancement on economic fronts we are losing sight of the fact that the rural areas are ignored and the fruits of liberalization/economic reforms reach barely 10% of the public. We have not kept our feet on ground. The maid was better off getting Rs.100 p.m. than now when she gets Rs.1000 p.m. because the essential prices have gone up 20-fold. This automatically leads to crime at different levels. What happened was in Delhi. What about the remote villages/towns of Haryana where "Khap Panchayat" still rules. There is no state which is free of such prejudices and male domination. Kerala, which is supposed to be a matriachal society, has seen an increased number of crimes against women. The media covers these events and protests non-stop for days and then move on. These are forgotten. The less said about movies/television shows, the better. Maybe the wrong platform but I feel so strongly about it. These are the times when I see red, hearing "a billion hearts beating for that single century" or seeing every cricket contest portrayed as war or portraying cricket as religion and xyz as God. Enough is enough. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 31, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    Gerry....Atleast in Ashes series and against India in '77, I recollect that Thomson was not express pace though he took wickets. Thomson was effective as shock/stock bowler. When he was forced to bowl long spells in absence of his well known partners his effectiveness came down. There were reports that Pascoe was faster in some spells.

    Ananth...On retirements, it is boiling down to how a player feels upto it to manage the work schedule and his priorities. It has generally nothing to do with the team's interests, though we get sound bites to that effect. Australian system and how players take it are generally superior to Indian in this regard. But they have also made exceptions-Ponting has averaged below 50 in every year from 2007. That is 6 long years. They would have felt that Ponting continued to be amongst the best 6 batsmen in the team and he should be selected(rightly so). Nothing like India though as it is more of a circus here.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 31, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    So Murray, what exactly happened to Thommo in 1979? Why did his pace drop so suddenly - he was just about on the brisk side of fast medium in 1980 at age 28, though he had been very fast in West Indies 1977-78, then Packer 1978-79 etc. If it was only the shoulder injury that led to a drop in pace, why did it happen 3 years after the injury? Sounds a bit tough to believe...

  • Murray Archer on December 31, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    Re Thommo

    Most of you will not understand being a Queenslander lol (the NSW schoolboy selectors certainly didn't understand me refusing to play against QLD ! ).

    Those that watch rugby league "State of Origin" may get it slightly better? Reality is, we (QLD) always thought we were deficient !

    Once again in 1973/4, Qld would most definitely win the Sheffield Shield! All we had to do, was not lose outright to NSW.... given we'd bought Greg Chappell and Majid Khan this should be easy ! ....... crying about Jeff Thomson happened earlier for Qlder's ! OMG WOW, was Thommo awesome that day !

    No surprise to us (QLD'ers) he was in test side soon after, and destroying everyone ! This is what happened when being a Qld supporter back then ! lol :)

    Next year QLD naturally bought Thommo..... "We can't pick him if he bowls like this" the non-playing selectors said. Greg Chappell said "If we pick him bowling like this, we'll get 10 run-outs !".

    I've never seen anything like those few years !

  • Murray Archer on December 31, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    "I would be most reluctant to imagine that better protection has led to poorer technique...not for everybody."

    I would never suggest it has ! I however though, strongly believe it has led to a different technique. The different technique has allowed for more batsman domination I believe. Not necessarily more runs; yet more ability to score them in a more dominant manner (even if not actually faster).

    Crashing the bowler back past them "leaning" on a heavy bat, is a bit different to actually hitting them down the ground :) ? As waiting up, late and deep, to squeeze some runs out, (using pace) is different to hitting balls away :).

    I think batting has changed :) (no way has it got worse - is just different)

  • Murray Archer on December 31, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    RE Hussey retirement cont'd

    So to my Indian friends I propose a swap :) lol.

    Please choose a couple of un-needed Aussie pace bowlers ( as if we knew who's un-needed lol). May we then choose a Rohit and some other totally unwanted middle order batsman ? :) Or if feeling a shortage in middle order, Rahane and Chand ? - Take 3 bowlers ..... ROFL ! :)

    Cricket's a funny game ! :))) [[ You are being too unambitious. We would exchange Rohit, much overrated batsman in my opinion, for anyone. You should at least insist on Rahane. But what is the scene on Cummins and Pattinson. They seem to be off more than on. They do not seem to have half the staying power of Siddle. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 31, 2012, 0:19 GMT

    RE Hussey retirement.

    The Aust cricket side started the summer with a major batting problem. They only had 3 proper batsmen. One (Ponting) had been struggling, yet had seemingly prepared perfectly. It didn't work, and quite rightly he retired. So one down and two to play....

    Mike Hussey retires = panic stations !

    Watson having just proven AGAIN, he can not concentrate long enough to have even battled to a test century :( ( how can he not have converted that one ?)

    No doubt Khawaja comes in, and deservedly. He has talent and despite being an overly four hitter and horrible fieldsman, he'll join Hughes as being the same.

    I hope that Clarke does not become another Border. (It's hard to have enough bravery to play properly when no-one else in your side can ! ) I fear now that he may :(.

    I wish Mitchell Marsh were fit to be the "pluck out S Waugh type" we saw back then.

    Maxwell, Smith etc will no doubt be assessed. Can they do anything except certainly field "drool" well enough!

  • Murray Archer on December 30, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    Gerry, :)

    Yes they were hit a bit more often than you'd expect. I don't think M Waugh played them too well though either - he was the first I noticed looking at the keeper regularly (it worries me no end). Surely Langer was the worst - looked like Alan Gilzean in a Spurs game lol.

    Saeed Anwar :) - you can't believe how long he stayed considered in my XV !

    I guess what I'm talking about would be as much to do with proper gloves (although Sri Lanka need an upgrade), thigh guards, back thigh guards, rib guards and arm guards. Also in my home town, Brisbane, there were uncovered wickets and lots of thunderstorms....... pushing forward was just not an option !

    Likewise I don't believe fieldsmen should be allowed any closer than if not wearing protective gear. Didn't stop Solkar ! Also never saw Ponting for example armoring up to get under someone's nose. I'd like to see 5 runs and dead ball when it hits a close fieldsman's protective gear.

  • Waspsting on December 30, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    but what did he do wrong? he played the way he played, under the rules that were around - good for him. [[ In 1964, when Nadkarni bowled his famous 32-27-5-0 spell, Barrington and Bolus would have padded away at least 50% of the deliveries. Defensive mindsets ruled the day. Today a batsman can pad away those trying to on the rough and/or bowling around the stumps. If these have to hit the stumps, they have to pitched outside the leg stump. If these are pitched in line they will miss the stumps. I think they should remove the pitching outside leg stump restriction. Ananth: ]] Its like if in 50 years they do away with the pitching outside leg clause of the LBW law, those fans will deride the players of today - and how they coped with say, Warne from around the wicket.

    On other hand, i think there some standard of classiness or "spirit of the game" that is GENERALLY understood by followers of the game

    May and Cowdrey padded up to Ramadin with bat behind pad... in the rules and successful, but i think people even than felt it "wasn't cricket" (bodyline another example)

    In conclusion... not sure how to adjust for x vs y comparisons, where x and y played under different rules, norms, etc.

    Agree with Ananth, its not as easy as just looking at the averages.

    Can't blame a guy for utilizing the rules, but certain aspects of it seem to me to violate a subjective "spirit" of cricket, and that I think we can count in our assessments(?) [[ The only sure way is to use peer averages and see how much better a player was ahead of his peers across his career. That is why I think my best piece of analysis was when I did a peer comparison across the exact player career since there was no loophole there at all. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on December 30, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    @Gerry & Murray - I'm mixed on this.

    I agree with the broader and logical expansion of Murray's point; we judge players according to the situation they found themselves in (covered pitches, bouncer rules, fielding restrictions, helmets etc.)

    Lara and Tendulkar as we know them perhaps wouldn't even have batted as they did under different circumstances - i'm not going to snipe them for it.

    I agree with Gerry, too - these two, particularly Lara, would have had a harder time of it than many un-helmeted (but they wouldn't even be the same player as the ones we know)

    one counter-example of my own opinion in such matters.

    Sutcliffe batted under old LBW law, and utilized it as no one else had before. Went back and across, squared himself up and let go anything outside off stump.

    If it came in, pads save him. if it goes away, no shot offered so no nick.

    I find this SO DISTASTEFUL that I am loath to rate him amongst the greatest, stats nothwithstanding (continued)

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 30, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Murray, tempting as it is to sweep the "headers" under the "growing up with helmets" carpet, I disagree.

    These two in particular would have been found out in the '70s.

    My reasoning is quite simple - Gilchrist, Inzamam, Ponting (except for the 2005 Harmison episode), Saeed Anwar (who has a terrific record against the FULL strength Australian attacks), Laxman, Pietersen, Gooch, M Waugh, Richardson (who was born in the helmet era but did not wear one till his last series), Dravid etc. just were better players of fast bowling, had better techniques against the short ball, and were more successful in avoiding getting hit on the head for good reason.

    I would be most reluctant to imagine that better protection has led to poorer technique...not for everybody.

  • Murray Archer on December 30, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    @ Waspting

    RE : Helmets. I agree with what you say, and nice to see Bert Sutcliffe mentioned here :).

    I think though that looking back say pre-war2 and on, the whole art of batting and how to approach it has changed due to better protective equipment. Also aided to a degree by better pitches. Originally the good players all played mainly back and played very late. Because they wanted to play so late, they used very light and thin handled bats. These players would very infrequently be hit anywhere let alone the head. They played back deep in their crease and played very late at the ball.

    Modern players "push" at the ball with a very heavy and fat handled bat. They stand to short ones they're not even attacking. They also look away ( it honestly scares me). These traits are surely at least partially because of growing up with protective equipment ?

    Therefore maybe say Lara and Tendulkar would have batted differently if pre-helmet and not been in those positions as to get hit ?

  • Murray Archer on December 30, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    Sad to hear of Tony Greig passing on. He was a fine player, and had a big hand in changing the game in terms of players rights/remuneration. [[ A colourful and forceful personality. Never hesitated to express an opinion. Ananth: ]] Sadder to hear of the news from India. [[ In India's patriachal society very little will change. In a country where the politicians say that a woman invites trouble if she wears jeans or skirts and a set of politicians who have not passed a women's reservation bill for decades, nothing will happen. It is the same as America. However many awful and horrible shooting incidents take place, the gun lobby would not allow the laws to be changed. The male-dominated Indian society is unlikely to effect major changes. The only ray of hope this time is that I see the anger in people across the spectrum. It is being percieved as a crime against humanity and scociety not women. Ananth: ]] In too much shock and worry to respond yet to Hussey's announcement. [[ Too much of a gentleman. If he went to India he would have to go to England. And then the home Ashes series would come in. In between IPL also. He probably percieved the Ashes tour as more difficult than the Indian tour and wanted his replacement to learn the nuances of the no.6 position in India. But with his level of fitness and playing skills, he would be a shoo-in for IPL and BBL. And as articlualte as he is, he would be a welcome addition to the media team. Gentlemen like Hussey come like "Kurinji flower", an Indian variety which flowers once in 12 years. Ananth: ]]

  • dale on December 29, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    This is an appreciation of Tony Grieg. Only Sobers 86.4/2.5 and Faulkner 70.2/3.28 bested Grieg 62.1/2.43 as far as scoring more runs per test while taking more wickets per test (in combination) Tony Grieg is also the 4th most likely player to perform well with both bat and ball %wise in the same match(using Ananth's performance values) behind Sobers 25.8,Chris Cairns 19.3 and Keith Miller 18.1 (ahead of Botham 13.7) He had two outstanding series: (1)73/74 v West Indies produced 430 runs, 24 wickets and 7 catches (2)74/75 v Australia (6 tests)446 runs,17 wickets and 12 catches His 1.50 catches per match excluding wicketkeepers is among the highest in cricket history. Finally he played a pivotal role in reducing or wresting the control of cricket from the "Establishment" by virtue of his direct involvement with Packer/WSC. He should probably be included in the top 15 Test allrounders of all time despite his short career of 6 active years inclusive (72-77). [[ I would change it to top-10. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on December 29, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    A day of multiple bad news. First the Delhi rape victim who fought hard for 2 weeks after the vicious assault on her, dies at Singapore. She galvanized the nation to protest in a single voice to change the poor and weak rape laws. No one outside knows her name. But Braveheart fits her well. She would never know how much her fight for survival became the only news for two weeks. With eyes which are moist I light a candle for her. Then comes the news of Tony Greig's death. A towering and impressive personality with a special rapport with the Indian public, which was totally reciprocated, he will be missed by all. Even when he was diagnosed with cancer in October, no one could imagine he would go away with a sudden heart attack. Maybe he wanted to leave as he played and commentated. Tony you will be sorely missed by all cricket followers. Finally the retirement news of Mike Hussey. A gentlemen to the core, professional to the core, never involved in any controversy of any nature, he will be the one guy who is going to be asked the question "Why now?". Even Ponting probably felt the heat. Not Mike. Recently he was the second best batsman after Clarke. My 2012 summary says that he scored 898 runs at 59.87. Retirement indicator??? No, certainly not. Mike, you will never know how much your zinc-cream-applied face will be missed. The Cricket scene will be poorer without you coming in at no.6. And there is no replacement for you in sight. You have to hand it to the Australians. Not one player overstays his time. Probably the tough way in which they play also conceals a clear uncluttered mind which sends the "It is time to let the fat lady sing" message, well before the call comes form outside. Lessons for all to follow.

  • Ranga on December 29, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    Between Steve and Mark, I would still not say Steve was more plucky. Mark did play some wonderful innings under pressure against tough bowling in difficult situations. He didn't score big nor did he make the pitch appear as it really was. He was an artist painting wonderful pictures called runs using a wand called bat. So you would feel that he was careless or inconsiderate. But in reality he played so.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 29, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    My favourite memory of Greig is during his century innings in '76. I don't remember who was fielding at forward short leg, but was a pretty short fielder. Greig had a habit of holding his pose after every shot. In this instance, Bedi bowled a real fizzer, and Greig who had been having trouble getting him away, tried a forceful cover drive. He did not get hold of it, and after taking the edge of his bat the ball spun wildly, but round-and-round about his feet. I remember the forward short leg fielder try to grab the spinning ball as it moved, crawling between Greig's legs. Made for hilarious viewing, since Greig would not move.

    Tough to say who was better between the Waughs. I disregard style, since against Marshall/Lillee/Holding, batsmen did not go on beauty parades. M Waugh was more Gower than Martyn, and would not buckle against top pace. But he would not really hook or pull, neither would Steve.

    In the end, captaincy lifted Steve to a higher stature, and I picked him in my XV.

  • Waspsting on December 29, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    re: helmets - the biggest difference that it makes IMO is what it does for how a player plays after being hit.

    Sans helmet, you take a blow on the head (and say it doesn't injury you so badly that you have to quit cricket) - how do you play when you come back?

    Can you still get behind the line of the ball? can you play forward to the fast bowlers if they pitch up, putting aside the fear of the short one? - (and if you can't, you probably won't get enough runs to keep your place). Bert Sutcliffe couldn't - and that was that for him

    If you do and take another blow on the head, what happens to your career than? blow 3 after that, what then?

    The number of blows Lara and Tendulkar took to helmet - no unhelmeted player could have lived through them - much less continue playing cricket.

    I prefer to credit the pre-helmeted players rather than detract from the moderns, but its a tough one to adjust for. (can't hold it against the moderns for wearing one - who wouldn't, Viv aside?) [[ My point is also to tell people that averages should not be blindly compared. However there is no doubting the fact that the greats of any era would have adjusted to any other era. That is why they are called great. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on December 29, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    @Gerry Yes Gerry, I knew that it wouldn't surprise you. Despite our radical about Sunny and Tendukar, we may still live in some harmony. Would be curious to see what you and others have to say about Waugh brothers. I have tonnes to unload, but would probably hold it till morning.

  • Dinesh on December 29, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    He along with Richie Benaud made cricket commentary as Iconic as it could get.

    Videos of Sachin's Sharjah tons would have lost a bit of lustre had it not been for Grieg's Voice.

    He went away like he did commentary. Going..Going..Gone..

    RIP Tony Greig !! :( [[ Yes, a great character. Strong in his views but a fair commentator. His recent advice to BCCI was worth its weight in gold. I have met him only once. We had gone to Oberoi in Bangalore to pick up Greig and Boycott for a Television program. The make-up girl had poked Boycott's nose, with her ring, while applying make-up and Boycott was bleeding. Boycott was furious and was seriously telling her off in his Yorkshire accent. Greig made hay while the sun shined. He ribbed Boycott mercilessly. He told Boycott that it was now proved that Boycott's blood was red, not blue. He told Boycott that no fast bowler had made him bleed but one tiny girl (she was tiny, in front of Greig) could do it. I could not resist taking a pot shot at Greig and told that "this girl could also make anyone grovel". He took it sportingly and asked me not to remind him of those big thugs who took his words seriously and made his life miserable. Finally a band-aid was fixed and the Television program was shot making sure that the bandaged nose was hidden. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 29, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    RE : S Waugh

    Despite him eventually becoming a terrible and therefore noteworthy Cricketer :- Steve as a youngster was an "I can do anything" player ... The fact he chose to become less, in order to "succeed" in a bigger game, is something for him and his fans.

    There's been many the opposite - Imagine how well Walters or Miller or Hassett or Bill Edrich (many others) would go with modern "group" behavior modification and required practice guidelines :)

    I'd take Alan Border second, (for sheer bloody mindedness :)) (Bradman's in front of everything lol). (Dravid - as always very quietly - nearby : ) )

  • Murray Archer on December 29, 2012, 1:33 GMT

    :) Myths and reality and further myths

    Being "Mengelish" excluded; who was a better player between Steve and Mark Waugh ? Almost everyone I know who played them as youngsters in underage or grade cricket would say Mark. ( Batted, bowled and fielded better !) My eyes tell me that even in Test cricket it was Mark.

    Yet my reading eyes tell me it was Steve - strange.....

    Was Steve really a better cricketer than Mark ? I know, when I'm now about to hear he was; I'll slowly chuckle myself to death. (probably not - I'm used to it lol)

    Stubbornness is one thing, yet a CC McDonald, Rick McCosker, or similar to be considered in one of the XV best of all time ? (not like Alan Border wasn't clearly better ! ? ) (When even his(Steve's) twin brother looked a million miles in front? ).

    S. Waugh is now a "legend" - wow !

    S Waugh was always out of teams like this for mine ! (even with excluding the tail exposure for personal red inks).

    Very relieved he didn't make even 2nd VX here ! [[ I think many people include Steve for his never-say-die spirit, captaincy skills and bloody-mindedness. On pure skills there are many who are ahead of Steve. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 29, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    RE : Helmets

    Dale is quite correct ! First I ever saw was a branded SP motor bike helmet worn by Grieg in WSC.

    Thommo definitely created the market (should have a percentage !). Those two years '74/75 and '75/76 were literally deadly !!

    Against WI he was "not right ? same anyway - uncontrolled rockets" during first two matches. Yet even memories of the England horror, vanished in the Melbourne and Sydney matches ! He literally "Killed" (attempted murder only ! .... thankfully.) the series !

    I know Greg batted well that year, but Thommo !!!!!! OMG.... was standout for mine (Clive LLoyd , yeah as always....Andy Roberts wow ! Holding ... purrrr, Lawrence Rowe - how unlucky ! and this counter attacking (I'll not be destroyed) kid Richards - looked good.

    The West Indians were more mentally destroyed than any side I've ever seen !

    All due credit to likes of Richards in particular, LLoyd, Holding et al to turn that into hunger and dominance !!!!! :)

  • Ariz khan on December 28, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    @ Ananth My bad, I knew that you had done for all the innings for all the players, your all time batsmen and bowler's ratings just slipped out of my mind. I was just curious how it would look as of today. It would be great if cricinfo could incorporate this algorithm in statsguru. [[ It is one of my forthcoming major projects. How to present it is a difficult question for which I have no good answers now. Not really possible. Cricinfo cannot do it. It is too complex an algorithm. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on December 28, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    Absolutely Ranga, That's the whole point, a balanced perspective - strengths with rooms for flaws, that's where Ananth's analysis becomes very important. Ryan ten Doeschate has over 1500 runs @67 and 55 wickets at 24. He is 32 and if he retires with similar averages then aren't we going to look at his records against each and every opponents especially against test playing countries (excl Zimb/Bang). I mean it can not be ignored that its not his fault! Now that you have brought "X", you can check for "Y" and what he has done against SA with or without Donald. A batting avg of 34 and 68 respectively. Ananth's innings rating for Wisden 100 were a lot better, if he did it for all the innings of all players then it would evaporate lot of myths, including some of mine. would not be perfect but would be better than plain averages. [[ Dear friend, Ariz How can I ever determine the top-100 without doing the Ratings work for ALL the innings. I cannot have artificial constraints such as above 100 since maybe an innings below 100 might be in the top-100. So I did for all the innings and got the top-100. In fact when I did the Top Batsmen/Bowlers analysis for Wisden, one of the parameters was the average of the Innings/innspell Rating points. Ananth: ]]

  • dale on December 28, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    The Lillee/Thomson duo is certainly hard to beat for sheer intimidation. Thomson especially bowled with the express intention to hit and inflict pain. I know that all the WI players were uncomfortable facing Thomson because of his speed and steep bounce and the fact that he seemed to enjoy hitting them more than actually taking their wickets. Richards and Lloyd did not back down from the fire but they certainly had the utmost respect for Lillee/Thomson.

  • dale on December 28, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    Re: Helmets - Graham Yallop of Australia was the first batsman to wear a helmet in Test cricket. He started wearing one during the 1978 series against West Indies. During the WI 1st inning of the 2nd Test of this series (Barbados) Thomson inflicted numerous frightening blows to the WI batsmen including Greenidge,Haynes,Kallicharran and Richards. Richards of course decided to fight fire with fire and had a stirring duel with Thomson(6/77) before being dismissed by him off a top edged hook after taking 19 runs from the over. It was after this match it was revealed that Derryck Murray was dropped (WSC involvement)and Lloyd in protest stepped down as player/captain . The other top players followed Lloyd.Of course they all went to participate in Packer's WSC.

  • Ranga on December 28, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    To give credit where it is due, Ariz Khan has really put forward quite a lot of insightful observations "But tell me who is perfect, Hadlee? Akram? Marshall? Lillee? None. Everybody had some chink, if we consider only flaws and ignore the their strengths then we would be left with nothing.". Quite true. Everyone had ups and downs and to put someone down by citing their downward spirals is probably not doing justice to the game. If everyone averaged like the great Don, then there is no charm in cricket. If everyone batted with 50+ averages, would you care to enjoy Mark Waugh/GRV/ VVS? (not a moment suggesting that these were the same just because I took their names in the same line). The charm of the game is when a great falls and rises again. And one more thing, we can gauge someone only by what is available. We can't say, "X scored when McGrath wasnt in the team". That wasnt his problem. However, if X had scored a reasonable amount of runs when McGrath was in, respect him.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 28, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    Ariz Khan, about Imran skipping easy opponents, great to see this highlighted. Also, Imran thrice took 10+ wickets in a match overseas against tough opposition. Not too many have done that.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 28, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    As far as I know, helmets came about in Kerry Packer, who wanted his players to be involved in a gladiatorial environment but was paying them to keep standing and not retire hurt.

    In Kerry Packer cricket, many batsmen were hit, as per Imran's writings, so numerous were the quicks.

    When the superstars came back to Test cricket, they simply came back with their helmets. I would guess that ICC meant England and Australia, and since they were at the receiving end of Windies 4 quicks, they (and hence ICC) would not have had objections to helmets.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 28, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Ramesh, in that post i wrongly mentioned 0.48. It should have been 0.38.

    Bradman may have missed out a few, but reading about everyone that has been written about, and trusting people (knowledgeable commentators) to judge who is fast (even if they did not have Bradman's batting abilities), I feel that Shoaib Akhtar, Thommo and Patrick Patterson may well have been the fastest ever, with Holding almost there.

    After shoulder injury in 1976-77 he returned in '77-78. His battle with Viv Richards as part of the packer-depleted Aussie team is legendary. This was in the 1978 Barbados test, where he shot out the full strength WI team taking 6/50.

    Hence in 1977-78 his pace was certainly not below his best, though observers say that his fastest was 1974-75 vs England.

    After 77-78 I dont know what exactly happened to him but 1) he won the fastest bowler competition in 1979 easily but by 2) 1980 (only 28 years of age), he had slowed down considerably.

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 28, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Gerry…That video was indeed frightening. 1974-75 series against Eng was Thommo special. Getting out must be an easier option. I remember one of the tests in that series (Perth, I think) where Eng players were bruised and battered. There was a story where he had mentioned that he would like to hit the players rather than taking wickets. Not sure whether the story was true.

    Incidently, how the helmets came about? I am aware that Yallop/Amiss started the use in late 70s. Were they done with ICC rule change?

    Shrikanthk…Thommo was effective only for limited period till his shoulder injury and after that he became less threatening and more inconsistent. This might have influenced Don. Missing out Holding was a surprise. He bowled very effective wicket taking bouncers. Probably Don had limited view of Holding bowling success.

  • Ariz khan on December 28, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    Cont.. But this not war where one has to win by all means. In the last 10 years with access to internet and interacting with many people, lots of my thoughts have changed, some drastically. Although I consider Imran to be best fast bowler from Pak and thus Asia, there is no denying the fact he wasn't the greatest in the world, but is certainly one of the greatest that I have seen in last 30 years or so. When I think about Imran/Hadlee/Lillee/Marshall/Holding/Ambrose/Mcgrath/Donald/Steyn or even Waqar (only 3-4 years) at their peak everybody seem to be better than other. That puts one in a dilemma as to whom to be considered the best? My pick generally is Marshall and then Mcgrath, can't decide on 3rd! I will not mind much someone picks any other from the list. The problem comes only when one says that a Marshall or Hadlee or a Lillee was FAR FAR better than xyz or vice versa.

  • Ariz khan on December 28, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    Although I completely agree about Imran-in-hiding, I also can not ignore the fact that he skipped a few easy-pickings series and mostly played against tougher series. At a time when some of legendary players refused to tour or some have retired just before Windies series – To Give Chance to Younsgters – he was the one who came out of retirement, to lead Pak to Windies, and he did reasonably well there, didn't he? In a later post Engle pointed out that Imran bested Marshall and Hadlee whenever they played together! I haven't checked it but could be true (statistically). I can refute by pointing out your post in case of Marshall and by saying that Hadlee had to bowl tougher batting lineup to bowl at as compared to Imran. I can also bring out many stats refuting each every one of your objections even for Imran's captaincy but whom I be fooling? More than you, I will be fooling myself. See the beauty of argument is you are never wrong if you argue correctly (from a movie). Cont..

  • Ariz khan on December 28, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    @B.C.G. I am becoming more of a Imran fanboy :(

    What you wrote about Imran in your first post, I for a second I thought that you have copy-pasted one of my posts, I think I have made similar comments about Imran-in-hiding somewhere. Those 50% tailenders wicket would lead one to think that he must be having disproportionate number tailenders wickets. The avg of batsmen he dismissed was 29.90, Hadlee 29.55, and Akram 26.34. Just to add to it for Marshall it was 30.49 and Mcgrath it was 29.79. So Imran sits pretty well with these. Just to make the facts straight, Akram averaged 24.91 (and not 27 as you mentioned) as against Imran's 24.43, in the matches they played together and Imran captained. Qadir did average 37 in Imran's captaincy. But tell me who is perfect, Hadlee? Akram? Marshall? Lillee? None. Everybody had some chink, if we consider only flaws and ignore the their strengths then we would be left with nothing. Cont..

  • shrikanthk on December 28, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    Who bowled the best bouncer? I've seen - Marshall and Donald are the two standouts.

    Wasp: Talking of Marshall, I recently stumbled upon an article penned by Don Bradman in 1986 Wisden, in which he implies that the three fastest bowlers he has ever seen (till '86 ofcourse) are Tyson, Marshall and Larwood.

    Interesting :) No mention of Thommo and Holding.

  • Ariz khan on December 28, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    Cont...

    Boycott 54.62 De Silva 54.33 Harvey 54.21 Viv Richards 52.43 Compton 51.45 Border 51.38 Kirsten 51.35 Gower 51.15 Reid 49.50 Langer 48.41 Morris 47.21 Trumper 46.40 Haynes 45.92 Gavaskar 43.97 McCabe 43.89 PBH May 40.10 Gayle 37.51 Hanif 23.75 Bland 17.00

    Some amazing numbers.

  • Ariz khan on December 28, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    Ananth, Although averages in the victories can not be taken as an absolute measure of a batsman (one example is Inzy - his Win averages are bloated by the fact he lost almost all matches against Aust/SA - where he mostly failed), but nonetheless it represents something, a value to the team. So I took the averages of all the pure batsmen from the teams submitted. I have also included Gilly/Flower/Sobers/Sanga, as they all qualify as pure bat.

    Win avgs

    Bradman 130.08 Headley 95.75 Flower 84.50 RG Pollock 84.14 Walcott 79.50 Inzamam 78.16 Sobers 77.42 Sangakkara 74.33 Worrell 74.15 BA Richards 72.57 SG Barnes 70.76 Chappell 70.49 Hammond 69.83 Steve Waugh 69.46 Hobbs 68.00 Ranjit 67.33 Weekes 66.80 Dravid 65.78 Hutton 65.31 Kallis 64.98 Tendulkar 64.43 Barrington 64.41 Sutcliffe 62.97 Hussey 61.77 Lara 61.02 Cook 60.94 Paynter 60.10 Amla 59.93 Javed 59.65 Ponting 59.46 Lloyd 58.54 Sehwag 56.90 Gooch 56.73 Laxman 55.90 Hayden 55.44 Crowe 55.40 Gilchrist 54.83 Greenidge 54.74

    cont...

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 28, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    Shrikanthk, agree on the merit and value of Swann's classicism. Also with the excellent comment that the players in an all-time XI must be ligitimate in all eras. I can never contemplate voting for Saqlain, Murali, Harbhajan, Ajmal in all-time XIs.

    But I definitely support doosras, 15% flexing of the elbow, and these "elbow spinners" simply because while it may not have been legitimate in earlier eras, it is badly needed in today's utterly batsman friendly climate. Wickets more often than not dont have juice (even Perth), bats are far better in the last 10 years, boundaries are shorter, bouncers are restricted, and complaints about doosras and 15% must just be "elbowed" out.

  • shrikanthk on December 28, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    However in the last 20 years, there have been three equally good, and arguably better offspinners apart from the peerless Murali- Saqlain, Harbhajan and Ajmal

    I was referring to the best finger spinners of the past 20 years. Murali is not a finger spinner. Ajmal may also be regarded as a wrist spinner.

    Saqlain and Harbhajan - fine bowlers. But Swann has done well in a wider range of conditions.

    Also I am not a fan of "doosra" bowlers. Ideally players in an all-time XV should be able to bowl legally in all eras. Just my personal preference. Expect nobody else to share my views.

  • Sree on December 27, 2012, 21:33 GMT

    @Shri

    Swann is an excellent bowler, I agree. I also agree that he is a clever bowler. However in the last 20 years, there have been three equally good, and arguably better offspinners apart from the peerless Murali- Saqlain, Harbhajan and Ajmal. And in Swann's case, his consistency is perhaps what may be held against him. He didnt have a single bad series but he has never really transcended the conditions and the opposition as the rest of his peers have either. I am struggling to recollect offhand a single series that he has really dominated.

    In his defence, he has given a new dimension to the English seam attack and made it complete. In my opinion, Swann has been a consummate professional, a craftsman of the highest skill but falls short of being a real artist.

    @Ananth

    I am sorry if my post came across a tad harsh. I love the discussions here and was merely wondering if we are being a bit premature in anointing Swann as a great. [[ Sree Swann is comparable to the two other off-spinners you have mantioned. He doe not have a doosra but makes up for it with a perfect off-spinners' armoury. He is certainly worthy of beng considered for a position in the second XV. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 27, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cukAdBEpMs

    Watch from 0.48. When the 6 byes are done with, (if you dont get sickened by violence) skip to 6.00

    6.00 onwards it is positively frightening. Definitely not for the weak hearted.

    Even Rod Marsh seems to be in need of a helmet.

  • Murray Archer on December 27, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    @ Ramesh Kumar

    I agree with you ! I tried batting in a helmet once and it felt all wrong. I'm pretty sure kids growing up wearing them it'd feel wrong without ?

    I don't believe the batsmen having better protective gear would bat worse without, if they'd spent they're whole lives without.

    It's pretty clear though that people bat differently because they have it ? Is "walking forward" and playing forward to everything, a sign of only improved pitches ?

    BTW everyone got me wrong if they think I don't rate Sunny. Having Lillee as a nemisis (no bounce or pace required) is surely nothing compared to Ponting having Harbi ?

  • Murray Archer on December 27, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    "No one, I repeat no one, can equate the modern, protected-like-a-spaceman, batsmanship with the 1970s when the batsmen went on about their dangerous task of facing the 4 fast bowlers, OK, at times 3, with nothing better than an ill-designed box and a straw hat."

    Dennis Amiss ?.... I believe he'd had a great year prior to this.

    Here he is, having a short relaxing holiday between Lillee dismissals in 1974/'5 ; -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8tFgtzeA2M [[ Excellent viewing for people who think that batting 30/40 years back was a picnic. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 27, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Ananth…you are opening up a Pandora box with your comments on helmets & on fear. Assuming the greats of any era are same, modern greats have no chance to be rated better.I feel that you need to look at the entire package. One can argue that with bouncer weapon gone, bowlers found new tricks which demand cricketing skills from batsmen than pure courage. May be fielding standards and field settings have become different, aggressive players now are playing more strokes and getting out thus affecting averages etc. More matches not only mean more runs, but also more fatigue, more chances of failure. Alternatively, I feel that Lara would have found a way to play the bowlers as well as Viv without helmet. But I do agree that many people pass on comments on yesteryear greats with T20 view and with superficial knowledge. With Internet access, any nonsense can be thrown around. I suppose we will have to live with it. Probably your strong statement is a reflection of anger on this issue [[ Tes, I agree. There are too many loose comments on the batsmen of the yester-era without fully unserstanding the completely changed playing conditions. I fully agree that the modern greats would have found a way to tackle the previous era's problems just as the previous era's batsmen would have found a way to tackle today's different playing conditions. My only point is that it was not easy to score runs in those days. Of course, against certain teams. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 27, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    Gerry….That was one hell of a defence for Sunny. In serious vein, I understand what you are saying. I do differ on details though as I was very passionately following the game during Sunny era. But that is not important to argue here as I feel Sunny fought his demons and came back strong and that is a hallmark of a great player. I was only commenting that it was natural to hear comments against Sunny as there was some justification in them from the perspective of many people. The innings ratings exercise can throw up some insights, but loses its weight once you start concluding one player as great over others based on that point. That is where I differ with you as you seem to have some criteria as overriding ones and push down some based on your conclusion. Good for you, but can’t expect others to accept. I always feel we can enjoy a lot of insights from you if you can give that space for others. No offense meant.

  • Nitin Gautam on December 27, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    @ Gerry "Indians like lovable (curly haired) losers..."

    Haha Gerry as much as I dont like (very very few) of your comments which put down certain player by selective pealing of his cricket career, I have to agree with you on this. one of the very best tongue in cheek comments. definitely made me smile over the masterful language used. Never seen gavaskar play but I have heard from my Dad about the bravery he has shown throughout his career. moreover in many clips seeing him in only hat facing best of the best quicks certainly invokes a feeling of certainty which no other indian cricketer have brought. In this Regard i rate Saurav Ganguly, too, very highly. as a player & as a commentator both. Which, unfortunately Sunny did not but as a player if courage is the virtue, Sunny is the Man.

    Very well written comment

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 27, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    On Waspsting's comment on bouncers...would like to add that

    - when Wes Hall first steamed into Colin McDonald (i think the tied test), Simpson recalls that the very first ball nearly bounced once on the pitch and then the next bounce was almost at the sightscreen. They just looked at each other and wondered if this was going to be the norm.

    - In the 1st Test of 1985-86 in Jamaica, the new find Patrick Patterson terrorised the Englishmen. One of his deliveries went for six byes (I think Bloefeld mentions this in his book). TV footage shown during the evening news was certainly frightening. Englishmen cowered like rabbits facing a headlight.

    - Wasim Akram had a deadly inswinging bouncer. See this...(took his eyes off the ball, naughty boy, who was otherwise very brave).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY88ez_6Mr0

  • shmulik zulik on December 27, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    WOW! 15 entries from non full members! 6(including me and david) from countries with virtually no connection to cricket! I thought I would be alone when I posted my first comment! I think this shows cricket is slowly becoming global,and someone should show this to ICC! Thanks so much Milind for that data! What's your opinion on that everyone? Shmulik P.S. I'm a fully fledged Israeli with NO connections to subcontinent at all

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 27, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    ...contd... In the end, that will be a far more objective measure than any that commentators put out, on the basis of what they have seen. Batsmen like Sunny and Lara and Chanderpaul will be pulled down, but Ponting etc. will benefit, but only to the extent of result weighting.

    Sunny says in his video production that without hooking scoring opportunities against West Indies are limited. It was correct for those times, where there were no bouncer restrictions. Today it does not apply.

    Sunny struggled to get the right balance in that series - e.g. he made 20 in 6 balls in Bombay test - even Bradman would not have survived against Marshall+Holding so recklessly. But by the last test Sunny had settled down, though it was too late to change the series result. His double century included several hooks, but it was a measured innings.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 27, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Ramesh, I dont want to be, and dont want to be thought of as a biased Sunny supporter. He may be the worst batsman in the universe. But I admire him for his courage in standing up when India as a nation was not wont to do so. [[ No one, I repeat no one, can equate the modern, protected-like-a-spaceman, batsmanship with the 1970s when the batsmen went on about their dangerous task of facing the 4 fast bowlers, OK, at times 3, with nothing better than an ill-designed box and a straw hat. We are not talking technique, batsmanship, temperament, skill-sets, lighter/heavier bats, reverse swing, playing with bat & pad together et al. We are talking of raw, undiluted fear. The fear of failure, the fear of injury and the fear of death. Does anyone think that a 50 in 1960s-1980s is only 5 runs below a 55 today. No, sir, the difference cannot be measured. That is the reason why I would anyday select Gavaskar over Tendulkar or Chappell over Ponting, since these are otherwise equal for me. Those who think I am exaggerating, please look up scorecard of #776. Ind: 306/6 decl (to protect the bowlers & 2 injured). Win: 391. Ind 97/5 innings closed (Gaekwad, Vishy, Patel, Bedi and Chandra not batting). Win: 13 for 0. West Indies won but dismissed only 11 Indian batsmen and felled a few others. That was Holding/Daniel/Julien/Holder, just one of the West Indian greats. Any day, any place, any team, Gavaskar will be in first. Ananth: ]] Hence in my previous comment, I have only argued on facts. There are other qualitative issues, like being sacked from captaincy before a West Indies tour - wonder what psychological impact it can have on a great player to be made to play under someone 10 years younger.

    I could not care less what international commentators say, since naturally there will be a huge bias. Lillee will not rate Sunny even in his top 100. Imran rates him as one of the best ever. Both bowlers are brainy guys.

    So I will hold on to my comments until Ananth's innings rating comes out. The only compromise will be that weighting victories is correct, but will penalize Sunny and his ilk, who did not have bowlers to bring victories (e.g. WI in Cal, 1978-79). But...

  • Murray Archer on December 27, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    "Most importantly he is a huge turner of the ball."

    There's THE most important thing about a finger spinner ! Until they start dropping on you, (from the overspin) they're generally "fruit for the sightscreen" ?

    I like (read hate :), he's English lol) Swann. He always seemed to me to be a real opponent, and right up for any contest.

    Herath is currently impressing me a bit ... hadn't seem him much before.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 27, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Hence perhaps, looking at some of the details paints a different picture. I would any day take a 70 on a minefield at MCG for a narrow win instead of 174 in Adelaide in a drawn test, even if it meant poor averages in the first case.

    International commentators rating Greg higher? That is too general a comment. There were many who said Sunny was the best, most said Viv, many said Greg, but generally everyone else outside these three was held a notch lower.

    If WI full team had toured India at Sunny's peak, it would be laughable to say that he would not have averaged 50 against them. Against the Clive Lloyd led teams, 15 of them, Sunny made 5 centuries and averaged 46 anyway, so 50 not a big deal.

    In "Maidan View" Mihir Bose says that not only international observers, even Indians hated Sunny for his guts, standing up to Englishmen "umpire Constant was constant in his support for England", refusing MCC membership (criticised by Bedi) etc. Indians like lovable (curly haired) losers...

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 27, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    Ramesh, 1) i have already commented on the 1980-81 tour. Whatever be the reason, pace of wickets or bowling was not one of them. Generally Indian batsmen did reasonably well in that series, and Sunny had some specific problems, which he overcame in MCG and turned the match 2) In Pak, we were thrashed 3-0 after 4 tests. Ananths calculation last year suggested that it was the worst thrashing we had ever endured. In these 4 tests, Sunny averaged 58, same as Amarnath. It fell in the last 2 rain affected drawn tests but Imran was not active in them. And he was a captain losing to Pakistan, so this was under pressure, and as opener. 3) In WI - '83, having been sacked as captain, he totally lacked colour in a series where WI bowling was at its weakest with only one quick - Marshall. Roberts was barely hanging on at fast medium since 1979, Holding and Garner were fatigued after extended domestic cricket in Aus, Garner was dropped, each and every Indian batsman except Sunny made hay.

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 27, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    Gerry..

    Sunny changed his grip around 1974 after his finger injury in a Ranji match and he considered hook as not a percentage shot. He was forced into doing that in 1983 against WI in India as he probably felt that he was getting sorted out by the bowlers without the hook shot. On your anguish about comments against Sunny…pls. remember during his playing days, he was matched by Vishy in fan following in India and internationally players/commentators rated Viv & Greg higher than him. So it shouldn’t be a surprise. As a Sunny fan, I hated those comments those days, but I can probably understand now. And it is a fact that Sunny’s productive years coincided with Packer years and he did not score well against the three best bowling line-up on overseas tours (Aus in ’81, Pak in ’83 and WI in ’83). Overall, that should not take away the achievements of Sunny and is rightly placed high by most of the readers.

  • Ramesh Kumar on December 27, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Ananth, Season’s greetings…Logical choices and as usual very interesting comments. The entry of Murray Archer has added colour to the blog and opened up space which was the exclusive domain of a few of the contributors like Shrikanthk. May their tribe increase. Maybe moving away from Best of the lot type of analysis may help to bring out earlier era achievers. [[ Have missed you, Ramesh. Welcome back. Yes, Murray has brought a lot of player-administrator-level insights and we are the richer because of that. He also does not have any baggage and his comments are straight from the heart. Ananth: ]] On bowlers speed, I’d think that 135 kmph with movement will be the most optimal. Lesser speed requires support from the pitch and other conditions. Higher speed may tone down the movement and hence can become predictable. I remember commentators talking about Imran’s inswingers in 1983 India tour to Pak, that the speed was 90 mph with sharp incutters. Imran himself had mentioned that in ’79 tour to India, he bowled faster but without much movement. It was negotiated well by Sunny and Chauhan.

  • Murray Archer on December 27, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    @ Anath, Dale etc

    Ron's injury was a snapped (not torn) cruciate ligament in his front (left) leg. It very nearly killed him when he was 42 ! :( . He then had a clot dislodge and end up in his brain. From then on, was on so much blood thinners, a shaving cut may have easily have had him bleed to death.

    As far as I know, Ron had bagged a test hundred AND a test 5 for, younger than any other Aust player. (only competition I know of is McCartney and Steve Waugh).

    For here, Ron's advice is pertinent..... "could pick 10 sides just as good if Bradman were in all of them "

    Lots of outstanding players in cricket history !

    My Father's unlikely to be beaten test record is :- only Aust player to be 12th man every game in a five test series.(Olden day Roger Harper ?). I was therefore a bit dark lol when Brett Lee equaled the 6 in a row :) [[ Must have been the 1949-50 South African series. Ananth: ]] Thanks, but it took me to stop trying to be a competitive player to appreciate them :) (their friends were more than useful while trying though lol)

  • shrikanthk on December 27, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    Shri - I find mentioning Swann in the same breath as Laker and Prasanna deeply unpalatable. Good bowler? yes. Great? no sodding way! And if we are talking about playing for the second XV of all time, do we really need Swann's late-order runs?

    Swann is an excellent bowler, not just a good one. As good a finger spinner as I've seen. (Been watching cricket since '92.

    Orthodox, clever and very consistent. He has the full repertoire of any finger spinner. Most importantly he is a huge turner of the ball. [[ The dismissals of Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gambhir were classical off-spinner dismissals. Ananth: ]] He has delivered whenever he has played in SC. And hasn't had a really bad series since his debut. 200 wickets at 29 for an English finger spinner is brilliant in this era of true and hard wickets.

    Laker's stats are great. But when he toured Aus, he was no better than Swann. In England he bowled on some pretty ordinary wickets, especially in '56. [[ Laker's excellent average was very strongly influenced by the 46 wicket haul in 1956. Ananth: ]] Swann is not just the best batsman of the lot I mentioned, but also a very good slipper. These things ought to give him an edge.

  • Engle on December 26, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    @BCG on Imran

    Every Test series that Imran played against Hadlee, he bested him in bowling. There were 3, and Imran beat Hadlee all 3 times. (Not to mention the one international match, where again he bested Hadlee in England )

    Statistically, Imran bested Lillee and Marshall in Tests they bowled - not a mean feat considering the calibre of competitors.

    His performance in WSC was right up there amongst the best.

    And his 40 wkts against India vs Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Amarnath et al was the deciding factor in Pakistan's victory not to mention one of the great exhibitions of sustained fast bowling where no other pacer could come close to matching

  • dale on December 26, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    Needless to say ,the loss of Ron Archer was a tremendous blow to Australian cricket.If he is compared to Alan Davidson we find they played 8 Tests together and was ahead of Davidson in development despite being 5 years younger. In those 8 Tests, Archer made 253 runs @ 21.08 while Davidson made 182 runs @ 16.54. Archer took 19 wickets @ 20.84 each and Davidson took 12 wickets @ 30.33 each. Of course this is just speculation on my part that Archer would have enjoyed a stellar career if not for the unfortunate injury. [[ Yes, I looked up Ron's record and it seemed to be a good one and wondered why the career stopped. C M-J does not reveal much but the Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket says that he sustained a major knee injury at Karachi in Oct 1956, catching his spikes in matting. That was it. This was during the the famous (or infamous) opening day score of Aus: 80 a.o. Pak: 15 for 2. But Archer made 10 in the first innings and 27 in the second. Fazal was unplayable, 13 for 114. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 26, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    @ Shri ... thanks for video of Allen and Voce :)

    Immediately caught my eye how far in front of slips the W/K is standing. Get a far different "stagger" today !

  • Murray Archer on December 26, 2012, 20:22 GMT

    @ Shri

    "Big Bill" is held in extremely high esteem by those that played with him.

    The thing about Davidson is that he took so long to develop. He was taken on an Aust A side tour to NZ in early 1950. So had been (in modern speak) part of the group for about 9 years before making a real impact. Five productive years out of 14 is for mine just not great.

    Obviously in early 50's Australia had a changeover problem (as did everyone else). So they were forced to pick a few youngsters with not much FC experience and stick with some as the pre-war players retired. Harvey, in particular worked out well, and Davidson and Benaud came good.

    One thing I frequently have heard for past several years is "why is there this obsession with speed gun pace ?" There were a few smiling faces around the old people's village watching Jackson Bird debut yesterday:)

    An interesting thing in cricket is growth of left handedness? Only 10% of population but higher in Test cricket now. Especially batsmen.

  • Sree on December 26, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    Shri - I find mentioning Swann in the same breath as Laker and Prasanna deeply unpalatable. Good bowler? yes. Great? no sodding way! And if we are talking about playing for the second XV of all time, do we really need Swann's late-order runs? [[ When we have votes for Shakib Al Hasan, Gayle, Bland, Langer, Bond, Paynter, Kirsten et al in this selection process, there is nothing wrong in mentioning Swann in passing. Incidentally he also has a vote. "Agree to disagree" is the omni-present motto of this blogspace. Why use stronger words than necessary. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 26, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    Bedser's method for bowling a leg cutter is different from any other I've ever seen.

    Of course by the time I first saw it he'd long stopped playing serious cricket. He moved his grip of forefinger left and loosed off 3rd finger. He fanned his hand and literally hit the ball as being delivered with the 3 outstretched fingers, one after another. In silence could actually hear the three thuds and it imparted a lot of rotation - ball fairly buzzed out.

    Dad (Ken) said you could easily pick his leg cutter. Problem was whether the loudly buzzing ball would grip given the pace it came at. Picking it was therefore thoroughly useless.

    Barnes who was slower, was a genuine spinner of the ball. His grip and method of turning the ball both ways was very similar to that later seen by Ramadhin, Iverson and Gleeson.... flicking it between the thumb and third finger. Thumb flick = offie, finger flick leggie. I think that's what they these days call a carrom ball ? Jeff lol

  • dale on December 26, 2012, 18:29 GMT

    Bill Johnston was a great and versatile bowler... able to bowl orthodox left arm spin plus fast medium . He also did the bulk of the bowling in the 5 man Australian attack of the time. Davidson developed into the spearhead of the Australian attack which featured only Benaud as another world class bowler. Would Davidson be as effective as Johnston was in teaming with Lindwall, Miller/Toshack/ Johnson/ Ring/ McCool/Benaud ? I would be tempted to say perhaps not. Would Johnston be as succesful as Davidson was in partnership with Benaud ? The temptation here is to say more than likely. Anyway both were champion bowlers and among the top three post war left arm pace bowlers along with Akram.

  • B.C.G. on December 26, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    I just read this on Cricinfo- At Starc's age, Glenn McGrath had not even made his first-class debut, let alone played for his country 25 times like Starc has across all formats.

    Starc's age is 22.So if at 22 Pidge hadn't even turned up for FC(he probably played club cricket) you have to wonder!!!!

    Cummins is only 19 & Pattinson 21 I think.

  • Vivek SHantharam on December 26, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    [[ Vivek I will respond to you directly in a day or two. I am doing this here to let you know I have received your mail. Thanks Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 26, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    I'm surprised Bill Johnston didn't get votes. He was way better than what is generally recognised (way better than Davo for example). Likewise surprised Voce got none

    That's interesting. I was under the impression Davo was a yard quicker than Johnston. Johnston had this bubbling run and probably more versatile than Davo (as in he could bowl both slow medium and fast medium in alternation). Difficult to guess Johnston's pace.

    Voce had a wicked bouncer (as per Fingleton). Wasn't too quick. Saw some footage of his from a state game in 1932-33. He was probably deceptively fast. Not an overly long run, but made good use of his body in his delivery.

    Here's the footage of Voce (as well as Allen) bowling against some Victorian tailenders :)

    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/england-win-first-test-1932/query/Australia+England+1932

  • B.C.G. on December 26, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    His performance against the West Indies in the 80s;18 wickets and 23 wickets;howerver half of those wickets were tailenders which he was very good at dismissing.

    Akram >>>> Imran Hadle >>>> Imran

    And ironically people call Imran guy a great,inspiring captain.Also his fielding.......calling it rubbish is putting it very mildly.

    Am sure Asian bias & blind perusal of stats is responsible for him being selected here. [[ Not really. Imran has been selected by many non-Asians, just as Hadlee was selected by many Asians. Ananth: ]] One more grudge;this time against a Kiwi.How the hell did Bond(Shane)garner 4 votes.I'm speechless.ODI's probably influenced his selection because his test stats are mediocre against top opposition.Real greats like Davidson,Johnston,Donald,Adcock,Roberts don't even get a mention while paper dolls like Bond are mentioned.

  • B.C.G. on December 26, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    Sad to see Imran being selected over Hadlee. [[ Just to remind you that I had selected Hadlee in place of Imran but am committed to doing this a proper people's choice. I also do not have strong feelings against any player. Ananth: ]] There are many things that can be only judged by watching people play and I have for the most part have watched Imran play (whenever possible and listened when not possible).As a captain, he was very conscious about his averages;whenever a couple of boundaries were hit, he would take himself off the attack.This I had observed many times.Also whenever he encountered a dead pitch, the bulk of the bowling would be done by others (one exception I remember is Lahore test where Manjrekar scored 218).There he bowled many, more than 40+,I guess.How many times have Pakistan conceded largish scores with Imran hiding?

    In the famous(or infamous)"Lillee's 100+ average in Pakistan"series Imran was even worst.

    In tests,whenever Wasim or Qadir were creating pressure;he would bring himself on & reap unjust rewards.Is it any surprise that Wasim averaged 27 under Imran & Qadir 37!!!

    Hadlee didn't enjoy such luxury.He had to bowl every time & everywhere.cnt

  • Waspsting on December 26, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    Who bowled the best bouncer?

    I've seen - Marshall and Donald are the two standouts.

    Other who were good - Wasim, Steyn, Imran, Walsh, Shoaib Akthar, Bishop. (Walsh particularly impressive since he wasn't all that quick)

    From history - Lillee, Thommo, Roberts, Holding, Croft, Adcock, Snow, Willis, Lindwall, Larwood, Hadlee (Hadlee noteworthy, given he didn't bowl many and wasn't all that quick - but he hit a lot of guys with the bouncer)

    not many "bad" bouncer fast bowlers, really. Waqar's the worst I've seen - innocuous going-going-over-the-head stuff, and probably not hard to pick, either. Hall's bouncers were supposed to be easy to avoid, too.

    Some guys didn't bowl many, like Statham and Tyson.

    Best at evading short ball - I'll name Gavaskar unhesitatingly as the best I've seen. Dravid was good, too.

    host of bad evaders - S. Waugh obviously (i don't think he even tried evading - must remember there's no points for "evading"). Lara pretty bad, too.

  • shrikanthk on December 26, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    If we play Laker/Prasanna/Swann for O'Reilly, as Shri suggested, it might resolve couple of problems.

    I wouldn't dream of suggesting that! I was thinking of Laker/Prasanna/Swann in place of Bedi, as I wanted a spinner who will take the ball away from the left hander. O'Reilly is too good a bowler to be replaced by any of these names. [[ My mistake: apologies. Wrote in haste. How can we not play O'Reilly. Murray: It really does not matter. Similar they may be, but full of class. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 26, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Long time ago but still the most amazing bowling and batting I've seen in a series context.

    First the bowling :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqtMvzOPj8s

    Then the batting :- (in reply) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SzfWtTZOtA [[ Yes, I agree. Lillee 8 for 29 and Sobers' 254 were once-in-a-century efforts. Unfortunately we cannot include these as official Tests. Maybe ICC should do that. I would gladly accommodate the same in my data base. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 26, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    The "Balance of the teams".

    The 2nd XV has a problem I identified in my VX. O'Rielly and Barnes were in lots of ways similar bowlers...in 2nd XV's case magnified, because Hadlee and Lillee (depending on when for each) were also similar bowlers. [[ Murray, To the extent possible I selected the second XV based on votes received. So it may be slightly out of balance. If we play Laker/Prasanna/Swann for O'Reilly, as Shri suggested, it might resolve couple of problems. Ananth: ]] I'm pretty certain many (like I did) picked a XV to play not to individually be the best. For that reason Wasim will get more votes than his actual bowling may have deserved (can anyone think of a better left hand seamer ?) I tried to, and then baulked at Davo - the only one seemingly available. If I had my way a dominant (lasting) bowler in Ilk of Bruce Reid would be a certainty in an excellent XV (perhaps Starc in 8 years ? - I wish).

    I'm surprised Bill Johnston didn't get votes. He was way better than what is generally recognised (way better than Davo for example). Likewise surprised Voce got none.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 26, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    Ponting's 197 -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVaOR-sgXuw

    Watch the above link at 11.25 and 13.45. 13.45 is a perfect example of pulling - perfect balance, havent seen anything better, againt to pace (not Peter Siddle type).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYr6T9gbvmU

    Watch this link at 1.40

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 26, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Waspsting - on Gavaskar - I would agree - quite a safe and competent hooker. I have seen several videos of him of the 1974 England tour where there was plenty of hooking from him on gree but true pitches. He got out hooking in the critical Adelaide test in IInd inns when Thommo was absent and we were chasing 493 for the series.

    In Pak 1982-83, in the last test (6th) he resumed hooking. Vs WI in 1983-84, in Kanpur test he was shot out by Marshall. In next test in Delhi, initially Marshall was torrid, but Gavaskar murdered him thereafter and reached 50 in 37 balls. I saw that innings, and the hook was the only scoring shot. Marshall came round the wicket also, but it made no difference. Moreover, there was Holding, but did not bowl short. The pitch slowed post-lunch, but in the first hour was lively with dew.

    All his hooks were wristy, and a few were the Gooch type help-on hooks, along the ground. No pulling. But Sunny overdid his aggression later in the series and paid the price.

  • Murray Archer on December 26, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    Wayne Phillips was an alright batsman ... lousy keeper !

    I'll accept Botham hooked "pulling away" from shot. I also accept others mentioned hooked well :).

    I worry for modern players looking away from the ball.... surely one day it will hit someone in the back of the neck below their helmet and kill them ? I am surprised for example Justin Langer still lives.

    As a kid we were all taught to watch the ball pass over ourselves as we ducked. I absolutely don't understand how a bowler can hit a batsman in the head (unless it hits the bat first). For myself was always happy if some good bowler was too stupid to pitch it up and get me out... every short ball was surely 4 or 6 to me :). Pretty sure anyone actually good had same attitude.

    Watching VIV V Lillee one day get sconed mid forehead missing a hook. In a moment was gesturing for next ... obviously the same. I swear he didn't move inside at all ! Would have also hit the palm tree - but went 14 rows back ! (as if I'd miss twice ?)

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 26, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Shrikanthk, dont agree that Ponting's pulls are flawed. It does appear that he swivels spectacularly, but more often than not, the proof is how hard he hits the ball. His pulling of Shoaib Akhtar in Perth was spectacular, despite the fact that the bounce was true, because Shoaib was bowling extremely fast (often in mid 150s) and the pitch was not slow like the one on which India / South Africa won tests. Rather it was quite quick.

    Ponting did not hook too often.

    Tendulkar was the first Indian batsman to play the pull shot, though he did not hook very often. Before him, Indian batsmen (except Kapil Dev) hooked the ball, but rarely pulled (against quicks), generally preferring to play the ball with a vertical bat or cut if outside the off stump.

    Kapil Dev hooked and pulled.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 26, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Murray, on Botham hooking - He used to take his eyes off the ball, and kind of duck while hooking. It leaves quite a lot to chance.

    Mohinder Amarnath used to hook, and very well, but always in the air. But against the best quicks. Botham never hooked Marshall/Holding (in fact, Holding knocked his helmet off).

    Wayne Bentley Phillips (wonder if you have seen him) was a brilliant hooker, and against the West Indies, returned fire with fire. His 120 in Barbados came against a very powerful attack, and his hooks sent the ball out of the stadium 4 times i think.

    A little known hooker, but whose hook (more usually pull) was probably the most vicious of all was Andrew Hudson. The ball used to generally fly off into the top stand.

    Desmond Haynes once said about Kapil Dev that it was impossible to hook him (he was too slow).

    McGrath was very difficult to hook - in 1992-1993 in Sharjah, on a very slow pitch, Tendulkar top edged each and every time.

  • Murray Archer on December 26, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    @ Gerry - I knew I'd miss some :(

    @ Anath - they get amused enough with the government female employees taking smoke breaks on footpath in downtown Sydney :) rofl.

  • Waspsting on December 26, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    says he could read Lindwall because Ray gritted his teeth at a certain point in his run up for a bouncer, and Miller because of a tensing of the body at a certain point (I think he once hooked 6/6 Miller bouncers to the fence in an over - have to check)

    re: Bedsar's pace - i'd imagine he was slower than 130(?) keeping to 130 standing up, with the movement Bedsar got would be bloody difficult (and wasteful).

    Bedsar's been equated as being like Fazal Mahmood - and i heard Richie Benaud say Fazal was about Michael Kasprowicz' pace - so that points to about 130, on the flip side.

    Still, at 130, a surprise short ball can be effective. I've seen nothing to suggest Bedsar ever bowled a short ball deliberately.

    Leg cutters pitching leg and missing off, too, not something one imagines being bowled at 130 regularly.

    don't know for sure - guessing based on evidence he was more 120ish. Would love to hear the opinion of someone who played him

  • Waspsting on December 26, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    re: KP and Viv - note the bread and butter scoring selection through mid-wicket (regardless of line of the ball).

    Also the front foot style, and more than that - the express desire to come forward to the bowler

    Viv known more for "taking on" the fast bowlers, but KP's 100 against SA earlier in the year... absolutely had me thinking of Viv. He hooked constantly - even with 2 men back for the shot - and successfully. and the straight 6 of Steyn... pure Viv.

    Also the mentality to dominate and attack.

    re: hooking - De Silva, Ponting, Viv and Haynes are the best I've seen. Gavaskar I believe was as good as any, but chose not to hook much.

    Others from history - MacLaren, McCabe, Kippax, Vic Richardson, H. Sutcliffe, Bill Edrich, Weekes, Sobers

    then there are guys who were known for hooking but got out quite often too - Randall, Amarnath, I. Chappell, Botham.

    Morris thought Lindwall and Miller's bouncers were "kid's stuff" compared to Bill Johnston's - harder to pick, apparently. (con

  • Murray Archer on December 26, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    How great was Alec Bedser ? (taking Arthur's mantle with no permission though knowing Alec since I can remember knowing people)

    How great was Bill O'Rielly.... how great was S.F Barnes...

    How great was anyone who sharply moved the ball away so late as to be off the wicket, and with reverse air movement before? Think Warne's "That ball" and add pace.

    That good !

    He became the first bowler Knighted since in his own words "Francis Drake".... that says something ?

    Bedser bowled often with an incredible amount of spin on the ball compared to any modern medium fast bowler. Speed guns IDK, but would think 130 odd? (they said about same as Bailey)

    I'd guess that stuff is difficult for even a leftie - Harvey would agree it must have been.

    I have asked before... Bedser's both were friends (of even mine), and Alec a notable opponent( of theirs) and I'm not asking again for just this. (one day I'll get my cousin - who can write (needed) to edit and add to recollections of others I have)

  • shrikanthk on December 26, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    Was Alec THAT slow. That is Coney/Amarnath territory. I would have expected Bedser to be around 130 kmph.

    Now that I recalled more footage of his, I guess you're right. 130kmph is more like it. However the short run-ups those days are so deceptive. Bowlers like Bedser and Bowes were perhaps much quicker than what you guess from their run-ups.

  • shrikanthk on December 26, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    Bradman was great at everything but most famous for pulling? (almost no point talking about him because so far in front of all others).

    He was most famous for his pull. The footage of his pulls reveal the technical excellence of that shot. He is so perfectly balanced, gets right behind the line and keeps it down.

    The pulls of Ricky Ponting pale in comparison. Ponting invariably falls over and is never totally in balance when he plays the stroke. Tendulkar invariably top-edges most of his hooks. And he hasn't been a habitual puller for ages now.

    I am reminded of Neville Cardus who once said - "The straight bat is the crutch of the mediocre". The true genius of a player is revealed in his cross-bat strokes. And that's where Bradman excels.

    By the way, Murray - a question for your good friend Arthur Morris.

    How highly does he rate Alec Bedser who got him out often? Would his brand of 120kmph medium pace have succeeded at the highest level in the 21st century? [[ Was Alec THAT slow. That is Coney/Amarnath territory. I would have expected Bedser to be around 130 kmph. And I looked up Morris' figures. 6 of his 12 hundreds are 150+ ones. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 26, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    But in Lords test, KP was blasted out by Morkel. He returned fire with fire in the next test, though. But after Viv Richards, he comes closest.

    Murray, surprised you have omitted from your list of hookers Gilchrist. IMO, he was the best of the lot, with perhaps Inzamam coming close. Laxman hooked many times very productively (eliciting admiration from Graeme Pollock - "this guy is a superstar") on India's tour of South Africa, during which Tendulkar in great form, tried hooking several times but top edged every time (perhaps a heavy bat).

    Ponting was very good, but in the battle with Akhtar in Perth in 1999, was lucky to escape alive, though he made 197 eventually. He also took his eye of the ball and was hit on the right cheek by Harmison during the thrilling first session of the 2005 Ashes.

  • shrikanthk on December 26, 2012, 3:01 GMT

    Don't forget that Ron played in only 19 Tests.

    Yes. But Ken played in another 6. Making it 25 in all.

    @Gerry - I agree with you in the sense that while growing up my friends always rated Kris Srikanth above Gavaskar. I find it a bit ironical now that Vettori has more test runs and wickets than Srikanth.

    Indicative of the Indian obsession with the white-ball game. Srikkanth is a blot on Indian cricket. Someone I dislike very intensely. And I've been maimed for life as my parents have named me after him (even our dads are namesakes). [[ My problems with Srikkanth have all been after his playing career. His grey tenure as selector, his self-advancement, the murky conflict-of-interest positions with CSK et al. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 25, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    Re : Hookers

    they're a funny breed :) lol @ Hilditch :)

    VIV ! (Roy Fredricks too)

    Others I heard about as sublime were Kippax, McCabe, Morris, Weekes, Kanhai(lol obviously Merv Harvey)

    Others I liked to watch hook were, Burge, Walters, LLoyd, Crowe, Aravinda, Kim Hughes, Saeed Anwar, Botham, Gower, Greenidge, Tendulkar, Ponting. Best individual shot by G Pollock at SCG in World XI side.

    (probably forgotten many in all above). LOTS of really good players with a hair's width or a bad luck between how good ?

    Bradman was great at everything but most famous for pulling? (almost no point talking about him because so far in front of all others). [[ If an American reads these comments he is going to ask "You guys are wasting your time bowling to hookers. That is not what they are here for?". Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 25, 2012, 20:11 GMT

    RE : KP & signs of greatness in general.

    KP to me doesn't look like anyone I've ever seen before. I think that's the real sign of greatness ? Thought "Ive never seen anyone like this" when I first saw Sobers, lloyd both Richards, (Sachin looked like a shorter Barry as a kid to me) Warne and a few others.

    When you can say having watched a while "I've never seen anyone like this" you're watching something unusual - if it's working, might be watching someone great ?

    KP's batting has some similar elements to VIV's, but in my memory Viv was actually almost kind lol ... got himself out when well on top in 70's and 80's often. Think KP does better when he's in full command ?which seems to be a little less often. [[ I think KP and Viv are different players. Maybe the comparisons come up because of the arrogance shown at the crease. I think KP just edges ahead because he could adapt himself to play an innings like the Nagpur one (73 in 188). Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 25, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Interview "who was the best hooker you ever bowled to Ray" "Merv Harvey"

    ...........later interview.... "No one seems to ever remember you bowling a short one to Merv" "I did once and that was enough" lol :)

    I have no doubt Bradman was going fine after the war. However I am absolutely certain no-one was going to seriously go after him with aggressive fast stuff in a state game !

    A later part of that conversation the other night about slowing down with age.... I (stupidly) asked "how much harder does it get" lol got "Why did you stop playing even charity stuff at 40 and only play one season in your over 50's comeback ?"

    Silently I counted a broken jaw, fractured cheek and a couple of broken ribs and remembered they all happened in the last few seasons. Real reason for even a low level player like me was self embarrassment - hurts more than breaks ! No matter how good or bad anyone was at 30 they're a LOT worse at 40 !

    Makes me realise the genius of Grace, Hobbs, Barnes etc

  • shrikanthk on December 25, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    Murray Archer, with a pedigree of 25 Australian test caps in his linealogy. No wonder his comments are so perceptive

    Aha! I must be careful before I pass any comment on Ron Archer on this forum going forward :) Thanks for alerting me Ananth! [[ Don't forget that Ron played in only 19 Tests. Ananth: ]]

  • milpand on December 25, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    Amongst test playing countries, there are about a billion adults in 4 subcontinental nations and may be another 100 million outside. I am not one of those who will complain about the distribution so long as 90% or less votes originate from the subcontinent.

    The country wise distribution is based on hard facts. A guesstimate analysis based on names is possible but such porous data does not interest me. [[ Milind, that was only a quick back-of-the-envelope job just to see where we were. You have to allow for 10% either way. Ananth: ]] What does a name like Sam convey anyway - Sameer (perhaps Indian), Sameen (may be from Pakistan) or Sam/Samantha (may not be Indian but how does one ascertain)? Amongst diaspora how to determine who belongs to second/third generation? Providing more information does not convince those who take an opposing view - http://youarenotsosmart.com/the-backfire-effect/

  • milpand on December 25, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    I joined this forum in the beginning of this year. I have looked up one of the statements I read around that time:

    "Once again my heartfelt thanks to Raghav, Boll, Rameshkumar, Ranga and Anshu, who spent hours during the holiday season. May their tribe flourish."

    Commensalism is 'kind of' symbiotic but it is not symbiosis either. I am just like plenty of others who would like to contribute more. I could hit within my sweet spot so I did. There was no need to yell as a whisper at Ananth's base gets amplified to similar proportions any way.

    Thanks to everyone.

  • shrikanthk on December 25, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    Lindwall notes that the only short ball he ever bowled the Don was hooked flat for 4, the most impressive hook he saw.

    That's one thing which stands out with Bradman. His command over the short ball. A far better hooker and puller than most other great batsmen we are discussing on this thread with the exception of perhaps Viv Richards and Gary Sobers.

    Wasp: I agree Compton is rather unfairly under-mentioned these days. Possibly the most naturally gifted great batsman England has ever had excepting KP. He was a poor runner between wickets though.

  • shrikanthk on December 25, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    You picked the correct very knowledgeable and aged ex player.

    Fancy you knowing Arthur Morris! Ananth - you do have readers in high places :) [[ Shri, Murray Archer, with a pedigree of 25 Australian test caps in his linealogy. No wonder his comments are so perceptive. I am privileged to have all you guys as readers. Probably I feel, more privileged than many a more celebrated writer. Ananth: ]] And what a coincidence for me to mention him.

  • Aniruddha on December 25, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Dear Anantha, What a choice of Rafi songs - exceptional. One point on "man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj" - not only the singer (Rafi) but the lyricist (Shakeel Badayuni) and the music director (Naushaad) all were Muslim. Yet they produced this magical "hindu" bhajan. Secondly I think the song "Teri aankh ke aansoo" is by Talat Mahmood from Jahan Ara.. another great singer (more the VVS of Indian classical (not bollywood) singing. [[ Yes, Aniruddha, my mistake. I have both the Talat classic from Jahan Ara and another wonderful Madan Mohan composition, "Teri aankhon ke siva" from "Chirag", in my collection. I cut and pasted the wrong song from the list. Very perceptive of you to spot the mistake. Ananth: ]] @Gerry - I agree with you in the sense that while growing up my friends always rated Kris Srikanth above Gavaskar. I find it a bit ironical now that Vettori has more test runs and wickets than Srikanth. My apologies as I feel my comments emanated more from your comments on SRT which I did not want to make obvious. Truly enjoy your insight and look forward to your comments in future.

  • Boll on December 25, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    So we have the XV - now for The Man. Sir Frank Worrell, cricket`s greatest statesman, is my manager.

  • Waspsting on December 25, 2012, 10:59 GMT

    @Shri - some thoughts on some of the players you mentioned.

    KP is as good a bat as I've seen. He reminds me very much of Viv Richards.

    - Headley I rate very highly, above Ponting, Clarke and slightly ahead of Greg Chappell - can give you the case for it if you want. Hammond and Weekes not as high IMO

    - Grimmett and Davidson basically got marginalized by Warne and Wasim respectively. Davidson in particular I think deserves greater consideration

    - Compton's a tad unlucky, probably suffered more from the war (cricket-wise, I mean) than anyone along w/ Hutton. He was in splendid form when it broke out and splendid form after it ended - 7 prime years at the form he showed either side of the war would have really put him over, though his record is very good anyway.

    Here's something you'll like, of after Bradman, Compton took the fewest innings to complete 100 centuries in FC.

    Happy Holidays all!

  • Waspsting on December 25, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    re: Bradman post-war - there weren't many quicks from Eng and Ind in the tests he played, true.

    He did, as Shri said, give lindwall and miller fair stick in FC.

    Lindwall notes that the only short ball he ever bowled the Don was hooked flat for 4, the most impressive hook he saw.

    Miller's bouncers were treated similarly, though he got Don out with one. Miller also notes "He loved to hook" - and describes a FC match on the 48 tour when Don hooked a young Yorkshire paceman for a couple of boundaries and told Miller -

    "looks like we'll have some fun. he's going to bowl bumpers, oh those terrible bumpers" (paraphrased) with a grin.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 25, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    Anirudda, there is some rhetorical content in my statment that "50% of Indians disliked Gavaskar during his playing days". But I said "playing days" and "50%".

    In this blog, I have seen comments that 1) Gavaskar could not hook (but Steve Waugh could, goodness me) 2) Gavaskar's slow 221 (and not Vengsarkar's 50/150 balls) cost us the Oval 1979 test) 3) Gavaskar failed on the "bouncy pitches (Adelaide & Sydney?)" of Australia against Lillee in 1980 4) Gavaskar's success vs WI in 1975-76 was when WI attack was in its formative stages (though yesterday I argued that Holding's average had improved past Roberts' in his second series itself, after a bad start, plus 5 Indians were hospitalized).

    In this blog and outside I have sensed a scorn for past greats, as if praise for modern greats must be relative.

    Ananth's BQI grade related article eliminated some specious arguments. Trust me, redoing the XV after his innings rating magnum opus will change the complexion drastically.

  • Murray Archer on December 25, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    @ shrikanthk at December 25, 2012 3:37 AM

    You picked the correct very knowledgeable and aged ex player. Seems he agrees with you :)

  • shrikanthk on December 25, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    2012 nears its end. To my mind two potential all-time greats surfaced this year into serious contention - Kevin Pietersen and Michael Clarke

    KP played 3 truly great innings this year - a hatrick of innings which merits comparison with Stan McCabe's 3 great innings of the 1930s (1932-33 Sydney, 1935-36 Johannesburg and 1938 Trent Bridge)

    Pietersen's innings were played at Colombo, Headingley and Mumbai. All of them played under considerable emotional and personal pressure, with the team in precarious positions

    I saw two of the three innings live and followed the other one (Colombo) on Cricinfo. And I must say I felt blessed

    Pietersen surely is an anomaly in cricket history. A unique character. A unique batsman with a remarkable technique all his own. His influence on cricket is perhaps as massive in some respects as Ranji's influence on batsmanship in the 1890s

    Being the conservative that I am, I supported ECB's disciplinary actions against him. But I cannot deny his greatness. [[ Since I want to come out with the 2013 review during first week of Jan, I have started work on the article. The batting presents many problems. So many great innings to choose from. 3 from KP, 3 from Clarke, Amla, Warner and what about Jayawardene's all-time classic. And not to forget the gem from Samuels. And that wonderful innings from Azhar Ali. The bowling shelf, on the other hand, seems quite barren. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 25, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    He went on to say "I wonder if he would have come back if he weren't certain the opposition would have no really fast bowlers. Bill Edrich was the quickest you know

    He did clobber Miller and Lindwall in FC games if I am not mistaken, post War. The man was a freak. Period. In Arthur Morris' own words - "Bradman was a great player before the War and a very good player after the War".

    I don't think the 2012 vintage Ponting or Tendulkar can be regarded as very good players. Decent maybe, but not very good.

  • Ananth on December 25, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    I wish all the readers a very happy festive season, starting with Christmas. As white as possible, north of the Equator and as bright as possible, south of the Equator. Have a great time with family and friends. May God be with you all always. Ananth

  • dale on December 25, 2012, 0:08 GMT

    Ananth: What I appreciate most about your blog is the fact that I always learn something new about cricketers. This is in reference to Akram . I have used the pairs/trio analysis and realised just how great this player was. Both Imran(pairs)and Waqar(pairs and trio) depended on him to do the bulk of the bowling so that they could bowl in shorter bursts which resulted in excellent SR for both. A bowler must be viewed within the context of the bowling attack and of course his career. [[ Dale, to be honest, I have learnt so much on the game in these interactions, especially the Test XV related comments. Over 1100 comemnts, covering various aspects and bringing out unknown facts. Murray Archer, Som, Gerry (when he can stay from his pet grouse), Dr.Talha, Boll, yourself, Andrew, Waspsting, Shrikanth, Alex, Raghav, Harsh, Dinesh, Shmulik, Milind: I could go on. Different and divergent views, but a healthy respect for each others' views and the desire to learn something new. Have a great Christmas day and New Year. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 24, 2012, 21:43 GMT

    Contd... I have always enjoyed Gerry's insight and depth of knowledge, so I hope this is taken in the right sense (at the worst-as my personal opinion and nothing more). I am not a fan of shutting down my laptop and this page (or any of your blogs for that matter) always stays open as one of the permanent tabs. With Laxman/Dravid/Ponting and now SRT retiring this seems to the season of tributes. This was my way of thanking you for making our lives that much more interesting. For those who care - today was also Rafi Sahab's birth anniversary. [[ Ah! The true legend. Thanks for the reminder. Man Tadpat hari darshan... (How can a devout Muslim, maybe because he is that, sing this bhajan so beautifully. Music knows no barriers). Meri awaz suno. Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye. Teri aank ki aansoo. Meri yaad mein tum aana. Chahunga main tuje. Hum laye hai toofan. Yeh desh hai veer jawano ka. Kar chale hum fida. Na kisiki aankh ka noor hoon O door ke musafir O duniya ke rakhwale Jahan dal dal par sone ki One could go on and on. Ananth: ]]

  • Aniruddha on December 24, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    Dear Anantha, another masterpiece... absolutely love your work. The comments too are a delight and a great source of nostalgia and knowledge. I have absolutely loved one comment here which suggests that given that Gilchrist scores a fair few points by the virtue of his batting ability (an average of roughly 15 more than Knott), by the same token Flower and Sangakara have a better average (by about 10) while their wicket keeping could be considered on equal terms (if not better by Flower). Very interesting observation. With the wicketkeeper's slot going to no. 7 in this line up, it makes sense to have Gilchrist there. One a bit of a sour note - Gerry's comment on "majority of Indians not liking Gavaskar" ... again while this might be true for the masses, I feel it is a disrespect to the readers of this blog (esp. Indians) to be accused of such bias. Personal opinions are fine as long as they are not generalized as the opinion of a particular country/community.

  • Murray Archer on December 24, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    RE : Hammond

    Wally certainly struggled ( not surprisingly) against real quicks as an old man out here in '46/47.

    Had an interesting discussion last night regarding current season with a very knowledgeable and aged ex player. He said "Seeing Ricky and Sachin struggle in their late 30's, just makes you realise what a super effort it was by Don coming back (after war) and succeeding." He went on to say "I wonder if he would have come back if he weren't certain the opposition would have no really fast bowlers. Bill Edrich was the quickest you know".

    That didn't help Headley and lesser others like Bill Brown.

    From my own point of view (with above in mind)it was amazing to see Kallis batting so smoothly at his age - he's just seeming to get better like a good red wine !

  • Murray Archer on December 24, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Thanks very much to Milind. Very interesting stuff. Must admit I wondered about Iceland :) ( is wikileaks tracking us ? lol).

    What alarmed me most was the shortage of entries from South Africa. Along with the report that the national broadcaster is cutting the cricket for the likes of "Bold and Beautiful" that's a real worry !

    Likewise only 3 votes from only 2 Islands of WI. :( [[ Yes, Murray, the absence of comments from West Indies and South Africa surprises and saddens me. Similarly Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. However there at least the diaspora must be everywhere. Have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Thanks for your very valued inputs. Ananth: ]] I'm not surprised by voting level from Australia. Especially in a best ever type thing Aussies will want to see their best ever record highlighted .... lol it takes the sting out of losing a home series :)

  • Ariz khan on December 24, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    I agree to your assertion about the level of people who post comments in this blog, else I wouldn't be here. About Wasim and Waqar, I always thought former to be a better test bowler, but thats just my thought. And just to dispel doubts (if any), I would confirm that I am an Indian and have lived, for most part, in Mumbai but I am of the opinion that nationality has got nothing to do with watching a sport. Neither Federer nor Djokovic are Indian, I like them both and Nadal and many other Tennis players. I liked both these bowlers from Pak, it was painful to see Imran getting injured in early 80s and captain Wasim, trying to not let Waqar settle at international level after his injuries or Waqar doing a REVENGE later. Same way it was also sad to see Bishop and Bond career destroyed by injuries and Gray not getting many chances or Akhtar/Asif/Amir getting into self destruction.. [[ Ariz, the cornerstone of this blogspace is the ability of the readers to disagree but with a healthy respect for the others' views. As such I will always value your cricketing acumen and knowledge of the game. All you guys enrich this space. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on December 24, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    Ananth,

    You don't have to agree with me on anything, it wasn't intended for that. In fact, nobody has to agree with me on any point. But if someone doubts my smoking habits then that would hurt me although I wouldn't take it as a personal vendetta against what he writes about cricket. Same way, Wasim's match fixing scandals or Imran's grudge against migrated Indians hurt me but when judging them as a player, I try not to get influence by these. But I am also a human. I just thought would pen down “What I saw and what I thought” and I have not brought much of stats to prove it (It would have been far easier to go back your old blog regarding bowler and prove how superior Imran was compared to Akram). But yes I have to agree that I have contradicted myself by praising the high level knowledgeable people who post comments here and then giving those 4 points about why most of the people in the group with which I interacted in 2004 failed to understand the difference between the two. cont

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 24, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    My gast has never been so flabbered. I have estimated based on Milind's data that 20% of non-Indians have voted for Sachin.

    The basis of the derivation is this... Assuming that 50% of USA folks are Indians, and adding to the tally of India + Canada + Germany/Ireland/Italy etc. I get to a total of ~100 Indians. Excluding myself, all other Indians would have voted for Sachin, i.e. 99/205 = 48%. Hence for total tally is 67.8%, he must have got ~20% of his votes from non - Indians. This is an unexpectedly high degree of popularity.

    I think there has been a strong sympathy wave blowing internationally in his favour given his poor performances and imminent retirement.

    I dont think Gavaskar would have got voted by too many Indians (50% of Indians and all Englishmen disliked him even during his playing days).

    Richards/Ponting/Kallis/GS Chappell are Sachin's rivals so Indian votes may have got diverted away.

    Apologies to Sachin's devotees in advance though (I better go underground). [[ Completely wrong premises and base. In your anxiety to pull down SRt you have missed doing one thing before coming out with this comment. You should have taken the trouble of going through the Excel sheet, gone along Tendulkar row and looked for the people who have not voted for Tendulkar, with Indian-sounding names. You do not have an Indian sounding name but there are 25 Indians, living around the globe, who have not selected Tendulkar. That throws your calculations haywire. Ananth: ]]

  • Pranav Joshi on December 24, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    Absolute silence on SRT's ODI retirement? Agreed that it has come 20 months too late, but c'mon Ananth, you sing praises of Lara once in a while. You wrote an entire piece on Dravid. [[ There are enough people making statements. Why should I also add to the general torrent. Anyhow, my friend, I came out with a Lara piece 5 years after he retired. I came out with pieces on Laxman and Dravid couple of months after they retired. Two days is too long for you folks ??? I should respond instantly ??? When the time is right and I can find the time I will do a proper piece on Tendulkar, which certainly he deserves. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on December 24, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    Ananth, the reason I did not my post my list of 15 players was that I could not come up with nothing. There were a few certainties like Bradman, Sobers, Richards, Gilly, Macko and the rest was very difficult. Can't decide between Pollock and Chappell. Can't decide on whom to partner with Hobbs......... [[ I am going to post your comments without any in-depth response from me. I don't necessarily agree with all what you have said. Your comments might reflect the situation re the common cricket-watching folk. But I am certain quite a number of the Indian followers who respond to this blog would watch an Englad-South Africa game, would watch a Sri Lanka-Pakistn game, would separate the ODI and Test games and know the value of wickets. You can analyze to the nth level to prove or disprove a conviction of yours. But there is no saying that in the minds of many followers around the world, Akram was as good a match-winner as Younis. Surprisingly the opposition to Akram seems to have come mostly from his own country-men. But it does not matter. One plays in the first XV and the other in the second XV. That is all. Ananth: ]]

  • Ariz khan on December 24, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    cont.. Akram's reverse swinging yorkers were good but no way near as lethal as Waqar's. When Waqar was on song he wouldn't distinguish much between a front-line bat or a tailender. Hardly the case with Akram. As a result Akram's tally included higher ratio of tail-enders or percentage players than Waqar. Imran on the other hand had no such extra likings for these. If I have to believe Akram was in top 2-3 fast bowlers in last 3-4 decades then I have to concede Glenn was a mediocre, just a shade better than Aaquibs, Agarkars or Zulus.

  • Ariz khan on December 24, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    cont.. The difference lied in their usage of new ball, Akram was no way near Imran. Imran had a mastery over in-swingers/cutters. But the prime difference was Imran's inability to beat the edge as compared to Akram, who would beat the bat more often. But as we all know that there isn't much rewards for beating the bats, other than moral victory for bowler. If one takes that into account then I have to agree that Akram was better. Unfortunately thats not the case. You have to take wickets. You have to bowl balls that would move enough to kiss the edge and not beat it. Mcgrath never swung or cut the ball much, but whatever it was, enough to take wickets. I remember Kapil's later half of the career where he would swung away the new ball, but had absolutely no control over the amount of swing. Result was that he would hardly take a wicket with the new ball. Cont..

  • Ariz khan on December 24, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    cont.. which was later confirmed or otherwise by advent and my access to statsguru in cricinfo.

    Akram made his debut at around mid 80s and quickly established himself as one of the top ODI bowlers. Although he took 10 wickets in his very 2nd test, it took him time to establish himself in the longer format. Lack of the certain variations was one of the reasons. With a natural slant across a right hander, he would also move the ball away, would vary his line and length, yorkers. But only when he mastered reverse swing and also started to bring the ball back to the bat he became a different proposition. But it took him almost 5 years! He almost had all the variations required of a fast bowler. On the other hand Imran could hardly bowl yorkers, or move the ball away from bat. Reverse swing, probably Akram was better. Akram in general bowled at a better length. So what was the difference? Cont..

  • Ariz khan on December 24, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    There are lot of discussions here, I have knit pick one that is Imran vs Akram as bowlers. I only realized in 2004 that majority of people consider Wasim to be a superior TEST bowler. That baffled me at first and then I researched for the reasons. The reasonings I came up was that 1. Most people lack the ability to separate the performance in test from ODIs (remember how Sehwag was dropped after one bad TEST series in SA, mainly because he was failing continuously in ODIs). 2. Most people whom I interacted were from Ind/Pak – Akram had a huge impact against India in both format. 3. Not many Indians would be able to motivate themselves to watch a match say between Pak and any non-Indian team (or for that matter a match between NZ and England). 4. Not many do keep track of who got whom out. A Gavaskar wicket was not the same as a Doshi. Current example is Kallis and Martin. Although I never kept statistical record of this but a picture slowly developed for each bowler, cont..

  • Ariz khan on December 24, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    Hey Ananth, I have to be a little blunt here to confess that the major reason as to why I read your blog is due to the readers comments and your active monitoring and replying (even though you are not in the best health). Although I don't agree with most comments here but that's OK. The important thing is that the mediocrity is not the norm (credit goes mainly to you). I haven't seen Wally or Everton bat so I would refrain from commenting on them as it would be mainly based on what I read from what other players or journalists had to say, I think others can also read the same and draw their own conclusions. I am certainly not going to get in argument with someone about Venkat's bowling based on what Ananth or some xyz has said for what I saw of him he looked at best a mediocre bowler, Doshi and maninder were better (although both were different type - left armers). No one has to agree to it. cont..

  • Boll on December 24, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    I think I should also mention (as I believe I did initially) that I`m not accusing people of voting purely on nationalistic lines - wherever they hail from, or whatever team they support. As others have pointed out, the results (and associated comments) indicate that almost everyone has approached the task of selecting this team with an admirable lack of such tendencies.

    However, it would be naive to pretend that a group predominantly composed of South Africans, or Kiwis or Indians, or fans of any nationality would not differ in their preferences.

    Despite that, as I`ve said before, it`s difficult to argue against the selection of any of the 15 players who made the cut here. I think we did a pretty decent job.

  • dale on December 24, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    Regards to Miland: Thanks for providing a list of the geographical distribution of our contributors.Twenty three different countries! Of course we would never know the nationality of the commentators but this does give an indication of the voting population. Thanks again.

  • shrikanthk on December 24, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    Good points Wasp about the pitfalls of micro-analyzing too much.

    I agree with all your points. Nobody's denying the greatness of Headley or Weekes or Hammond. However it is difficult to make a case for them over and above names like Greg Chappell or even moderns like Ricky Ponting or Michael Clarke.

    Some highly underrated names that are simply not being discussed often on such threads, because their test averages are a little below 50 -

    Peter May, Stan McCabe, Bill Ponsford, Bob Simpson, Charlie MaCartney, Michael Clarke, Kevin Pietersen, Damien Martyn, Denis Compton

    Among bowlers / all-rounders - Clarrie Grimmett, Alan Davidson, Wes Hall, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann

    I am not saying any of these fellas should get into first/second XV. But I'd like to see their names come up more often in discussion.

    By the way - Great work Milind! Very surprised with the volume of entries from Aus. Such a small country and yet so many entries! [[ The strength of the sub-continental diaspora probably. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 24, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    @Ananth, absolutely. I`ll jump in there, and join you in thanking Milind for a typically selfless, and self-promotionless(?)addition to discussions. Some weeks back I may have got the ball rolling on discussions about the demographics of posters here, and the impact that would have on the final outcome, so it`s probably only fair that I front up and face the music.

    I`ve just spent about 15 minutes trying to find my original comment re.demographics of voters (in the original article) without success, but I think I suggested that 80% would be Indian supporters; 90% plus, supporters of Asian teams.

    It seems I was a little out on my estimates... although perhaps not by as much as the geographical distribution suggests; one would expect most of the US-based (many from the UK, Aus) votes to come from the subcontinent for example, So, while Milind has given us an extremely interesting look at the geographical distribution of votes, we should be careful to not to draw false conclusions. [[ You are right but Milind is correct in setting the base as the location. The only other way is by looking at the names. I did a rough tallying based on names and my feeling is that it is 75-25 split between the subcontinent and oustide. Of course xyz may be an Indian living in Australian or Pakistani living in US or a Bangladeshi living in Iceland. For that matter Boll is not the pseudonym for Ishiro Tanaka but a Sydney resident, wearing his Aussie heart on his sleeve, currently imparting English language with an Australian twang to unsuspecting Japanese: and hopefully some cricket knowledge too. Maybe in another couple of years' time we may have a comment or two from Tanaka or Ishiguro !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on December 24, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    I am quite disappointed with the lack of any comment on the yeomen work done by Milind on the geographical distribution of the readers. It is indeed a tough task and I was not sure whether I could do it. Forget about appreciation, but at least the distribution itself, quite different to what many people would have perceived earlier, is worth a comment or two. But we go our merry ways with Chappell, Hammond, Headley, Marshall, Ambrose et al. Ananth

  • Waspsting on December 24, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    @Shri - i agree that Wally Hammond is a tad overrated, but have always felt you are a touch harsh on him.

    He grinded against the best attacks - specifically Aus - but he did butcher most of the others in true killer manner.

    Grinding's not pretty, but ave 50 vs the best team..seems to me to justify his approach.

    Also, much of these grinding efforts came in timeless matches. Grinding is not at all a bad approach in such situations - possibly prefarble to being aggresion even - since your wearing the wicket down for the opposition to bat on as you go along (given Hammond got the runs)

    My main critique of Wally is his poor record against WI. he seemed to struggle against pace in general. Aus' attack was based on spin, and WI - though not top quality paceman - was at least based on fast pace.

    Hammond scored poorly against them. This coupled with all accounts of him struggling against fast bowling, short bowling etc. makes me think there was a genuine weakness there.

    what do you think?

  • Waspsting on December 24, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    @Murray - i should clarify my position a bit both in general, and re: Weekes

    Overall ave qualifies him as GREAT player. NO QUESTION.

    overall average will always comprise big average against some teams/certain conditions and lesser ave. against some teams/certain conditions.

    It follows logically that EVERYONE should average more in flat conditions and/or vs weak teams than in tough conditions and/or vs strong teams - as Weekes does.

    I take a point off from him because he's so disproportionately in that mold - as the stats show.

    I'm not a fan of microanalyzing for weaknesses. Everyone's had their weak performances - Viv, Greg Chappell, Border, SRT, Lara - but i've observed certain judges will stress a particular short term failure or success (e.g. Amarnath's splendid form in WI followed by disaster vs WI in Ind) to "prove" whatever they want to prove.

    I try to picture the quality of the forest, not each individual tree - and note differences between certain sections of the forest

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 24, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    A comment on Greg Chappel's dominating series against West Indies in 1975-76... West Indies had only two real fast bowlers, Holding and Roberts, of which Holding was a debutant. After this series where he started at an average of 61, Holding quickly improved to 19 and 12 in his next two series.

    Hence on the basis that Holding was just a debutant can we dismiss his 1975-76 Oz performance as irrelevant, and hence devalue GS Chappell's achievement ? Perhaps not. But still...

    The gap between Holding and Roberts is in my opinion an objective measure. In the same three series where Holding averaged 61, 19 and 12, Roberts averaged 26, 29 and 19.

    Quite clearly, in the latter two series Holding was quite the equal of Roberts or marginally better in terms of series aggregates, but in his first series was just a spring chicken.

    That does dim the lustre of GS Chappell's 700 runs quite a bit. Roberts himself, Marshall, and Ambrose had similarly poor starts in their first series, but naturally.

  • sumanth on December 24, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    looks like people are in impression that Sachin is not match winner in test cricket compare to Lara and others. Sachin got more MOM's than Lara for their information [in test cricket only, though Sachin has played more matches]. I am not trying to degrade Lara in any manner here. [[ A completely out-of-context comment. Ananth: ]]

    I don't understand why this is out of context. I see lot of comments saying SRT is not a match winner and this is the reason he should not be in the BEST XV test players list. Just wanted to throw some light there :). [[ Both Tendulkar and Lara have been selected in the XV very comfortably. Almost no one has questioned inclusion of either. Then why this defence of Tendulkar, especially using the often-wrongly given MOM awards as the basis. That too in Test cricket. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 24, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    Merry Christmas everyone.

    Thanks for putting up with me.... I lol don't want to mention another Chapel till Xmas morning ;). I did overdo that :( ... yet anyone who picks and chooses tours, I'll never remain a fan of.

    Cheers Murray.

  • Engle on December 23, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    @Sam, please, Wally Hammond was never knighted..there was no ' Sir ' bestowed upon him.

    Having said that, he does remain a fine cricketer who accepted a load on his broad shoulders as batsman, bowler, slip fielder and captain. He did bestrode the cricketing world, and but for Bradman, would have prominently stood out far more amongst his ilk.

  • Murray Archer on December 23, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    @ Waspsting

    RE : Weekes

    :) you (and Shri and others here) have a very nice reading list. (While on that note, the recently published "Bradman's War" (re: 1948) is rubbish and please don't bother buying it ! )

    I have not seen anything ever published about those team instructions, yet am certain they existed. As far as I know, they may not even have come to light until 1954. Yet by 1954/55 they were part of a stewing kettle of discontent (much of which was from opponents) that finally, later brought some sense and dignity to WI team leadership.

    I am also certain that the bouncers to Weekes started on first day of first test in 1951. ( my notes on Brisbane tests are always more complete than at any other venue). Also that there were far more bouncers used than in the previous series against Eng.

    Nicely constructed and put forward analysis on Weekes though :) Thanks.

    He's a personal favourite of mine, but fully understand if not of others...... thin air up around most of these :)

  • shrikanthk on December 23, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Shrikanthk, Dexter (who may join the list of Englishmen whose punditry you pooh pooh), includes Hammond in his list of big hitters along with J Reid, Viv etc in "From Bradman to Boycott"

    Well I know that. It is no secret from anyone that Hammond was a very powerful hitter of the cricket ball. A massive figure who could bludgeon attacks when in mood.

    But here I am not debating what Hammond "could" do, but what he actually did at the crease. Yes, he packed a lot of power in his frame. But he seldom unleashed it. Most of the time, he grafted and grinded good attacks at snail's pace.

  • Waspsting on December 23, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    against Eng and Aus, especially in flat WI pitches, but was nothing special against them.

    Overall, failed i'd say in Eng and Aus, though excuses are offered for those.

    in 27 matches vs Eng/Aus - 2027 runs, ave. 43.1 in 14 matches in Eng/Aus - 778 runs, ave. 29.9 in 21 matches vs Ind/Pak/NZ - 2428 runs, ave. 83.7

    Those are some stats for Weekes, supporting my take on him

  • Waspsting on December 23, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    and Weekes soon got out to one. Lindwall felt that if Weekes hadn't hesitated, he'd probably have whacked the bouncers.

    Miller quotes Weekes as saying there was nothing wrong with the bouncers, or the number of them and Worrell says the same thing.

    Re: "worst thing since bodyline", my feeling is post bodyline, world cricket was overly sensitive to the issue of bouncers.

    Compton by all accounts received 2 or 3 in an innings of 180 odd - got out to one, and there was a row about unsportsmanlike bowling. Bradman ordered Lindwall not to retaliate to the spate of bouncers he'd received from Bill Edrich because the press would make a row over it.

    I doubt that the number of bouncers bowled in 52 were over the top - by most standards.

    Probably it was a little more than what world cricket had gotten used to and was particularly sensitive about at the time.

    Re: Weekes more generally, I support Shri's take. he massacared weak attacks - Ind, NZ - and had his moments against (cont)

  • Waspsting on December 23, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    @Murray - my knowledge of the 52 WI tour of Aus is based on Keith Miller's book on the series and also Lindwall and Frank Worrell's books - if i may add on to what you've said re: Weekes, short bowling, etc.

    I know of no instructions for the series to cease hooking, and upto the 5th match, Weekes was not overly bombarded with bouncers.

    He tore a leg muscle in the 1st test, which contributed to his failures.

    In the 5th match, Lindwall bowled a few bouncers at Weekes - no big deal. Weekes just missed with a hook shot on one.

    Non-striker and captain Stollmeyer loudly instructed Weekes to leave the bouncers alone. Lindwall thought to himself that the instructions would put Weekes in two minds, since he assessed Weekes to be an instinctive player who liked to deal with the short ball firmly.

    For this reason, Lindwall bowled another bouncer, and again Weekes just missed and again Stollmeyer repeated his advice in the hearing of all.

    So Lindwall bowled more (cont)

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 23, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Voltaire - Your query on who collared Marshall...

    You will find that while people like Colin Miller and Jonty Rhodes have hooked Ambrose, this was in the late 90s, when Ambrose and indeed the whole WI was on oxygen. In his pomp, perhaps in One Day cricket sure, but tests not at all.

    On Marshall, you will find this in one of the most extraordinary tests that ever happened, in 1986 in Faisalabad. West Indies led by 89 runs on a rotten pitch, but in a critical phase of the Pak II inns, Akram smashed Marshall around, and swung the match firmly away from West Indies who made 53 in the last innings. You will also find Wayne Phillips doing much the same thing in the Barbados test of 1983-84 during his amazing century. As I said earlier, these things dont get written about, but they did happen.

    Shrikanthk, Dexter (who may join the list of Englishmen whose punditry you pooh pooh), includes Hammond in his list of big hitters along with J Reid, Viv etc in "From Bradman to Boycott".

  • shrikanthk on December 23, 2012, 5:15 GMT

    Peer and expert references are quite important to me. For others, maybe not so.

    Sam: I know where you are coming from. Even I have been accused of relying heavily on peer references and literature by several readers on this blog!

    And I'd think very very hard before dismissing someone as highly regarded as Headley or Hammond or Weekes.

    They must've been special players. All I objected to was your remark that Hammond was more aggressive than Chappell, which he was not.

    Yes. Bradman rated Hammond, Headley and Weekes very highly. But he also rated Greg Chappell extremely highly. He also adored other moderns like Viv Richards, Tendulkar and Lara.

    Bradman's dream XI was curious at first sight. But I have grown to respect it. It seems quirky on paper but is perhaps better suited to adapt across multiple eras than most other stat-based teams.

  • Sam on December 23, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    Ananth, I never meant to convey that I expected others to follow my opinions. I was merely discussing my own queries and the changes that I would make.

    Personally, I would swap Dravid and Kallis for Headley and Hammond for the reasons that I mentioned. That's all I want wanted to say.

    And perhaps, we should leave it at that. [[ Sam, you guys have had minimal restrictions. I have my own self-imposed constraints. To ensure that these are really the Readers' selections. I would be very comfortable with the changes you have suggested. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 23, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    @ Sri

    RE : Weekes in Aus.

    The WWI team management had instructed the African heritage batsmen to under no circumstances hook during that tour '51/52. Thinking they should show no "trademark" flamboyance and knuckle down (... Knuckleheads !!! )

    Once that became obvious to Lindwall (in particular) there was a horrible amount of short pitched bowling that series. Weekes was targeted in particular. Wisden writing about it stated that it was perhaps the worst thing seen since bodyline. Being a natural hooker, Everton didn't really know what else to do with throat balls and therefore struggled.

    Everyone I know/knew that saw him on that tour rated him very highly.

    I also believe that in one of his tours of England he was "playing on one leg" so to speak.

    Interesting thing about Weekes ; I think you'll find he has the second highest runs per innings ever.

  • Sam on December 23, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    I don't have a problem with Chappell's inclusion because he's around the mark, but as Boll and some others have alluded to, I think quite a few people would raise an eyebrow at Dravid's selection.

    In terms of how the global cricketing community seems to rate these respective batsmen, I think there is an almost universal consensus that Headley and Hammond are rated higher. When Cricinfo's expert panel named their World XI a couple of years ago, both Headley and Hammond made it into the Second XI, and I think Headley was one point away from displacing Viv in the First XI. That in itself is a pretty telling sign to me that he must have been an awesome player.

    And then I listen to Bradman's lavish praise of Headley and the fact that he named Hammond as 12th Man in his 'Dream Team' and all of these factors lead me to conclude that Sir George Headley and Sir Walter Hammond must have been two pretty special players.

  • Sam on December 23, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    The fact that they did all of their work on uncovered pitches adds to their greatness in my eyes.

    Headley's credentials: Averaged over 60 on uncovered pitches while carrying a weak team on his back and close to 70 in First-Class cricket. His Test average would have been even higher if not for a few ill-chosen matches when he came out of retirement.

    Headley and Pollock played almost the same ammount of matches, have near identical records and were both revered by their peers and everybody who saw them bat, which is good enough for me, so I would have had them both in the second side even though they didn't play as much Test cricket as some others, through no fault of their own.

    Peer and expert references are quite important to me. For others, maybe not so.

  • Sam on December 23, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Well, when we talk about cricketers from the 1920s and 30s that most of us didn't have the opportunity to see, I guess we have to go on hearsay to an extent. What else are we supposed to do? We first check their records, then we read history books and listen to what the experts tell us. And the experts tell us that Headley are Hammond are almost univerally regarded as being in the top 10 batsmen of all-time.

    Based on everything I have seen and read, Dravid and Kallis don't appear to be rated anywhere near as highly.

    In an exercise like this, I think you have to take the views of experts quite seriously. And some pretty good judges, Bradman included, seem to rate Headley and Hammond right at the top of the pantheon. Bradman aside, along with Hobbs, they seem to be regarded as the greatest batsmen of the first half of the 20th Century. [[ Very specious arguments, Sam. I take your point on players. That is your right. But how can you expect the others to follow your views blindly. I have told abvout 10 times already that these are Readers' selections and not mine, not a poll of other commentators, not a poll of other great players. How many more times should I repeat that. Sobers does not rate Warne high. So what should I do. Warne himself might not rate Sobers high. Richards might not rate Weekes high, Hammond might rate Hobbs higher than Bradman and so on. Fine. That is their views. this is a Readers' poll. Well-informed and insightful readers. That is the premise. Please accept that. If 62 players have selected Kallis that indicates that amongst this group of readers, he is rated high. Why should I go against these views. Pl look carefully. In the Readers' selection 16-30, I have selected 12. The three others are Greg Chappell (43rd) and the two spinners. The only change I could go with is Headley for Chappell since he got more votes. However the reason I went for Chappell is because there is a clear negative mindset on Chappell in India and that might have cost him a few votes. Anyhow you could substitute Headley any day. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 23, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    G. Chappell is also another interesting choice - obviously a classy player - but perhaps not as aggressive or as commanding as a Headley, a Hammond or a Weekes

    Where do these perceptions originate from? Greg Chappell was a far more aggressive, free stroking player than Hammond!

    Check out the scorecards and the strike rates. Hammond was a grafter. He may have dominated NZ attacks. But against Aus, he invariably grafted at an SR of 35. Even his big double hundreds were scored at that rate. I don't think Hammond's career SR is too different from that of Boycott!

    No disrespect to Hammond. Am sure he was a great player. But he WAS NOT an overly dominant batsman.

    Re Weekes/Headley - Weekes struggled against the best Aus and England attacks of his time, especially abroad. (Av: 24 in Aus and 33 in Eng). Brilliant on the flat wickets of Caribbean and SC but not elsewhere. Headley only faced second rung English attacks most of the time.

  • Ananth on December 23, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    Milind, my invaluable and prized asset, has done a wonderful job of identifying the source of readers. The analysis is based on the place friom which they sent the entries, not by name as I mistakenly tried to do. The following is the summary.

    
    Afghanistan	1
    Antigua 	1
    Australia      32
    Bahrain	        3
    Bangladesh	1
    Barbados	2
    Canada	        1
    Germany	        1
    Iceland	        1
    India	       75
    Ireland	        1
    Israel	        2
    Italy	        1
    Japan	        3
    Netherlands	1
    New Zealand	4
    Pakistan       19
    Saudi Arabia	1
    South Africa	3
    Sri Lanka	3
    UnitedArabEmir  2
    United Kingdom 23
    USA	       24
                  205
    
    Iceland !!! Germany !! The distribution, based on geographical location, is better than I had indicated. In summary, Asia: 110 & Rest: 95. Milind, many thanks. May your tribe flourish. Ananth

  • Sam on December 23, 2012, 0:59 GMT

    G. Chappell is also another interesting choice - obviously a classy player - but perhaps not as aggressive or as commanding as a Headley, a Hammond or a Weekes, who I would have been inclined to pick ahead of him. I just had a quick look at the spreadsheet and it does appear that Chappell (10 votes) has leapfrogged both Headley (15 votes) and Hammond (13 votes) to get into the team. But Chappell would still be in my thinking for a position in a second or third team, so he's there or thereabouts.

    Some will argue that you need defensive batsmen as well as attacking players in your line-up which is true, but I would be more inclined to choose those at the top of the order to see off the new ball (Hutton, Gavaskar etc), and then let the middle-order try and force the pace.

    Nevertheless, an interesting exercise, and some fine players on the table.

  • Sam on December 23, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    And Kallis falls into the same boat. Again, just not dynamic enough.

    I think if you're going to hold down a middle-order position at this type of elite level, you've got to be able to do more than just accumulate runs. When the situation demands it, you should be able to take charge and dominate an attack. That's what made guys like V. Richards, G. Pollock, and G. Sobers such special players is that not only could they defend well, but when the situation demanded it they could also explode and put their team in a commanding position very quickly.

    Some might argue that Kallis' bowling gets him into the side, but personally I would have gone for Botham as the all-rounder in the second side because of his game-changing abilities.

  • Sam on December 23, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    The only query I have about both teams is the middle-order in the second side. For mine, it's just not dynamic enough.

    Personally, I think if you add Sir George Headley and Sir Walter Hammond into the mix, it looks far more potent. A middle-order of Headley at 3; Hammond at 4; and Pollock at 5 looks pretty formidable, and would give the first team a run for its money.

    As it stands now, the selections I would query are Dravid, Kallis, and to a lesser extent G. Chappell.

    No disrespect intended, because he was a fine player in his own rght, but I think a few of us would agree that Rahul Dravid might be punching a bit above his weight in this company. For mine, he just wasn't dominant or dynamic enough to be batting at number 3 or 4 in an All-Time Second XI. Not when you've got access to the greatest players in history. [[ There are multiple points to be considered. 1. These two are selections almost totally based on readers' votes. Suddenly I cannot deviate when selecting the second XV to take in players with 7 votes in place of those who got 70 votes. 2. You are being unfair to Dravid and Kallis. One has almost the best away record in modern history. The other has the best record amonst the players of 40 years. They are true Test players. They would score at around 3 per over but deliver almost always. 3. What are Headley's credentials. Mostly heresay. Without putting the great player down, the numbers are not big enough. 4. Hammong scored over 550 runs against the weakest bowling side ever. If you take away these two innings, his average falls to 54+. His overall bowling quality faced is around 44, 10 more than Dravid and 12 more than Greg Chappell. 5. You have forgotten Barry Richards and Graeme Polloock. Ananth: ]]

  • dale on December 22, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    Ian Chappell was a great captain, one of the very best in the history of the game but it is a stretch for even his most ardent supporter to say he was a better player than Greg.More of a fighter perhaps. If it is a personal preference ok that is our right but cant go farther than that. Always wondered why we think it is best to deflate one player in order to make another look good. McCabe,Harvey,Ponting might be Greg's most serious challengers for #2 Australian after the Don.

  • Murray Archer on December 22, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    @ Harsh

    Lille's haul sure looks different when you add in 130 wickets in 18 matches.( 106 WSC & 24 World XI)

    WSC Aust played WSC WI 10 matches total. (5 home and 5 away)

    Ian played one test match against them afterwards (home test in retirement season). So against a top 4 quickies Windies side; had 11 matches 642 runs 32.1 avg

    Greg (5 years younger) had 6 more test matches against them and ended up with 16 matches 1198 runs 39.3 avg (good thing he got those 620 in WI - the 11 matches in Aust don't look too flash - 27.5 avg)

    Guess who the next series was against when Greg retired ?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 22, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    Waspsting - I would tend to agree with Murray that Ian Chappell was a better player of high class pace than Greg. He made 156 in Perth, holding the innings together before Fredericks took over. In Packer 78-79 also, he played extremely productively, at times as opener. I personally cannot believe that Kerry Packer can be held anywhere near Test cricket (have given reasons earlier). Greg gradually disintegrated against West Indies, and his dominating series was all but forgotten by 1981-82 when he let his team down and squandered a 1-0 lead. Of course, there is a tendency to remember only the good parts as they get written about more than the failures.

  • swarzi on December 22, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    Voltairec, If Greg Chappell was "dragging" short balls, meaning bouncers as you said towards midwicket, instead of "paddling" them over square leg, that is the sign of the very greatest of batsmen - They simply have more time than the ordinary batsmen to pull a ball of that velocity to midwicket. The ordinary batsmen could only paddle them somewhere towards square leg or behind square. That's how Bradman, Sobers, Richards, Lara and you saw Greg Chappell for yourself played - they pulled - ordinary batsmen hook.

  • Murray Archer on December 22, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    @ Gerry

    Sorry I got my series muddled.

    The series I was mentioning was WI in Aust '81/2. The series you were asking about was '79/80. '79/80 is very difficult to assess because of re-integration and TV rights forcing a silly schedule. WI touring same time as England. Aust played WI then Eng then WI then Eng then WI then Eng. Continuity may have been the problem that year for Australians ? WI meanwhile only had the Aussies to think about and prepare for.

    @ Waspsting

    No doubt Greg was a way better batsman. Ian though had a way of "getting under opponent's skin". Saw him do it to lots of people. Holding that day was probably only incredulous at the decision until whatever it was Ian said.

    In that one series, Lillee and Thommo WERE more hostile than the WI bowlers. In fact that series was probably the whole kick start for WI becoming so hostile.

    Roberts that tour was a one man band with only a debuting Holding. Greg feasted on Holder, Boyce, Julian etc.

  • Waspsting on December 22, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    @Harsh - I don't rate Ian Chappell in the same league as Greg.

    Ian did not "dominate" the West Indies. He had splendid series' against them before Roberts' debut - and post Roberts/Holding, his record was far poorer than Greg's - including or excluding Packer

    (no disrespecting his splendid series, but when you talk about "dominating" WI, I assume the implication is dominating the great fast attacks? - he didn't do that)

    @Murray - Ian had Holding crying on the pitch because he had edged the ball to the keeper and was given not out... hardly Ian's credit. And Greg was scoring 700+ runs @100 average in that series.

    Ian probably a better, more aggresive player of good spin, though.

    Imran never bowled to Ian in test cricket, and Sobers' list of airy opinions (Gupte >Warne, Lillee/Thommo more hostile than West Indies foursome attacks, etc.) are many in number.

    Greg's in my top 10 batsmen ever, he'd be next choice into the 15 i chose

  • Harsh Thakor on December 22, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Morally,I would always consider Packer cricket where the intensity and competitiveness was greater than the conventional games.Imagine bowling to the likes of Barry and Viv Richards,Chappell brother,Greenidge ,Lloyd etc. and facing upto Lillee,Imran,Roberts,Garner or Holding.Infact Viv's best batting ever came in the 1977-78 season of Packer cricket when he dev oured the bowling averaging 86.2 .Who can forget Lillee's 79 wickets including a 7 wicket haul or Barry Richards 207 and 124 n.o ?

    I think we should add the Packers stats to do justice to the greats and award them their correct place amongst the greats.

    To me Stats never did justice to Ian Chappell,who to me was arguably a better player of genuine pace bowling than brother Greg and a better batsman in a crisis.Gary Sobers and Imran rated Ian above Greg as a batsman,but overall I rate Greg ahead as he was the complete classical batsman.I would include Greg in my top 12 batsman of all ,just edging Ponting.

  • Harsh Thakor on December 22, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    @Murray Archer

    It is worth mentioning that in World Series Packer cricket Greg Chappell was the most prolific of all batsman scoring 1416 runs at an average of 56.14..His best innings were 246 n.o and 174 versus the Rest of the World.In the supertests in the Caribbean in 1979 against Holding ,Roberts,Croft and co he scored 621 runs ,at an average of 69 runs with 3 centuries.Viv averaged 55 against Greg's 56 in the entire series from 1977-1979.Arguably no overseas batsman performed better in the Carribaen against the great attack with the possible exception of Jimmy Amarnath in 1983.Greg also averaged 59 in tests won against Viv's 52 and morally scored 31 centuries if you add his scores versus Rest of the world in 1972 and in Packer cricket.Infact the comparison of Greg Chappell with Viv Richards is very much like Lara with Tendulkar.

    In a crisis arguably,Ian Chappell was the best,particularly dominating West Indies. batsman of his era who averaged 50.94 at one down

  • zain on December 22, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    I think imran,bradman,akram and sobers should always be selected in any all time eleven given their record in any circumstances and secondly i think that imran because of his ability to inspire people and leadership qualities should be selected and his record is just amazing.

  • gul gee on December 22, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    i am surprised that where are ponting and inzimamulhaq.the most wining inngs they had.make a preview at that.

  • Murray Archer on December 22, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    @ Voltairec

    It's not remarkable at all to assess honestly the guy I modeled my teenage batting upon ? I was trying to be as good a player as I could be at that time. (not good enough certainly !) I grew up (on my own requirements) with a mirror and full sized picture of Graeme Pollock playing back defense next to it. (It had been Neil Harvey, but the change in 1968 is a long story)

    What's remarkable ? about me as an aussie, is surely only not rating Gilchrist, McGrath or S. Waugh ? (many more will along with me not rate Hayden). It's remarkable to me so many Aussies speak before they have any idea.

    I rate cricketers on how I think they'd present problems in opposition if I were the opposing skipper. How to get them out and how to minimise them getting us out. It's simple and very old fashioned. I trust it (because if I got it wrong I may be killed walking forward that time ! ) - there can never be such doubts !

    Prior to my sight, I have a few who I totally trust in judgement.

  • Ananth on December 22, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    I woke up with a start to realize that I had done a review of 2011 this year and it was very well received since the article presented many new facets of the game. How can I miss that? Especially as I have a nifty program which analyzes everything related to the year. That means I cannot really take off during the month of January. This year my Test review article appeared during the first week of February, four weeks too late. It should appear almost immediately after the end of the year. Hence I will do my normal work in January. I hope to publish the final review article on or around 7 Jan.

  • ygkd on December 22, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    Good to see Bob Taylor and Les Ames get a mention. If Clem Hill is just about the most under-appreciated batsman of all time, Ames fits the bill for keeper-bat (although that designation probably doesn't do Ames' glovework justice). Though I never saw Ames, I am familiar with Taylor and he was excellent. If he was around today I reckon he'd be the best gloveman by a mile (and P Jayawardene and M Rahim aren't all that bad). But then I think Taylor only made one FC 100 and that was exact so I guess that's why he never got a mention. Ames, on the other hand, made 100+ FC hundreds including a fair few Test ones. I probably should have put him in my pre-war team, but was trying to pick across the eras. As for his glovework, I think he got 1000 FC dismissals and well over one-third were stumpings. Now that is a mark of quality keeping. Very few have managed over 40% stumping/catches ratio in FC, Sth Aus's Chilla Walker being one (he kept to Grimmett) but he only toured twice & died in WWII. [[ Ames's batting was neither the explosive Gilchrist-style nor no.4-Flower style. An average of 40 against quite average bowling attacks (Av Bow qty-44+). But as a package ranks quite high. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 22, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    Greg Chappell was an outstanding batsman !

    My opinion that he had difficulties against the best pace and the best spin are a direct comparison to his brother, who seemed to handle the extremes better ? Ian though, never seemed to cash in on upon the average bowlers as much. Ian was a much more savage competitor ! I never saw Greg having Holding on his hands and knees crying on the pitch etc ..... also never saw Greg imperiously smashing likes of Prasanna & Gibbs.

    When we used to play (as 16 or so yo's) "you pick one and I'll pick one" I ALWAYS wanted foremost IM Chappell and Thommo ( they were the ones I least wanted on the opposition side !!!)

    Likewise it would be a pleasure (no matter how badly shown as hopeless - I already knew that ! lol), to bowl to Greg or bat to Dennis. At that stage of life, ( 15 to 20) that was what I dreamed about. To bat to Warne is perhaps the ultimate dream in a later life. ( at least he's unlikely to kill you, (he's not Thommo) so could be fun ! )

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 22, 2012, 2:25 GMT

    On Ambrose as a "nagger" rather than someone who blasted batsmen out - I think I know where this is coming from.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQoXcVSvt7w Watch this at 1:20

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecC7hCu4OBs Watch this at 1.20 for 2 minutes

    There was plenty of this from Ambrose in the period 1988-89 to 1995. After age 33, he slowed down, and was a 83kmph line and length prefectionist. 1994 is when live TV happened in India for round the world matches. People saw McGrath with line and length perfection, Ambrose got associated more with his approach in his last 5 years, and now is classified as a "nagger" in some comments above.

  • rosh on December 22, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    "Guru:Who were the people who did not pick Bradman? Any justifications for that?"

    Think all of them were related to Eric Hollies the guy bowled Bradmad for a duck in his last outing denying him a "perfect" 100plus average.

    But great analysis and brilliant final XV. I personally would have selected Lillee after Marshall as the other fast bowler in the fist XI. Most certainly he was above Imran, McGrath,Akram and Ambrose in his sheer aggressive pace bowling even after injuries forced him to cut down on his pace. Even the great Hadlee admitted that he modelled himself after Lillee. Modern and surely Asian bias would have put him below Imran and Wasim, who themselves were magnificent bowlers no doubt and should stay in the best XV. Remember Lillee played more often in tough Ashes matches and against the marvellous Windies sides. True he failed in pakistan in his early days when Thompson broke down on tour. And Lillee never played in India. But Clive Lloyd had him above Windies pacies

  • dale on December 22, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    Per Ananth's 2011 article in regards to the most succesful batsman against the mighty West Indies from 1975 to 2000 : Greg Chappell was rated just above Graham Gooch. Chappell averaged 58.78 - adjusted to 56.69 while Gooch averaged 44.84 - adjusted to 50.32. These two were clearly ahead of the rest even though it must be noted that Chappell never travelled to the West Indies during this period (except with WSC - he was the best batsman during that series) Of course this is just stats but it is hard to digest the notion that Chappell was somehow lacking against genuine fast bowlers. Chappell was the number two batsman in the world during the IVA Richards era and played fast bowling as well as anyone except Richards himself and perhaps Gooch.

  • Murray Archer on December 22, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    "i am surprised that Taylor got no votes here."

    Only because of Tallon, lol Taylor was certainly in the mix for mine :).

    Really am not trying to be a pain, just showing a bowling-centric attitude (wickets win games !). One miss per innings is worth probably 30 ? A half-chance taken the same.

    Same with fieldsmen ! e.g. I think Aus with Symmonds for a while (not so long ago) were far worse when without him. For reasons of both the pressure sometimes creating wickets, and the 35 odd per innings saved. Our only other good fieldsmen at the time were in slips.

    Most wickets in cricket involve the fieldsmen ('Keepers included). Many painfully punished errors do also. I believe it's an area that is underrated in assessment and therfore statistical development.

    Should some new stats be created ? Would love to hear anyone's thoughts on what, and how. [[ You are correct. Cricket stats have remained almost at the same place for many a year. There is not that level of numbers which float around for Basketball or Baseball. Cricinfo does possess ball-by-ball info for the past 10 years or so. But in a proprietary mode. If one wants, one could go through the commentary and extract misses/umpire-howlers etc. After 2/3 matches, he would be a candidate for the padded cell. There is a reluctance to post and share this information in the scorecards. Why, for that matter, the dot balls information is priceless in T20 bowling analysis and that has not come to public domain yet. Why cannot we have "O M R W Wd Nb 4s 6s Db Misses" as the bowling analysis. For that matter why not "Runs Balls 4s 6s Db Misses" in batting analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • Voltairec on December 21, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    @Murray It's remarkable that despite being an Aussie(correct me)yourself that you are being so objective about Greg. I am aligned to your thinking despite watching only footage....in 75-76(5-1) series against Windies, where he was feted for scoring 700+ runs, the one instant dissonant note for me was he kinda dragging shortballs to midwicket instead of rockback and thump to squareleg. Given his tremendous record I thought he would bat like Viv....but no Viv is alone for right reasons. A final note on Gilly...boy oh boy whattaplayerrrrr! Initially i was underwhelmed with Gilly...especially WC99 struggles. I clearly remember the great Akram bowling him neck and crop in the league match which Pak won. Then came the series with Pak later that yr that sealed it(as Dr Talha says it). Instead of experiencing extreme pressure of chasing against a formidable attack he simply thrashed everone. Yes Gilly was the toure de force that made Aus invincible from a formidable one. contd

  • Engle on December 21, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    Firstly, what a wonderful compilation of superstar cricketers, ideas, opinions, thoughts, stats all brought together by Ananth's stimulating article - for which he is to be heartily applauded.

    My thoughts on a few issues :

    1. Imran vs Wasim vs Waqar. More than any position on the team, the fast bowler exemplifies effort. The rest of the team is exhorted and encouraged to give off their best when they see the example set by their pacer. Imran had the ability to raise his game depending on the challenge. Leadership and the ability to influence teammates - a quality that sets him apart from the others.

  • Hamza Ahmed Khan on December 21, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    Great work Anand,I quite enjoyed selecting my own XV players, and had a great time going over figures, countering myself on selection of players. Even after all this, I am surprised Truman and Ames got only 6 & 3 votes respectively.

    Ames was a highly interesting case. His batting average is not far behind Gilly, and in the 1930s era, that says something about his batting. You will rightly argue if I have seen him personally keep wickets, and ofcourse I haven't. But I have read extensively on BodyLine and his performances. To keep wickets to Larwood Bowes Voce with bodyline and Verity on uncovered pitches can never have been less than challenging. Also, I am not aware of any wicketkeeper batsman who have scored 100 firstclass centuries. It is more of a romantic choice I confess, but I think I have enough of reasonable logic behind it too.

  • Boll on December 21, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    However, there have been very few cricketers who are as widely admired and respected as Dravid; very few who have been able to combine brilliant on-field performances with a down-to-earth approach and self-deprecating demeanour.

    I quote a fellow Australian (random comment I found on Youtube) "As an Aussie, but more importantly a supporter of cricket, I felt it was our honour and our privilege to have Rahul Dravid speak at the Sir Don Bradman Oration. His thoughtfulness and respect for the history and indeed the future of this great game is something the majority of Cricket Boards around the world should take heed of. He encapsulates everything that is right about this game. Good luck in the future Rahul."

    Here`s the link - well worth a listen. `He encapsulated everything that is right about the game.` - not a bad epitaph.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr4bK63WxXY [[ But, Boll, to be honest, I have been less than impressed by Dravid, the commentator. He commentates the way he played: with a straight bat, with no fuss and in a conservative establishmentarian manner. The "spade" is a "gardener's instrument". He steers clear of strong statements, messages and direct observations on the game. Commentating is not just technical observations but from-the-heart statements and should be effective. Ganguly, on the other hand, is a far more pro-active commentator: in the Ian Chappell and Boycott mould. The spade remains a spade. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 21, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    Ahhh, I can`t stop myself. As much as I love him, Rahul Dravid averaged 35 in 55 tests against the 2 best bowling attacks of his era (Aus/Saf) at a SR of about 35 - that`s not an occasional bad series, that`s pretty consistent underperformance against the best teams in the world. Yes, he was a wonderful batsman; yes, he played some brilliant innings against both those teams and others. Has he been one of the best 7/8 batsmen of all-time? simply no.

    I didn`t pick all of the 1st XV, but nor would I quibble with any of the selections. I didn`t go for Gavaskar, Mcgrath or Imran but certainly seriously considered all of them, and on another day might have them in my side. But Dravid? as many votes as Chappell/Ponting/Headley combined? Yep, it`s been grating on me.

  • Ram on December 21, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    @Ananth, since there are only 15 places and we have more than 100+ accomplished greats in the game, I was thinking why don't I have an Asian Test Best XV and ROW Test Best XV? This way, I can see more players in the Best teams. Let me know what teams you would have in your mind on similar grounds?

    My teams -

    Asian Best Test XV ================== 1. Gavaskar 2. Farookh Engineer (WK) 3. Dravid 4. Tendulkar 5. Zaheer Abbas 6. Imran Khan (Captain) 7. Kapil Dev 8. Akram 9. Kumble 10. Younis 11. Murali

    Only replacement - Sangakkara in place of Farookh if he is ready to open the innings. Sorry, Miandad.

    ROW Best Test XV ================ 1. Hayden 2. Greenidge 3. Bradman 4. Lara 5. Richards 6. Sobers 7. Gilchrist 8. Marshall 9. Warne 10. Ambrose 11. Lillee

    Only replacement - Garner/McGrath in place of Ambrose.

    Well, what do you think, who will win if there is 5 match series - with matches in Perth, Barbados, Lords, Premadasa and Chennai? [[ Ram Any compilation-based articles have to wait for many a month. There is too much work to be done by a single person. If I try to automate it further the human interaction gets lost. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 21, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    No.3 - aka The Man

    Bradman casts such a shadow over all other contenders that we tend to forget other men who have shone in this, traditionally, the position of the best batsman in the team.

    Bradman averaged 104 here; Headley, Hammond and Barrington over 70; Viv and Lara over 60.

    Dravid (ave.53) has scored the most runs at No.3, although his contemporaries (Ponting - 56 and Sangakkara - 59) average more at a significantly better strike rate.

    Some of these players also spent large parts of their careers in different positions; for those who didn`t, Bradman`s presence has probably been a disadvantage.

    Very tough position; often required to come in early, be able to counter-attack etc. but I feel that quite a few people have gone for players who were very important for a national team over better No.3 batsmen here.

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 21, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    Regarding wicketkeeping, I only just caught the tail end of Knott's career (I was born in 1971) and so I can't comment from personal experience. I do know that many observers of the time actually thought that Bob Taylor was the best pure keeper in England and Knott was picked instead of Taylor as much for his better batting (and maybe his Kent partnership with Underwood.) [[ Yes, that is true. The lament at that time was that Knott was keeping a far superior keeper, Taylor, out of the team. If that is the case, i am surprised that Taylor got no votes here. Ananth: ]] What I can say though is that I don't remember too many howlers from Gilchrist and, in my mind at least, he stacks up very well against any other modern keeper in terms of keeping ability.

  • sumanth on December 21, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    looks like people are in impression that Sachin is not match winner in test cricket compare to Lara and others. Sachin got more MOM's than Lara for their information [in test cricket only, though Sachin has played more matches]. I am not trying to degrade Lara in any manner here. [[ A completely out-of-context comment. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 21, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    @Anantha - nope, certainly no suggestion from me that Gilchrist was anything but a very good, often excellent test keeper; very athletic, good keeper to pace, and proved himself over many years to the spinners. He also completely changed the face of modern wicketkeeping, or the way we view past `keepers, in a way that few cricketers have ever been able to reinvent a particular position.

    As I said, I couldn`t leave him out. However I do feel that his brilliance as a batsman has confused the issue somewhat - many teams now seem to be looking for a keeper who can bat like Gilchrist (it`s not going to happen) before they consider keeping skills.

    The most important thing remains that you select a keeper of test class (as Gilchrist clearly was) who can also bat well; not select a keeper who tries to emulate Gilchrist the batsman, and is dodgy with the gloves.

    Take away his keeping skills and you`re still left with one of the most consistently destructive batsmen of all time. [[ If Gilchrist was responsible for initiating (or looking for) top class batsman-keepers, it is great. We now have a new defintion of all-rounders. But I would never support playing of an average keeper because of his batting. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 21, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    @ Dr. talha

    RE : Aus V Pak in Hobart.

    I certainly thought when Ponting got out (5/105 from memory). That's it ! Waqar will run through us in the morning. I was probably more surprised than you !

    My two biggest memories of that match are ... Mark Waugh catching Inzi wow ! (virtually impossible)....... and the sinking feeling I had afterwards.... "that's it, we'll never have a decent keeper again"

    I know I'll never convert the majority. I have been arguing against this trend (largely unsuccessfully) since they picked Marsh.

    I also see Anath's point, that what stats there are, don't necessarily support subjective views about keepers (fieldsmen in general - barring Solkar lol)

    BTW I do think the Sri Lankan here can keep ! (and Ramdin's not bad either)

  • Ravi on December 21, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    "Even now my feeling is that Bradman makes the difference. Otherwise the teams are well-matched. If you get Bradman for a sub-100 score I don't see why the Second XV cannot win. Ananth:"

    Yes, by his incredible batting (numbers), Bradman does skew the selection in his team's favour in any selection. It is very difficult to offset this while selecting a second team to face the team in which he is in.

  • Boll on December 21, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Back to the `keepers...Gilchrist was such a destructive and demoralising force at No.7 as a batsman, and a very good `keeper, that he`s very, very difficult to deny. The other 2 who received votes are slightly different.

    Firstly Sangakkara - if he scores 40 runs in his next test innings he will join Lara and Tendulkar (195 innings) as the fastest to 10,000 runs. You would expect him at least to match Ponting`s 196 innings, and comfortably beat Dravid (206 innings) and Kallis (217 innings) to the mark.

    He has scored most of those runs (about 9,300 of them) at No.3 (ave.59/SR.54). As a `keeper he`s averaged 40 with the bat, without the gloves almost 7000 runs at 67 - astonishing figures.

    What surprises me is that almost all those who selected Sanga picked him as a `keeper/batsman - when he`s been a part-time keeper at best and performed fairly poorly with the bat when has. No way he`s keeping in my all-time XI - as a No.3 he`s the real deal though. [[ In my books Flower is far ahead of Sanga as a keeper-batsman but Sanga gets the edge as a batsman. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on December 21, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    "I must say that there has been no bias despite the Asia-centric reader population. The first 5 selections are non-Asian. Ananth:" [[ Mine was more a general response and not reactive to any of your comments. Ananth: ]] Did not imply any bias in the exercise which you had admirably handled or by the readers in their selections; was just pointing out that whether the selection is made by experts or by discerning, die-hard followers of the game who might have only played recreational/ gully cricket or amatuer cricket, 7 or 8 selections match out of the top 11. It is only the remaining selections that varies due to individual views and theories.

  • Murray Archer on December 21, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    @ Gerry

    A post I made above covers some of what you asked.

    I really am not doubting Suni's bravery or ability. (murdered Thommo) Lillee just seemed to get to him a little. I think that the reaction to being "fired out" when finally at last chance overcoming (on what , you're right was a TERRIBLE pitch) shows it. Even more strongly than the lack of scores.

    I'm in no position to decide whether Packer games should be considered tests. I did watch a few and there was PLENTY of intensity. I was lucky enough to see Barry Richards get a double in the first season :) I do think numbers there should be seen.

    I certainly think the Eng and Aus tours by World XI ('70-72) should have test status.

    I just think Greg Chappell started falling over (to off) a bit at the start of that Aussie summer (coaxed to by Imran). Once in a bit of trouble (with balance at the crease), the Windies bowlers moved him from one problem to the next. They were no doubt relishing the rare opportunity to :).

  • Boll on December 21, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    As far as the `keeping position goes though, I`m still not entirely convinced. I initially picked Gilchrist, and stayed with him despite some misgivings. He certainly wasn`t an automatic pick for me as he was for Ananth and maybe many others; I just found it too tough to leave him out in the end.

    For me, it was between Gilchrist or the best pure-gloveman (probably Knott, who in the ESPN XI ran a very close 2nd). It surprised me that both Sanga and Flower received almost 3 times as many votes as Knott (who averaged 33 with the bat - 5 centuries) and I think the only other `keeper to receive a vote might have been Wasim Bari. Not sure if anyone chose Dravid as the `keeper (don`t think he`s kept in a test match - perhaps as an injury replacement) but it was certainly mentioned as a plus.

    In the end what swung it was that Gilchrist has clearly been the best ever batsman in a particular position - No.7. [[ Boll Is there anything available to say that Gilchrist's keeping was below par. Dropped catch information is conspicuous by its absence. Byes/Innings which I had used in my WK analysis is given below. Gilchrist: 4.4 Knott: 2.8. Is this that relevant. Are we ready to give up an average increase of 11 runs for the increase in Byes of 1.6. Or am I over-simplifying. Let us not forget the catches per inns.Oh I understand the presence of McGrath/Lee/Gillespie et al. But Knott wuld have had his share of fast bowlers. Gilchrist: 3.04 Knott: 1.91. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on December 21, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    @Dr.talha at December 20, 2012 9:24 AM - please bear in mind, that Ambrose's final 6 years featured a terrible WIndies batting line up. A wickets per innings analysis (IMO) is fairer, as I do recall the WIndies regularly collapsing. In that case Ambrose had a wickets per innings ratio of 2.11, Marshall 2.41 based on the parameters you set. IMO, that is close enuff!

  • Murray Archer on December 21, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    @ Voltairec

    Greg was not a natural hooker, but could hook. He started off VERY leg side dominant. After a few years of no-one bowling anywhere near his pads became very practiced through the offside :)

    One summer (around 1980) he got into a tangle started by falling over a bit too Imran's sharp inswing. (got 200 in tangle !) Trying to rectify a batting fault was never going to happen with 4 West Indians expertly targeting their nemisis of 4 years earlier. After about 7 or 8 ducks he went to NZ and sure looked a hooker and puller when Martin Sneddon dropped some short !!! lol

    Nothing against Suni, just seemed to me Lillee had him sorted. Happened in '71/2 in World XI as well as again 9 years later. Lots of people don't remember Lillee before his comeback from a broken back in '74/5. Before he broke his back he was terrifyingly fast.

    Azhar played the short ones ok ...... we had Michael Bevan, who may have been a genius if no short fast bowling was allowed ! lol

  • Boll on December 21, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    Happy Christmas and New Year everyone, especially to you Ananth-san. For a few years you`ve kept on coming up with high quality articles and statistical ananthyses (copyright on that one) which, with no hyperbole at all, have changed the way we look at the game. Apologies to any of you that I`ve pissed off throughout the year, no hard feelings I hope - I`ve loved the chat.

    Although this particular project has probably been the most labour intensive, and obviously one of the most popular, I think the work on batting/bowling quotients was the most innovative stuff so far - groundbreaking research which continues to inform many of the decisions people such as myself have made here. As is the case with a lot of important new research or perspectives in many fields, it`s difficult to remember how we could have done without it.

    So, with the holiday season upon us, here`s to you Ananth and the wonderful site you`ve given us. Long may you and yours and this prosper. Honour is due. [[ Many thanks, Boll. You have made my day, month and year. This is the sort of peer appreciation which compensates for the many hours spent (partly in pain). You are probably going back to Australia for the Christmas. I wish you and your family a wonderful festive season and a great time with close family and friends. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on December 21, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    @Murray Archer at December 20, 2012 4:08 AM - "...so this is what it was like watching Bradman..." - I have to say, I once said that in the middle of Punter's form bubble. However, in hindsight, it was really only a reference to the scorecard, NOT the style. Whereas in my mind, Clarke is the Ozzy batsmen that has most duplicated the style & entries in the scorebooks. Some of Pups innings this summer, he has actually showed total disdain for the bowlers, something that I really have only seen Viv Richards do. Long may it continue!!!!!! (please!) [[ Last 10 Tests, Clarke has scored 1489 at 106.36. And all against top teams. There is still one more Test. But I can confidentally say that this has been the best batsman-year ever. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on December 21, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    @Pallab at December 20, 2012 3:12 AM - Just prior to the end of Ponting's brilliant 5 year form bubble, I would say that Punter was the best batsmen since Bradman for Oz. THe way he was peeling tons for fun, (say 2007), I thought he was Sachin's superior (I don't say that lightly). However his general decline over the last 5 years, means that I go back to Greg Chappell as the best Ozzy bat since Bradman, with Border getting an admirable mention. With respect to who India's best batsmen is? IF, Sachin keeps declining (& refusing to retire or not being allowed to retire), I would say Dravid & Gavaskar would end up battling it out for the honour & I can't split those two. [[ I get the feeling many people outside India echo your feelings. Why does the guy who painted majestic landscapes is now painting houses. As I often do I take the case of Federer, the guy who Tendulkar admires most. During the 30-month barren period when Fed did not win a grand slam, his record in 9 grand slams reads QF-3, SF-5 and F-1. That means he still reached at least the quarter finals every time. And he won quite a few titles and the Master's title. So he, and his supporters, never felt that he was playing poorly. And during 2012 he won Wimbledon and 6 other titles. My feeling is that if Federer misses the quarter-finals in three consecutive grand slams, he would quit. That would put him at a no.10 spot and he would say enough is enough. Tendulkar has to reflect on how he wants to end his career. He should not think that he is needed by India. It is better to lose 1-2 with failures from XYZ than with failures from Tendulkar. XYZ would have learnt something from his failures. You certainly do not want the master to learn anything from his failures. He does not deserve that. Ananth: ]]

  • Mohan on December 21, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Hi Ananth, checked Ponting's fanatastic run of 53 matches 6004 runs, Avg 75. Au won 40 tests and his avg jumps to 87 with 4800 runs. Impact against various teams, most combinations work out an Avg of 80 to 90 for wins. But, we are talking of one of the best all time teams (under Waugh and ponting) - thus so many wins. Checked impact of team mates. Hayden had 3900 runs! Langer, Gilchrist, Martyn, Hussey and others had runs between 1000 and 3000 with averages ranging from 45 to 90. Besides the batting Juggernaut, the bowling had Warne (34 wins, 193 Wkts, 23.7 Avg), Mcgrath (30,142,18.4), Gillespie (27,108,21.42), MacGill(18,100,23.81). Though Ponting stands out, the team was a monster performer. For Dravid (Nov 2000-Jun 2006, 66 tests, 6200 runs, 67.4 avg with 26 Wins and Avg 94), next in line is Sachin (4400 runs, avg 55) followed by Sehwag, VVS. Bowling: Kumble & Bhajji with bowling average of 29+. Dravid's superhuman effort would have had better impact if team had pulled more weight. [[ Thanks, Mohan. Ponting's 52 match sequence of 5800 runs (only 1100 below Bradman's run) is something we can never dilute. That someone came within 25% of Bradman is enough justification. Of course a very strong team and the wins would follow. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on December 21, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    Regarding the second team, I believe the bowling is good but not the batting. I think this has to do with the way the exercise was formulated - to select the best 15 and form a second team with the rest with consideration to the votes and team balance. Ananth, if you had framed the reference to select two strong, well balanced teams to play a 5 test series in front of the Gods that have come to earth on a vacation, I suspect both teams would have been different. I think some from the current first team may be on the second team (for both teams to be balanced and not because they do not deserve to be in the first team) and some other players like Headley, Knott, Laker may have got into one of the teams. It might have meant some additional work for you to maintain two excel sheets for both teams that readers send. [[ I could have thought of different basis to ensure equal teams, but that would have defeated the purpose of the exercise. If we had gone Pre-WW and Post-WW or Asia vs Rest we might have had competing teams. Even now my feeling is that Bradman makes the difference. Otherwise the teams are well-matched. If you get Bradman for a sub-100 score I don't see why the Second XV cannot win. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr. talha on December 21, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    I agree that Waqar's actual peak was not till 97.

    But while comparing the 2W's we should remember that when waqar made his debut Wasim had already played 6 yrs of cricket under the supervision of Imran. So he took more wickets than Waqar intially.

    Unfortunately from Dec'90 to June'92, when both were at their devastating best, Pak played only 2 tests.

    In the next 3 years Waqar fully dominated & took more wickets than Wasim in 8 consecutive series.

    In the 2 Aus tours, Waqar was not at his best, due to different reasons.

    1990 Aus tour was his 1st full series. He got injured during his debut series against India.

    Next Aus tour was in 95 & Waqar was returning after a 9 months gap due to back injury. So he was totally out of rhythm.

    In the following year in Eng, again Waqar got more wickets than Wasim & in SAF 98 he was again brilliant.

    Believe me friends, the Waqar that i saw for 5 years (90 to 94) was the most devastating bowler i have ever seen. [[ I would only say this. If you have two giants such as Wasim and Waqar, do not fight over them. Accept that yours has been a privileged team and move on. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on December 21, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    If we look at the core selections i.e. those whom more than 80% have selected, it shows a very strong and balanced core - 2 batsmen (Bradman and Sobers), 2 bowlers (Warne and Marshall) and 1 w/k (Gilchrist). We can build a strong team around this core with any permutation and combination of the rest of the other greats that have played the game. In my view the lack of a reserve opening batsman may possibly be the only shortcoming of this team; as I believe the team will need a regular opener for this. [[ Hutton for ???: That was my problem. I was not ready to let go of any of the middle order giants. If somebody put a gun to my head, I would reluctantly go for Hutton for Hadlee. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 21, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    Firstly let me say that I have huge admiration for Gilchrist - I believe him to best the best wicketkeeper in test history and, like Ananth, he was the 2nd name on my all-time XV list.

    However, I believe that by far the biggest factor in Australia winning all those matches in the 2000s was not the fact that they scored their runs so quickly, but rather the fact that they took wickets so much quicker than other teams.

    If you look at batting averages & strike rates then you see that in a standard cricket day (90 overs) in the Gilchrist era, Australia's average score was about 315-8, whereas their oppositions average score was about 255 all out.

    In other words, they scored runs about 25% quicker than their opposition but they took wickets about 30% quicker.

    Now, both of these factors work together to create winning opportunities, but I suggest that it was the presence of McGrath & Warne together that was the biggest factor in Australia having the time to win so many matches. [[ I would say 51-49 or 49-51 in favour of (Batting+Gilchrist as batsman) - (Bowling+Gilchrist as keeper). Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on December 21, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    A crowdsourced all time team combined with the principle of one vote for each selection may have been an exercise that could have gone awry. However, give or take 2 or 3 preferences for personal favourites or biases or theories (like good player of xxx type of bowling or always performed when the chips are down), I think there will be general agreement on a majority of the selections. In fact, we can see this if we compare this selection (though there is no need to) with some of the other such exercises that have been done by 'experts' - be it the Cricinfo exercise 2 years ago or Benaud's X1 or the like. Ananth, as you have pointed out in some responses, this reflects the knowledge of the readers of this blog and their appreciation of the game. [[ I must say that there has been no bias despite the Asia-centric reader population. The first 5 selections are non-Asian. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on December 21, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    A balanced team that will thrive in any country and under any condition; though as some have observed it has lot more of the modern greats than the older ones. As regards the composition by country, it is a surprise that there is only one Englishman in the list, considering they have played the longest and have had strong teams and some good performers at different times. Otherwise the team reflects the relative strengths and contributions of players of the different cricket playing countries to the history of the game over the years - 4 Australians, 5 West Indians, 2 each from India and Pakistan, 1 each from England and Sri Lanka. South Africa a little unlucky to miss out considering they were the third nation to play Tests and for New Zealand, only Hadlee would have been a serious contender and he has just missed out. [[ South Africa made up in the second XV. 3 players, sharing with Australia and England this leading spot. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 21, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    Murray - on GS Chappell, there is a group of people on the forum who believe that his packer stats should be clubbed with test stats. The basis is that Chappell made 621 runs in 5 tests against Roberts / Garner / Holding / Croft. Largely due to him and Ian Chappell, Australia XI came away with a 1-1 result against WI XI in Packer 1979.

    However immediately after this, West Indies won 2-0 in Australia in official Tests on very good batting pitches. GS Chappell made a century, but despite this it was a major climbdown from his performance in West Indies. By contrast, Viv Richards, who was quiet in Packer, and the windies quicks, exploded in the official Tests.

    My reading is the following - No matter what the collection of superstars, World XI / Packer etc. cannot match the intensity of representing your country.

    Did you observe this set of matches?

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 21, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Murray - your comment on not picking Sunny in a team that had Lillee. Very well, but consider the following: - Against top bowling attacks, India was basically a 2 man batting line up in 1981. Sunny and Vishy. - The Indian team was outplayed but on quite slow pitches in the first two tests (Adelaide and Sydney). - Gavaskar failed but hardly because of bounce of the pitches - In the 3rd test, India faced a large first inn deficit, the pitch was atrocious (anyone doubting should see the very first ball from Pascoe), Gavaskar was in poor touch, he was captain, and finally the opening batsman. A gun to the head in every sense. - He made his only good score of the series, worth 150 on a normal pitch, enough to snuff out Australia within 100. - He was wrongly given out (my video leaves me in no doubt whatsoever) but it is immaterial. Lillee got 1 wkt/test in 1982 in Pak. In both cases, too small a sample size to reach any conclusion. I would go with Sunny 10 times out of 10.

  • Dr.talha on December 21, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Scoring 350 plus runs in a day became a norm.

    How many times in the following years we saw Aus 350 for 6 at the close of 1st day. And next morning they crossed 500.

    Gilly playing a big inns & contributions from Warne, Lee & Gillespie.

    Most importantly those runs were scored at such a high rate that the possibility of draw for the opposition, became zero.

    Gilchrist to me was the Bradman of Wicketkeepers.

    Cannot think of any bigger Honor.

    Truly a champion cricketer!! (B) AGREE WITH EVERYTHING. TO ME HE IS THE SECOND AUTOMATIC SELECTION. POSSIBLY ONE OF THE THREE GREATEST MATCH-WINNERS EVER. ANANTH (from mobile) (/b)

  • Dr.talha on December 21, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Last Day (Aus vs Pak 2nd test):

    Overnight Aus were 124-5 chasing 369. I got up at 5 in the morning to see a Pak win & expected a thriller at Perth (final test).

    I got my first shock when I saw Waqar(who bowled beautifully in the 1st inns), not opening the bowling with a semi-new ball. The ball did reverse in the 1st inns (U never know whats going on in the Pak dressing room..)

    The 2nd shock that followed was even bigger. A tall left handed WK blasted Pak bowlers to every corner. Gilly got 149 of 163 balls & Aus won by 4 wickets.

    This was the inns that changed everything for Aus cricket. They developed the belief that they can win matches from any situation & became absolutely invincible.

    15 straight wins followed. Cont..

  • Dr.talha on December 21, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    @Ananth. "add no.7 to this group..Australia might edge India out"

    Absolutely true brother. That was the Power of Gilly!!

    Few words for the great man:

    When we talk of Aus dominance,we discuss Warne, Mcgrath, Waughs ,Ponting, Hayden etc. But the guy who actually made the difference was Gilchrist.

    To understand this we have to go back slightly in history.

    Aus was a very good side before Pak series in 99, but not unbeatable. They lost to Srl 2 months back, couldn’t beat WI earliar that year, & lost to india in 98. In 1999 vs Pak, they won the 1st test at Gabba. Pak came back strongly in Hobart & had full control of the match for the 1st 4 days. Cont..

  • shrikanthk on December 21, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    honestly Sunny played better fast bowlers(better than DK) much better and on a sustained basis

    There haven't been too many better fast bowlers than DK Lillee in cricket history

  • Voltairec on December 21, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    @Murray Archer Great insight on Greg Chappell 'the batsmen' despite his superb record against fast bowling. I only watched him on you tube videos but still could discern that he came too much inside or beside the line to play hook or pull. Signs of fear or may be his own technique....compare that with Smokin Joe who's always ramrod straight and either thumped pulls in front of wicket or hooked flat....raw majesty. I do take issue with your implied weakness of Sunny against Lillee. I think Sunny played only one series in Aus(81) when Lillee was part of the attack....honestly Sunny played better fast bowlers(better than DK) much better and on a sustained basis. I am chuffed you also like Azhar; had he overcome his weakness against shortpitched bowling might have become truly one of the best ever....yet when he batted like he could it was truly art-he could flick the best of the bowlers and the ball never made any sound but rapidly disappeared to the ropes! [[ Weakness against short-pitched deliveries !!! Ah! you keep on hearing this. Playing First Class cricket on feather-beds and scoring double and triple centuries at will and then moving over to the Test arena where the 145+ bowlers unleash deliveries consistently aimed at your bodies: Nowadays batsmen yearn for IPL and the like and the millions of dollars. Olden days they returned to their home countries and hoped for flatter tracks and princely remunerations of a thousand dollars or so.. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr. talha on December 21, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Have a joke to share with my fellow readers.

    Ananth i cannot stop myself from commenting on this.

    On a local TV channel in Pak i saw both Misbah & Hafeez in an interview. Guess what, both of them said?

    Misbah - "Have told my boys to play AGGRESSIVE cricket in india"

    Hafeez - "Have told my boys not to take PRESSURE in india"

    Now isn't that funny??

    Everyone knows what Misbah did in Mohali..

    And everyone knows what hafeez did in the recent T20 WC against india. Under pressure he was struggling to take, even a single of none other than Kohli.

    My message to my fellow countrymen:

    Friends "actions speak louder than words". Start practicing what u preach. Team will follow automatically.

  • Murray Archer on December 21, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    @ Anath

    Azhar was a super player (and also one of the best fieldsmen I've seen). Somehow, he, like some others that started off looking like "best ever's" ended up, just looking very good. (Mark Waugh) [[ Azhar had a dream start but fell away immediately thereafter and had only a reasonable first 10 Tests. Then he stabilized and finished at an above-average level. Mark Waugh's inability to extend his hundreds to bigger ones probably cost him the 4/5 run average shortage. Ananth: ]] Maybe was unfair to put Azhar with Rowe and Craig? Who both certainly didn't last as long. For me to rate visually, ANY batsman against Rowe is a big compliment ! :) He (Rowe) sure looked a million bucks to me ! (how anyone could possibly touch Thommo bowling Warne like stuff is still beyond me ! That ball in Melbourne *sheesh - bad luck for being too good ! lol)

  • Murray Archer on December 21, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    Re : Assessing short (test match no's) careers.

    When people like Hussey, Trott, Mark Waugh et al, finally make it to test cricket, they know their games well through many games in many conditions FC.

    When people like Headley, Bradman, Harvey, Weekes, Pollock et al started they had no idea what they were arriving at and they still excelled.

    Harvey of course went on to play many more, and other kids like Sobers went on to improve. Yet starts like guys above had as youngsters is pretty special ? Most who did start so as youngsters, usually ended up outstanding players, even when many more games were played - Tendulkar, Ponting, Lara etc

    Of course there's also the Rowe's, Craig's & Azha's etc to show maintaining it doesn't always work out. :( [[ Azhar had a decent career overall, scoring 6000+ runs at 45.0. Not bad for the eighties he played in. Azhar's average was higher than that of Amarnath, Ganguly, Vengsarkar, Viswanath, Pataudi et al. Rowe and Craig probably did not do as well as promised. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 20, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    @ Pallab at December 20, 2012 3:12 AM

    RE : Best aussie bat since Bradman

    Sorry didn't pick it up.

    I started watching Test matches in 1967. As a teenage batsman, Greg Chappell was my idol. I think Chappell was maybe the best player of medium pace bowling I ever saw. I think he had deficiencies against great pace and spin bowling.

    Earlier than many (about 2002 from memory) I rated Ponting better than Greg. Still do and always will.

    So for mine, best Aust batsman since Bradman must be either Ponting or Harvey. [[ Harvey had possibly the best first 10 Tests any batsman ever had. He averaged 95.0, just a run behind the immovable wall at the top. More of it later. Ananth: ]] In the meantime Alan Border may have been a great batsman if he wasn't forced to have to value his wicket so highly. If Kim Hughes had stayed they both may have been ?

    Mark Waugh may have become a great batsman and Slater, Martyn might have also, but for whatever reason, they weren't quite there.

    Most underrated I've seen would have to be Mark Taylor and Ian Chappell. Both very good batsmen in my opinion.

    Doug Walter's name just has to be said because ... lol well ... :))

  • dale on December 20, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    Everton Weekes was a great batsman. West Indian commentators have generally rated him behind Headley,Sobers,Richards and Lara. The ability to treat good deliveries as if they are bad deliveries and to consistently dominate bowling attacks are the hallmarks of a great batsman and Weekes certainly was great. Unfortunately some great players had to be omitted but it should not detract from their brilliance.

  • Murray Archer on December 20, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    Some stuff I saw exclusively in Australia.

    1) Brian Lara murdered bowling on low and slow pitches and had too much going on with flourishes etc to cope well with bounce.

    2) In 3 tours Ambrose bowled too short every match except one. From that length, the ball beats the bat rather than touching it. (when he did pitch it up he got 7/1)

    3) Could not possibly pick Gavaskar to play in Aust against any team that had Lillee in it ( add Amiss and a few others as well, but Sunni kept going against everyone else, unlike some others, he was not career destroyed)

    4) Gordon Greenidge was found out by bounce.

    5) Hadlee achieved success when he moulded self on Lillee (Hadlee started as a tearaway and his brother was at the time a better bowler).

    6) NZ neutralizing McGrath by refusing to play at balls missing off till they reverse bored him - he then had no idea at all what to do.

    and one thing I've seen in England :- Terry Alderman (although the DRS may well have sorted him out).

  • gary yeates on December 20, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    Best XI ever

    Hobbs Gavaskar Bradman Tendulkar Richards Sobers Gilchrist Imran (C) Akram Marshall Walne Barnes

    Same as Richie Benaud's XI except the warranted substition of Akram for Lillee

  • Mohan on December 20, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    @Harsh Thakor I checked up your quoted Sachin's unmatched golden run of 3800+ runs at 67 avg from Aug97 to Dec 2001. However, I found what most people fear - his big scores did not bring us many wins (10 wins where his avg comes down to 62 and further goes down to 58 in 6 wins against the big four - SA, AU, PAK & ENG). In my view Sachin did not live up to his true potential till 2008-2010 when a majority of his big scores brought us wins. Lara did have a couple of similar runs and one which closely matches - 3600 runs from Jan2003 to Dec2005 at avg 66. However neither of these two stalwarts can compare to the golden run of Dravid (so underrated) - 6150 runs at avg 66 from Nov 2000 to Jun 2006 and here is the big deal - Dravid's average climbs to 94.5 in this period for his contributions to Indian Wins (25 victories). Of these victories, 11 were against the big four AU, PAK, ENG, SA where his average touched 119!! Pound for pound Dravid delivered better during his golden years. [[ These are some numbers. Some time back I had done an analysis of streaks but did not get the results in. Just for the heck of it, can you please do the similar calculation work for Ponting's golden run as described below, extracted from my Nov 2010 article. Ricky Ponting, in a 52-test span between Test # 1595 (Saf vs Aus 15/03/2002) and Test # 1819 (Aus vs Eng 1/12/2006) accumulated 5853 runs at an average of 74.09 (90-11-5853-74.09-23 hundreds). His average improved from 45.09 to 59.97. Ananth: ]]

  • voltairec on December 20, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    @Gerry Lil suprised that you didn't understand my comment while some others found it perfectly comprehensible. You mentioned somewhere that Ambrose would have done very well in India since Indians are scared of fastbowling. Bias and stereotypes aside, check Ambrose's figures against India in 1989 series in Windies(more fast bowler friendly those times)...Bishop/Walsh and who else Macko outshone him and this was supposedly Ambrose at his PEAK. You lay great store on his wickets in Australia....surely a personal preference. One snippet before I end....I don't ever remember anyone clobbering Macko during his peak yrs....I mean thumping on frontfoot, lofting over extra cover-a complete insult to a true fastbowler. I saw Imran even Basit Ali taking Ambrose to cleaners occasionally. I feel odd arguing against one of my fav bowlers 'Ambrose' but we are discussing best ever....then Macko...better than all past, current bowlers and dare say better than all bowlers to come! Simply Best Ever!

  • Mohan on December 20, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    I was looking at some comments with regard to the issue of Pre-War info. In fact even after the war I feel that there are large gaps of information as compared to the level of information we have now. Also other significant changes like covered wickets, protective gear etc. have contributed. Based on that I suggest that a better division would be two teams (of 15) that are Pre-War and Post-War, Or even better - Pre-ODI and post ODI (Game changed) - That would also remove some of the emotion in the selection and allow players like the 3 Ws, etc. to be considered (who's ommission, I feel is not justified as two of them had better averages and centuries to test ratios than Tendulkar). I wonder how such teams would stack up against each other.

  • IPSY on December 20, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Congratulations on a job well done. This final XVI is not exactly mine, but I respect the views of the other subscribers, especially when I realise that this outcome is based on a collective effort of cricket enthusiasts the world over. May you enopy your Christmas Mr Ananth and may you have a happy and healthy new year to produce more good work like this. Dr Talha, I see your point. However, on a purely objective basis, Brian Lara is the only modern batsman who has really challenged Sir Don Bradman, with respect to the awesome batting performances he displayed regularly. We always say in the Caribbean that "Mohammed Ali is to boxing as Brian Lara is to batting" (fair analogy?). We have all agreed also that his average which could have been much better, but is up there with the other modern greats has nothing to do with the genius he is. It had much more to do with his motto and stated reason for playing the game: "Did I entertain?".

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 20, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    Am surprised that Alan Knott did not make it do the second XV also. He was a very brave batsman against top pace, and Englishmen consider him to be the best wicket keeper ever. But of course Andy Flower made 500 runs in 3 tests as wicket keeper in India, which amplified by availability heuristic gets him into the XV-II. In Cricinfo All time XI he made it to second XI.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 20, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    Dr.Talha, when did I say that Ambrose was not dependent on conditions? I merely meant that Marshall is an acknowledged pace & swing bowler (though not late swing), and did better in England than in Australia, because the conditions favour swing. Australia generally does not favour one type of bowling over another except Perth.

    1) Perth v/s Sydney would be better for any fast bowler - if not, then the bowler is not perhaps a pacer at all, but a spinner (except Monty Panesar, whose record in Perth is better than Sydney)

    2) Generally, smaller sample sizes tend to produce extremes more often. By taking another small sample, I can prove that Marshall's average in NZ is worse than his average in Sydney, but he played very few tests. Despite this, NZ wickets must be considered more helpful than Sydney.

    In any case, I am personally inclined to slightly favor Ambrose over Marshall because of his gigantic feats in Australia against top class line-ups, but not hugely.

  • SJ on December 20, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    That's an excellent compilation....My All time test Xi would be 1. Hobbs 2. Gavaskar 3. Bradman 4. Lara 5. Richards 6. Sobers 7. Gilchrist 8. Imran Khan 9. Marshall 10. Warne 11. Muralidharan

    Reserves 12. Ambrose (Will replace 1 spinner in fast bowling tracks) 13. Dravid (For tougher pitches) 14. Akram (variety in bowling) 15. Kallis (all rounder slot)

  • ruudraza on December 20, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    Given that the 15 has been chosen on the no of votes rceived it is surprisingly well balanced(another opener for one of the pacers would be ideal). Had this team been chosen in 2006 Ponting would have got alot more votes but it is good that it was'nt as all the major players have finished there careers or are quite close while others like sangakara have alot of cricket left and can only be analysed 4-5 years later. In my team i did not select any of the pre-war players as i dont think it is possible to fairly chose between lohman and warne or richards and trumper. great job Anantha all cricket fans have there favourite all time teams and u have given us a chance to not just make it but discus it with a very differnet group of people

  • MMI on December 20, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    Final part... The personal bias pick of Ambrose, hard to justify this one (ahead of others mentioned above) in my opinion but been a long time fan, one memory sticks out, in his last series in Eng in 2000 bowled an over with 5 out of 6 balls pitched in a tiny box of approx 12 inch by 8 inch... the 6th was off my about a feet.. amazing control with the ability to rachet it up at any gven time... on his day a match for any bolwer in history... I stayed away from picking up ppl who played before the First War... thats me done. thank you... Happy holidays Anantha

  • MMI on December 20, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    mcgrath was the one bowler I wanted to be... effective reliable yet never seemed to be trying too hard :) next up Imran, arguably the most under rated cricket ever, easily in my top 4 with Bradman sobers hobbs as the GOAT. I think Anantha did a recent analysis and Imran's number outdid the Marshalls, lillees holdings bothams of his time Imran would be my captain:) Wasim gets in only becuase of his left arm uniqueness, as a pure bowler, I woudl trump for a Waqar or a Garner or a Lindwall but the variery and his ability to out fox the very best at any stage of the innigs and the devastating manner in which he would remove the "tail" aided by his being a left armer clinched it

  • Dr.talha on December 20, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    I dont agree that indian batsmen were scared of fast bolwing. Its just that they have been better players of spin.

    Gavaskar,Sachin. Dravid, VVS, Amarnath etc. have been good against any attack.

    My next statement may create another argument.

    I consider the indian middle order of the recent past, Dravid, Sachin, VVS & Saurav as the most formidable middle order of the past 30 to 35 years atleast. Even better than Aus & WI. [[ You should add no.7 to this group. In which case, Australia might edge India out. I don't seem to have done this analysis yet. In which case, this is a good idea. Ananth: ]]

  • MMI on December 20, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    The quick men! this is where it gets most interesting :) the competition was truely quick and fiersome (pardon the pun) I went with Imran, Ambrose Marshall Wasim and Mcgrath... more on why them shortly... the ones that missed out is a long long list, will mention the ones i truely regret not being able to select hadlee, waqar Garner Lindwall Bedser (the alternative 5 maybe)

    Marshall was the top operator for a number of years, quick skiddy dismissed as many as he hit. Saw him on a dustbowl at Faisalabad, in 1991 or was it 1990!(his last series) turn back the years and pick 4 wickets in no time to win Windies the game and a share of the series... I grew up watching amrshall garner holding et all terrorise batsman in particular our Pakistani batsman (mind you We gave the Windies the toughest compeition in those days, three drawn series till 1991) Mcgrath was mr consistent, with the ability to dimiss people at any stage of an innings no matter how well settled the batsmen were.. continued

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 20, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    @ tony fraser

    I really think that Headley gets excluded because of his short test career (at least in terms of matches played.) Are 40 innings a big enough sample to say that he was the 2nd best ever? I personally think that the fact he did it over 10 years, together with his excellent FC record should count for something, but others will point out that many others (eg Hussey, Trott) have had big averages after 40 innings and subsequently slipped back.

    As for the 3 W's, i've had another look at their records and, using the methodology I outlined above, Weekes and Walcott come out as the 3rd & 4th best batsmen of all-time. They played many matches against very good England & Australia attacks and their averages of 58/57 are worth more than the roughly equivalent averages of people like Pollock, Sobers & Barrington. I'm now wondering if I shouldn't have picked one of them (perhaps Walcott as a backup keeper...) instead of Kallis or Tendulkar. [[ This is confirmed by the low average bowling quality index for these two wonderful batsmen. Weekes: 34.04 (primarily because of the weak Indian attacke he faced). Walcott: 31.94 (this is outstanding - at par with Gooch/Atherton). Ananth: ]]

  • MMI on December 20, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    For the WK slot, we had Flower, Grout, Healy, Jock Cameron, Boucher, Knott, Les Ames Dujon Walcott Bari Boucher Marsh but I thikn Gilly and his scoring rate I think blew everyone away... Another no contest in my book.. Mind you surprisingly the compeition was really strong here and I found no place for people like Dhoni Stewart etc. in my 12 all time XIIs (maybe i should upload that somehow, think that was a good use of 25 mins)

    Now the spinners, Warne and Murali but yes lets have an olay for the ones that misssed out to the greatness of these two modern masters... Prasanna, bedi chandra saqlain kumble mushatq ahmed harbhajan ramadhin laker lock tayfiled verity under wood grimmert beanud o rielly mcgill valentine ajmal... I could go on I guess

    the fast bowlers next.. to be continued

  • AB on December 20, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Sorry one last observation (iv) that Healey and Knott were probably better keepers than Gilly, but not so much as to justify a 15+ rpi deficit to him - but the more interesting comparison might be Sangakkara or Andy Flower who were not as good keepers as Gilly but averaging 6-10 rpi better might have justified their inclusion at his expense. Taking nothing away from Gilly as a true legend however!

  • MMI on December 20, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    Lets talk of the ones who missed out, Compton, Ponsford, Woodfull (forgot him in the openers list) Ponting, Chapple, Waugh, Dravid, V Richards G Pollock McCabe Barrington May harvey Weekes Walcott (also missed out as a WK) Kallis Worrell G Headley!!! Hammond amongst others... All luminaries, and players I had to include in my team I'd be happy to swap my existing selections for. In the end i went with my biases and the combo I thought would best compliment each other as a unit. Biggest regrets of that lot, George Headley, Graeme Pollock and Dennis Compton, nah! should have them all but you can't can you to be continued. next wicket keepers

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 20, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    @ygkd

    I have to agree with your sentiments about Clem Hill - possibly THE most underrated batsman ever (along with Dudley Nourse.)

    Hill's average of 39 in that era is probably the equivalent of someone like Ponting in the current era. And given that he played slightly less against a weaker SA team than Trumper did, I would say that, on pure statistics, he probably qualifies (at least in my eyes) has the best batsman who played solely before the great war. [[ Hill's 188 was in the top-10 of the Wisden-100 table prepared by me a few years back. One of the truly great innings of all time. Ananth: ]]

  • MMI on December 20, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    The ones that missed out, Sutcliffe, Greenidge, Hutton, Gavaskar, Hayden Rhodes (yes Wilfred Rhodes).. All would qualify to get into most peoples TOP 50 batsmen... Was a tough call but I went with Sehwag because of the rate of scoring, Sehwag followed by Bradman would demoralize and neutralize any bowling attack... Lot is said that he may not be consistent but you cannot ignore an average of 50 (or thereabouts). A sehwag failure given the depth of the rest should'nt be a problem for any XI chosen from my XV.

    Now the middle order... I went with Bradman, Sobers, Lara, Javed and Tendulkar. I think the Bradman and Sobers choices were universal. Tendulkar beat out V richards... the mountains of runs he has, the ability to reinvent himself post-2006 has made me his fan (which i never was prior to 2005) The batting style has changed the numbers haven't, well they have of late but that will happen to most players when they delay their departure.

    to be continued

  • Dr.talha on December 20, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    @Gerry. Fast bowlers career is roughly 10-12 years. Most of them have had a dip in their performance in the 2nd half i.e after ~6 years, its not only Marshall.

    Ambrose last 6 years - 186 wickets in 50 tests @ 3.72 wickets/match

    Marshall last 6 years - 188 wickets in 41 tests @ 4.58 wickets/match

    Ambrose was very difficult to score of because of the length he bowled, therefore despite of taking fewer wickets he maintained his good average.

  • AB on December 20, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    Ananth, a great exercise - do enjoy your break. a suggestion for sometime in 2013 if you think it interesting - the sides with the best lower order batting lineup of all time (posns 7-11 or 8-11). I recall an Indian team in Adelaide 85-86 with Shivlal Yadav at #11, and fancy a current English team lower order combo featuring Pryor, Broad, Bresnan, Swann and Anderson.

    in terms of the above discussions, I will (i) always rate Imran as a better bowler than Akram (better strike rate, played several tests as a batsman only, more matchwinning performances), (ii) probably rate Lillie ahead of McGrath, but not much in it - and Hadlee marginally ahead of both (iii) would place Marshall, Ambrose and Garner at the top of the West Indian pace bowling pile with the likes of Roberts, Holding, Walsh and Hall just below

  • MMI on December 20, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Long time reader, never really been a contributor (only submitted a XV before) been waiting for the final compliation, as ever Anantha a fantastic fantastic job.... What I love is the comments that come through and the banter it develops...

    Today is about to dicuss the exclusions from my XV to set out why the XV who made the cut did so AND YES! Personal biases will come into it, they always do... I spent 25 mins this morning to put up 12 All time XIIs.

    Lets begin at the top... The openors, I chose, Hobbs and Sehwag... Hobbs with his record at both Test and FC level was a shoe-in. Shewag for me brings the x-factor, lot is said about his technique but Sehwag has hundreds and commanding hundreds in Eng and Aus. The recent decline does put him in poorer light but I do remember one of the other protagonists, Gordon Greeenidge saw his mean drop to 44 from 52. the 44 included a double hundred at the very end of his career.

    The ones that missed out to be continued

  • Dr.talha on December 20, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    @Gerry. Dont u think Ambrose also depended on conditions?? Well take a look at this:

    Ambrose had 14 tests, 78 wickets 19.79 in Australia.

    At Perth - 3 tests 24 wickets @ 12.91 At Sydney - 3 tests 5 wickets @ 66

    Now what will u call this??

    Gerry every bowler on earth likes bowling in certain conditons. Because of the bounce & Curtly's height, Perth always suited him.

    Sydney is very similar to sub-continent conditions. A place where Aus at times played both Mcgill & Warne.

  • Sam on December 20, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    Good point there about Andy Roberts - some excellent judges rate him very highly indeed. He seems to slip under the radar a little bit these days.

    I read an interview with Viv once, and they asked him which of the 4 great West Indian fast bowlers he would choose if he had the choice, and I think it went something like this:

    1. Malcolm Marshall 2. Andy Roberts 3. Michael Holding 4. Curtly Ambrose 5. Joel Garner

    Statistically, he may be a little behind some of the others, but the story goes that he was very much a mentor and passed on a lot of his knowledge to the others. Based on everything you read about him, his impact, on and off the field, suggest he was possibly their most influential fast bowler. And as you said, he was certainly as skillful as anybody going around.

  • HarshThakor on December 20, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry

    For consistent speed through the air and action Michael Holding was on the top.For sheer accuracy Joel Garner was the best with Curtly Ambrose almost his equal.In the last 2 decades I rate Alan Donald,consistently the quickest. For sheer control Richard Hadlee and Glen Mcgrath were the best.For mastery of reverse swing and bowling with the old ball Wasim Akram was the best closely followed by Imran Khan.Wasim Akram was the most versatile paceman of all and his left arm variety was an asset.Lillee,Marshall,Ray Lindwall and Andy Roberts posessed all the ingredients discused and thus were the most complete of all paceman.

    Thus the best pace bowling combinations could be 1.Mcgrath,Akram,Holding and Garner

    2.Hadlee,Imran,Ambrose and Donald

    3.Lillee,Marshall,Andy Roberts and Lindwall.

    I feel in the modern era the Ist list would be most effective

  • raja_ashutosh on December 20, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    your comment about sydney barnes- "It is only that the 16.xx is slightly overstated because of SFB's 86 wickets against a weak South Africa" There is a fallacy about easy wickets against South Africa.They played three series against South Africa without Barnes and here are the results. - 1905-06 (In SAfrica) England lost 1-4 - 1907 (In England) England won 1-0 ( 2 games drawn) - 1909-10 (In S Africa) England lost 2-3 A grand score of 4 to 7.Clearly if any team looked like being the minows it wasnt S Africa Then at the age of 39 he played in a series in England in 1912 (also involving Australia). - England won 3-0 Barnes doing it single handedly with 34 wickets in 3 games at 8.3 runs each - Then they took him to S Africa at the age of 40 and he took a record 49 wickets (in 4 tests) at 10.9 each.England won the series 4-0. This was more a commentary on the ever improving genius of Barnes rather than South Africa being such no-hopers.plz acknowlege this n clear ur misconception. [[ What you say is possibly true. However the SA team of 1913-14 had quite a few players making their debuts and the saw the end of a few careers. There was lot of turmoil. That is nothing to take away anything from barnes' 49 wickets. My comments were primarlily based on the very low single-digit averages. Ananth: ]]

  • HarshThakor on December 20, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @shrikhantk

    These are my 2 xi's

    pre-1945 1.JackHobbs 2.Len Hutton 3.Don Bradman 4.Walter Hammond 5.George Headley 6.Dennis Compton 7.Don Tallon 8.Harold Larwood 9.Fred Spofforth 10.Sydney Barnes 11.Bill O'Reilly

    POST1945 1.Sachin Tendulkar 2.Barry Richards 3.Viv Richards 4.Brian Lara 5.Graeme Pollock 6.Gary Sobers 7.Adam Gilchrist 8.Shane Warne 9.Wasim Akram 10.Malcolm Marshall 11.Glen Mcgrath

    The post-1945 attack has all the vital ingredients of a bowling attack. and the batting is on par .I would back the post-1945 team with the superior attack and the inclusion of Sobers as an all-rounder.

  • The Smudge on December 20, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    I'm sorry i missed this earlier- 1 would have loved to have played. Although it is too late, thinking about it though has re-opened a number of debates about the definition of greatness, especailly in this (entertaining but of course artificial) excercise of picking a team. Foremost is whetheryou judge a player at his peak, or over his career. If I could have a 1979-1982 Ian Botham he might justify a place, but if i have to average that hero with the medium pace trundler exisitng on reputation alone at the end of his career, he isn't even in the frame. But if I judge player on their heyday, could i still include Tendulkar who's lofty peak is if anything eclipsed by the extensiveness of its plateaux? With someone like Imran it gets even more complicated, as the peak of his batting and bowling powers did not coincide. Still, the debate is, in the end, the point, not the conclusion.

  • HarshThakor on December 20, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    @Gerry_ the_Merry

    Statistics do not do complete justice to the skill of a pace bowler.Wasim Akram had greater skill than Imran Khan with more variations,but Imran was statistically better.Both mastered reverse swing and were the best with the old ball,with Wasim marginally more lethal.Wasim's left arm variety was also an asset and he was more verstaile than any paceman .Andy Robert's was more versatile than Holding but again Holding had better stats.For pure accuracy Joel Garner wins my vote,marginally ahead of Ambrose and for consistent speed Michael Holding and Alan Donald.For sheer control Mcgrath and Hadlee are the best with Mcgrath marginally more complete.Lillee and Marshall were unique as they posessed all these attributes and were thus the most complete of paceman..An ideal attack could be Akram,Mcgrath,Donald and Ambrose or Holding,Hadlee,Imran and Garner.They contain every ingredient of a perfect pace attack,be it speed,movement control and accuracy.

  • Tariq on December 20, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    @Voltairec I like your comments about Macko & WAkram, two of the greatest bowlers to have graced the game. These two along with Ambrose will always be in my dream team (ahead of Lillie, Barnes, Garner & McGrath)

  • HarshThakor on December 20, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    I feel cricket is such a game that statistics can never depict the full story.In that light it is very difficult to correctly place the likes of Grace and Trumper,2 cricketing geniuses.Walter Hammond should atleast have made the 2nd 15 and Ian Botham,who at his best was closest to Sobers as an all-rounder.

    Lot of critiques have forgotten the great Andy Roberts,who in his heyday was regarded as the closest to Dennis Lillee. Gavaskar and both the Chappell brothers rate the best bowler they ever faced and even Lillee called him the best paceman of his era.Andy was arguably more versatile than any West Indian paceman with his two bouncers,offcutter and outswinger who could cut back a 120 over old ball.Holding was quicker,arguably posessing the best bowling action ever and the most consistent speed but did not have Robert's variations nor did Garner.

    Coming back to Sachin ,remember that many more great players like Alan Donald,Bradman or Viv Richards rated him ahead of Lara.

  • HarshThakor on December 20, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    Overall Ananth,I wished to confirm that I would have Lara and Mcgrath in my final 15 but would rate Lillee above Mcgrath and Tendulkar above Lara.

    Lillee posessed more variations,more agression and pace than Mcgrath and his match performances were better than mCgrath nad Marshall.Adding his stats in packer cricket and against rest of the world he captured 460 wickets in 89 tests,at 5 wkts per test.True Mcgrath had more accuracy and control but Lillee was the greater match-winner.

    In test cricket itself Tendulkar has dominated at the top for over 20 years ,something unprecedented.Lara has had better average highest individual scores and series aggregate runs and at his best dominated games more.However in no peak era of his test career has Lara equalled Tendulkar's staggering 3869 runs at an average of 67.89 from August 1997 to September 2001.With his phenomenal consistency Sachin has better career performances.He has also performed better in and against Australia,the best side.

  • Murray Archer on December 20, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    @ shrikanthk

    You picked Bobby Simpson and Miller in your after 1945 side..... if anyone else in the dressing room takes in what they're therefore bound to be told often, they'd go fine on an old time pitch :)

    lol Sober's will back up their comments ;)

    :) love your stuff here.

    Thanks for being so "loose" with us all Anath.

    YOU GUYS MAKE THIS BLOG. SO ALL POWER TO YOU.. ANANTH

  • Ram on December 20, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    @Ananth,

    I was hoping to get your response to my earlier post - Posted by: Ram at December 19, 2012 5:27 AM.

    Or, is there nothing much to respond because I got an unbeatable team there?

    CANNOT COMMENT ON EVERY TEAM POSTED. APOLOGIZE FOR POSTING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. THIS WILL BE THE FORMAT HEREAFTER WHEN I POST FROM MY MOBILE. ANANTH.

  • Karthick G on December 20, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Its a bit surprising that not even 1 person selected Mark Boucher (I just searched the excel sheet and couldn't find the name.) But it seems some have put down the name in the original article.

    Is it just because he was not that good a batsman? I always felt that Boucher was a better keeper than Gilchrist. Or maybe he didn't have to keep to quality spinners that some people doubt his keeping ability? What do you think?

    Thanks, Karthick

  • shrikanthk on December 20, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    This is an aside (excuse me Ananth).

    For all those who think that tests prior to 1900 were all about very low scores and poor batting techniques, here's this scorecard of a famous 1894 test (anniversary today).

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62437.html

    Very high scoring. Just shows that we've always had batsmen in all eras who could make big runs on good wickets. Some genuine fast bowlers are also playing in this test match - Ernie Jones and Tom Richardson. So it's not all spin and medium pace as often assumed about that era.

  • Harsh Thakor on December 20, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Sorry Ananth if you felt there was inconsistency.Infact In the last post I made the error of my top 10 cricketers which is not the same as the merit of cricketers in an all -timee11.eg.Imran is a better cricketer than Akram but because of the presence of a great all-rounder in Sobers struggles to make it in the 11 ,while Akram's lef-arm variety is the trump card.Hammond was also a great all-round cricketer but still below Sobers.W.G.Grace ,to me as a cricketer was in the Sobers or Bradman class but again played in an era where performances were difficult to compare with the players of the later eras.Infact again Grace could not replace Grace as an allrounder. Imran should have atleast been ahead of Ambrose and Gavaskar.I applaud the readers evaluation of Hobbs inspite of his playing in the era before 1940,and still rating Gavaskar below.

  • Murray Archer on December 20, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    @ Andrew Gray

    Thanks.... Clarke this year.....it's damned special to watch isn't it ? :)) I earlier this season thought ( during Adelaide) so this is what it was like watching Bradman.

    The Captaincy of 30 odd bats for 2,100 is very good in any class at any time. The year of 1500 odd in 17 bats is extraordinary.

    The Summer of 700 in 7 bats is just *speechless*.... better batting than I've ever seen before ! It is seeming to just keep growing along with strike rate (so far). Not like the saffie attack was horrible till he personally tore their hearts out and made them look so (for not all 3 matches grrrrr).

    At the moment he's reminding me of something Bill Brown said about Bradman... "He just scored totally freely off everyone and never even looked like getting out"

    @ Anath Hussey goes well for certain, and is such a good cricketer to instantly assess and adapt to whatever the situation is. Clarke though, this year is on a completely different level in my eyes.

  • Sudhanshu on December 20, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    Great article and analysis Ananth! and nice to see that you're responsive to the readers' comments and questions. However, I would just like to give some constructive criticism:

    1. There is such a thing as 'difference of opinion' - Please do not attack those readers who disagree with you or write something negative. The attack on Suraj Sharma was very undignified and rude. It shames the wonderful work you have done by making you look like an egotist who boasts about receiving a 'record 860 comments'. [[ I am flabbergasted. My response was "" I do not know whether you gave an entry or came here just to post a putting-down statement. "" Is this undignified and rude. I think you guys are the ones with serious ego problems. I have made the mildest of comments and you jump on me. The reference to 860 comments was not to boast but to indicate to someone who had not read the main article that there was a healthy interchange of ideas. Ananth: ]] 2. I also feel that the sample size (205) for this exercise is far too small to derive any meaningful conclusions. I'm not questioning the knowledge or acumen of the voters, but we need a lot more of them to truly call it a Readers' Selection. This holds true for any polling or voting exercise. Just like we cant poll 200 Indians and call their view India's View. [[ The "Readers" indicates the readers of this blog. It does not say Cricinfo Readers' selection. And 200 informed readers selection has more value than 10000 who just come and put a tick mark. Ananth: ]] No I havent sent a team, or commented before. But I hope a good writer can digest some criticism and wont attack it. [[ I have always taken constructive criticism. Do not appreciate criticism, for the sake of criticising and without fully understanding the exercise. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 20, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    YGKD:

    Nice thought of pitting a pre-WWII XI with a post WWII XI.

    Here are my teams from these two very broad epochs. I am excluding pre-1900 players (including greats like WG, Richardson, Spofforth and even Ranji from consideration to make my task easier - no disrespect to them)

    Pre 1945 XI: (everyone who debuted in tests between 1899-1939)

    Hobbs Hutton Bradman Headley Trumper (will play in middle order - poor record as opener) Hammond Oldfield Rhodes Larwood O'Reilly Barnes 12th man : McDonald

    Post 1945 XI: (everyone who debuted in tests post 1945)

    Gavaskar Bob Simpson (a provocative choice - a highly underrated cricketer) Sobers (has to bat at 3) Tendulkar Lara Kallis Gilchrist Keith Miller Warne Lillee Ambrose

    On slower, lower surfaces offering turn with limitations on bouncers and no protective equipment, I will pack the pre-1945 team.

    On fast, hard surfaces I will back the post 1945 team everytime.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 20, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    Voltaire - I cannot understand much of what you have written. Let me explain - I may have written different versions at other times, but consolidating here, Marshall, Ambrose, Holding and Lillee are my top picks for all time great fast bowlers. In terms strike power for short bursts, probably Shoaib Akhtar (2002) and Thommo (1975). Have I said Marshall cannot run through sides - said that about Garner.

    Show me stats from anywhere in cricket history to beat this - Ambrose had 14 tests, ~80 wickets @18 in Australia. In each of his three tours, Australia was a solid batting team. Ambrose had a faltering Marshall in 1988-89, Walsh + remodelled slower Bishop in 1992-93, and only Walsh in 1996-97. You can compare his combined average with that of all other frontline WI quicks combined on the 3 tours.

    You can compare this with any sustained performance by any bowler in history against the top batting line up of that time. You cannot beat this. If you can, I stand enlightened.

  • Pallab on December 20, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    @ygkd:You have done it!Was about to ask @ShrikanthK,Boll,Waspsting to pull up a pre-War 2 era all-Stars XV. Near-perfect picks.I might just plonk for Vijay Merchant (reputed to have the best defensive technique of that era,yes better than Hobbs) as a reserve opener (and drop Ranjit. @Murray,Andrew,other Ozzies,I have noticed that most av, OZ cricket fans on other forums are still not sure about which batsman is the best after Don.Every gen throws up the best (Greg,even Border/S Waugh briefly, Ponting and now Clarke).By some distance,I would still plonk for Greg having played in the toughest era in Test cricket. It’s the same with Gavaskar and Tendulkar with SRT’s all-round brilliance (read ODI exploits as well) trumping Sunny’s supreme Test legacy much in the same way as absolute ODI great Ricky –shades SRT slightly here IMO -(along with his Test records) trumping Greg in OZ public imagination.

  • Murray Archer on December 20, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    @ ygkd

    Yes Clem Hill is another (along with Ponsford and many others) that probably should have been mentioned more often in the original article comments. Point I guess, is that Sobers, Lara, Pollock, Harvey et al are competing for maybe 2 left hand middle order spots. This side is exceptionally difficult to pick mainly because of who are needed to be left out.

    I like your side, yet even within it, there are several unlucky to miss out ? Maurice Tate ? CTB Turner ? the younger Nourse ? without going through the list ... lots.

    Good point is there's always been lots of very good cricketers :).

    I am as guilty as anyone of what you say (modern bias). I picked Waqar over Trueman or Lindwall. All would do the same required job very well in my opinion. I chose Waqar to recognise the wonderful contribution to great cricket by Pakistan ( I had enough Englishmen and too many Aussies lol).

  • Pallab on December 20, 2012, 2:20 GMT

    @Ananth:LOL, done a fair bit of studying of Indian publishing industry bestsellers;that’s why included the Rs.100 in brackets as an indicator. That is the “magic cost” for any middle-class Indian reader to include a hard-copy book in his collection and with cricinfo now crossing a million plus likes (most Indians), your book shud be mass-based rather than niche (IT Figures posters) in which case as I said ur readers wuld easily shell out $5 +. @Also enjoyed your "devastating" comment in Pacy Duos where you mentioned that you would trust only Waqar,Wasim,Ambrose to line up to defend a total of 100 in 4th innings. Took me to YTube and dreamland of glory days of '90s pace. [[ Pallabh: I am not publishing your ODI selection comments. It may very well be six months into the future and will distract comments now. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on December 20, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    @Anath re: Murray Archer's comments about Clarke. I think people looking at the scorecard one, ten or 100 years from now, won't think much of his scores, as you are right there were higher scores made. However after Sri Lanka's 1st innings, (more specifically after the 1st Ozzy wicket fell), nobody looked comfortable playing strokes. Sri Lanka's big 3, looked capable of surviving, Hussey had two not outs, but Clarke's S/Rate of 124 looked like it was being made on a different pitch to everyone else. It really LOOKED like a ton was inevitable, & he actually was gathering speed the longer he batted. He really is in a rich vein of form at the moment. [[ ndrew I can confidently say that even 10 years from now I can pick up such performances. You remember my work on out-performers. If Clarke is pegged at 100, Australia were 50, the match was 30. Let us give a little bit of credit for Mr.Cricket also. Nearly 150 at a very good scoring rate, without being dismissed, on this tough pitch. I was surprised at the lack of votes for Mike in the MOM stakes. Ananth: ]]

  • Andrew Gray on December 20, 2012, 2:07 GMT

    My 2 cents worth on the great WIndies pace legacy. For me the best WIndies pacer is a battle between Marshall & Ambrose, with (IMO), Ambrose being the better. There is no doubt that Marshall could do more with the ball (swing & seam), not sure that Ambrose ever swung the ball!!! However, I think that Marshall had the advantage of several safety nets for MOST of his career - being 1) A part of a arguably the best pace attack of all time, 2) Having the best batting line of the period in your side. Ambrose had at times fellow pack members, he had times had a high quality batting line up, however he often was a one-man wrecking ball (Walsh playing his Robin to Ambrose's Batman). In ODIs, I think it is Ambrose v Garner as the best WIndies pace man. I remember watching in dread as our Ozzy batsmen were pummelled by the pace batteries of the past, but Ambrose (like Hadlee), was more virtuoso & the greatest anti-hero to boot! I picked Ambrose over Marshall in my all-time side! [[ Just to be on the safe side, i had both !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on December 20, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    Re:Garner/Holding.I have seen all WI pacers barring Croft and will say that Holding is inarguably the most lethal, dangerous express pace bowler of all time with the nous and strategic intent of maiming/hurting batsmen at will (as against that other express bowler Thommo who did not have the thinking skills,just slung the ball to hurt batsmen).@Love Goel,Imran gave an interview alluding to same point about Holding’s explosive lethality. Garner was just UNLUCKY that he had to fight for spoils with 3 other incisive pacers;you could label Garner as the lethal McGrath (same metronomic efficiency, only allied with little more pace, lift and those devastating yorkers). @Gerry:“But Indians are scared of fast bowling”. Don’t compare Indians bats of current generation/even 90s with the courageous Indian bats of 70s/80s like Sunny,Jimmy,Vengy,Vishy,Gaekwad (the “WI specialist” who played 22 of his 40 Tests against WI!), Shastri,Sidhu(even Manjrekar briefly) who were fearless against pace.

  • Pallab on December 20, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    against what SL “pace” bowlers did.Whereas Warne with same backing simply could not cut it against Indian batters home/away).So no 2nd spinner as all pace bowlers included take conditions out of the equation and Sobers will be 2nd spinner as per conditions (and even genuine leggie SRT can bowl). In 2nd XV, I would include Gooch over Barry.Warne also in 2nd XV over Reilly for me (NOT a single magic ball against India over 14 Tests across 16 years and against diff generations of Indian bats. It’s similar to Botham freezing or NOT being allowed to perform against marauding WI that diminishes his standing as against Kapil/Imran’s superb performances against WI) and Saqlain -in my mind, the most talented (diff from skilled) offie of all time/or even Swann (real crafty spinner despite lacking variations) over Bedi.Gilly in for Flower, though I consider Sanga the more accomplished bat than Gilly and with capability to open in Tests, if need be.

  • Pallab on December 20, 2012, 0:27 GMT

    First X1:1.Gavaskar 2.Hobbs (though I have been tempted to include G. Smith for his pugnacious,solid,all-conditions batting over 100 Tests. Also shows the fallacy of including pre-War era players purely on hearsay, reading,stats,judgment)3.Richards4.Lara5.Tendulkar6.Sobers7.Healy/Knott (if you include 6 best bats plus Imran in a XI why does one need Gilly’s batting who even at his best had problems against genuine swing (Eng/Akram) and mesmeric spin)8.Imran (C)9.Marshall10.McGrath11.Murali Reserves: Bradman (Imran will take the tough decision of removing SRT for Eng and OZ and play Bradman,Richards can also be substituted with Bradman in SA, Akram for McGrath in subcontinent);Hadlee (was contemplating Ambrose, but 3 lethal pacers Holding,Macko,Imran enuf to account for his absence);Holding (can be switched with Marshall/McGrath wherever needed);Akram.Murali’s poor record in OZ would be negated by the fact that he would have a lethal pace-bowling attack giving him the cushion (as CONTD.

  • Pallab on December 20, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    Coming to World Best XV (got caught up in some offline issues, so culd not post my XV in time):I see that 99.94 % (?!) of the pollsters have made the same ploy of including Bradman (let’s forget his world-beating av.) based on his av in 2 countries and then using the same criterion of picking/dropping Warne (abs. average returns in India) and Murali(likewise in OZ) for certain conditions/countries based on their avs being dented or they being exposed in those.(other egs. abound, prime being Miandad in WI ).Just goes to show that Bradman/others of that era were lucky not to be “exposed” in unfamiliar conditions and therefore not put thru the harsh lens of history for choosing an all-conditions XV. So that’s why my World XV would have strong-willed Imran as Captain to effect changes in playing XI across countries/conditions.

  • Pallab on December 20, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    @Ananth:Keep saying publicly and to many authors that storage/media formats keep changing/disrupting (tapes, microfilms all vanishing! ) every decade, but only the printed form has REMAINED constant for centuries.I would not trust even Web archives being the gold standard of “perpetual storage”.That’s why since my first posting on IT figures and esp for Caribbean Fast Bowlers and OZ Test Dynasty, I have been lobbying you to compile some of your best blog posts (including the current massive World XV projects) to be into a book-format compendium.I will play USD 2 $ (Rs. 100) or more for any such book (as am sure wud all the 800 plus posters and many others who might not have commented/posted).BTW, been reading most of the posts without commenting. [[ 2 dollars??? The e-Books cost 3 dollars nowadays. Anyhow I would do it sometime in the future. Ananth: ]]

  • ygkd on December 20, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    cont// The fact that Clem Hill averaged 39, the same as the "immortal" Victor Trumper, is to our 21st-century statistics quite misleading. He was the record-holding Test run-scorer (from 1532 to 3412) and played nearly fifty Tests. He also helped, once, to put on a 243 run partnership for the 8th wicket. It would be fair to say that Hill achieved as much as he reasonably could for the times in which he lived. I don't know that I could unequivocably say the same for Viru or Matty Hayden for example, as successful as they undoubtedly have been. Sehwag's record in England does not suggest that his career could be sucessfully transported back 100 years in that country. Hill however, despite his success on uncovered pitches, was said to have been particularly partial to harder wickets, so he he would undoubtedly have enjoyed batting now and in doing so one thinks he would not have averaged "just 39"! And even after saying all this, I'm not sure I made an error by not including him above.

  • ygkd on December 19, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    cont/ I'm surprised that Keith Miller, Frank Worrell, Fred Trueman and Alan Knott, for example, didn't garner the required 17 votes, except to say that one can't argue with the choices made other than on the fact that they neglect the first 70 years of Test cricket. Five out of thirty came from the first 70 years and 22 of the thirty had at least part of their international career after 1980. I'd say, for balance, there should have been at least twice as many from pre-1940, given that it accounts for about half of the time elapsed since the first ever Test. The fact that more Tests are played today shouldn't come into it. In the 15 from pre-1940 that I rattled off, I even managed to overlook Clem Hill. One must remember that Hill played on the dodgiest of pitches against quality bowling with the most rudimentary protective wear, no roped-in boundaries (you could easily get caught on the fence) and bats that no-one today would look twice at, if not for the sporting-memorabilia-market).

  • Murray Archer on December 19, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    The official CA Australian side of last century was :-

    Ponsford (0 votes) Morris (1 vote) Bradman (204 votes) GS Chappell ( 10 votes) Harvey ( 3 votes) Miller ( 4 votes) Healy ( 2 votes) Lindwall ( 3 votes) Warne ( 187 votes) Lillee ( 64 votes) O'Rielly ( 8 votes)

    Border 12th ( 2 votes)

    Davidson (4) Grimmett (3) Thomson (3) Trumper (2) Benaud (1) McCartney (1) McCabe (1) SG Barnes (1) Tallon (1) weren't picked in that 12.

    Steve Waugh (10) had played most of his career by 2000.

    Gilchrist (167) McGrath (115) Hayden (17) Ponting (12) Hussey (1) Langer (1) have made /extended claims since.

    (hope I didn't miss anyone)

    Shrikanthk's right about Ponsford being seriously underrated.

  • ygkd on December 19, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    Consider for a moment please how well the following would go :

    Hobbs Trumper Bradman Headley, G Ranjitsinhji Grace, WG Faulkner Blackham Grimmett Barnes, SF Lohmann & Hammond OReilly Larwood

    Struggled finding a spot for Wally Hammond in a team from the pre-WWII era! The point of this is to show how modern bias overlooks so many greats because they played too long ago, but I would hold that this team would thrash the selected one of this article in games played in such old-time conditions as befits them (especially given that Hobbs and Bradman would have been unavailable for the modern-orientated one). Many say Ponting is Australia's second-best bat. When Clarke retires that will be him, then it'll be his successor etc. And one last point - this team is all before my time of course, so the selections are based on what their peers tended to think of them, whilst being as reasonably multi-origin as possible (eg a NZ-Australian & an Indian prince capped for England).

  • dale on December 19, 2012, 22:35 GMT

    Congratulations are in order for the readers/contributors - great job. However maximum respect is due to Ananth for another excellent presentation and for the painstaking effort he must have exerted to keep the process honest and above board. Observations- Warne/Murali - great to see both of them in the top six Marshall - comfortably ahead of Akram but I am surprised by how far Akram was ahead of McGrath etc. However I am sure the Divine spectators will appreciate the absolute artistry and brilliance of Akram. Bradman, Sobers and Gilchrist are more than deserving of their status .. truly dominating performers.

  • Murray Archer on December 19, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    @ Anath

    No doubt Pietersen in Mumbai was an amazing innings and he's an amazing batsman. Hobart was an easy pitch to stay in on, but once the ball had softened everyone was having trouble accelerating the run rate. Clarke made it look easy to score quickly on day 4. Reason I mentioned Clarke, is that this summer, every pitch is looking easy when he's batting on it. Last year even Cape Town did.

    *chuckle* fair enough comment on Tallon. I never did see him keep, just heard the "tut tut's" and comparisons when anyone I did see was keeping :).

    @ Tony Fraser

    Headley and all 3 W's secured votes.

    "the greatest cricketer God ever put breath into" secured lots of votes, and given the brief that a player must be picked as a specialist, perhaps surprisingly many ? Which out of Headley and Weekes are you leaving out for Sobers as a batsman ? Barry Richards is unusual in that there seems a shortage of top quality specialist opening batsmen. Pollock played many more matches than Richards.

  • Sumit on December 19, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    Thanks for another enjoyable read, Ananth. It must've been a nightmare collating all responses in different formats. Well done!

    I'm excited to see my name in your article, just below Madhu. I excluded Imran and Hadlee, in favor of Lillee, but there's so little to choose between these greats! On their day, any of them could run through an international side.

    Happy to see the final 15. Cook might make it to this list in another 15 years.

  • Mohan on December 19, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    Hi Anantha,

    I go back to the chocies and the demographics issue and would probably like to add "media impressions" to it. I wonder how Barry Richards (not that he is not deserving) with a few tests managed to get in, where as George Headley with an unmatched Bradmanesque record of nearly a century in every second test across 22 tests with 60+ average and a first class average of nearly 70 with 9000+ runs during the Bradman era get left out. [[ The proximity, time-wise, of B Richards. Ananth: ]]

  • Mohan on December 19, 2012, 18:11 GMT

    Hi Anantha, as always you have indulged in another superhuman endeavour. The results are interesting and I agree that different demographics could produce different results. May be you may want to select your top 100 voters and from them choose top 25 voters in a manner to represent the widest spread of demographics by nationality and age to see what the results would look like. I feel you might end up with a different final 15, for I am not convinced with all the choices. I would rate Mcgrath higher than Warne who had lopsided successes and performed poorly against teams like India . His performance during wins and losses are less far apart and do not suggest the same impact as Mcgrath or Murali. Warne benifited from a great batting line up that allowed him greater freedom than Murali. Like wise while I would rate Tendulkar as the top ODI batsman (The Don does not qualify), I feel he is placed too high in this list. (Ex: For the same playing period as Dravid, he even trails Dravid) [[ Do not put too much value on the votes gathered. More important is the composition of the team. Ananth: ]]

  • CricketPissek on December 19, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    Excellent stuff :) Suraj Sharma - by underestimating the readers, you underestimate yourself. You may suffer from an inferiority complex, but I have no doubt that genuine fans (such as myself!) have as good analytical and historical knowledge of the game than most who have played at the highest level. Just because Sanath Jayasuriya can smack a ball over point for six doesn't mean he can select a better XV than me. Just look at Shane Warne's own selection for the 10 greatest cricketers of his era. It reeks of bias! (but is still a very very interesting read because the selection reveals a lot about Warne himself) The simple criteria of a reader finding his way to this blog is enough of a filter to their knowledge and passion for the game IMHO! [[ I agree whole-heartedly. Collectively (myself plus the readers) I would put the analytical ability of this blogspace at the very top, comparable to any other group in the world. If Tendulkar plays an on-drive, the Gods would stop to watch and clap their hands. If I play an on-drive, they would send a low-voltage lightning through my shoulders to ensure that I would never again play the on-drive. But that does not mean that Tendulkar (or most other players) can analyze the game better than us. Would they have read James, Arlott, Cardus, Robinson, Frith, Fingleton et al. Would they know the history behind McCabe's, Harvey's, Hill's and Compton's hundreds, would they know the quality of bowling attack faced by Hammond in his 336 or Gooch in his 154, would they know about how Tayfield single-handedly defended a low total against England, would they know about the way Bradman won the Ashes Test in 1936 and so on. Everyone has his/her biases, top players included. They are not going to suddenly become great analysts, leaving aside their own personal preferences. Maybe even a bit of ill-feeling or jealousy might creep in. We do not have that baggage. Let us not sell ourselves short. Ananth: ]]

  • Voltairec on December 19, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry-Normally I refrain from joining the commenting multitudes but why are you so hellbent on diluting Macko? Macko-Greatest Ever!Period. He can't run through lineups...really?! How many times did Ambrose take 6+ wickets after the rightfully famous spells of 7 for 1 and 6 for 22? Just one spell would be sufficient for proof....Kanpur 83. On a different note.....I find amusing/slightly puzzling that Wasim is also questioned for his skills. Most of them reasoned that he was seen on TV through 90's and 99 series in India....wow wow....Wasim was the most naturally talented bowler right from his birth I would reckon. I saw him in 85 Kiwi series/Victoria cup and 86-87 India series.he was fantabulous everywhere. He's better than Imran comfortably..Imran,for the seasoned observers, was not a fast bowler until 79(himself admitted). His action was all wonky/swirls till he added the jump and mastered the new action. Props to him that he turned into genuine fast bowler at a late age [[ I agree that Marshall has the credentials to be considered the best fast bowler of all time. In any team of mine he would be there first, followed by Wasim Akram, the most verstile and effective fast bowler of all time, McGrath to exercise the high degree of effective but wicket-taking control and either Warne or Murali. Ananth: ]]

  • Ram on December 19, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    @Ananth, I have seen many readers suggesting that Lara's ODI performances in 90s made him picked over Tendulkar.

    I am pleasantly surprised that there are people still out who remember Lara's supreme ODI performances. I have seen over last 5-7 years of his career, Lara coming down the order and giving juniors in the team a chance to show their talent up in the order. If he had continued as opener or No. 3, he would had a more positive impact as ODI batsman.

    When are you going to start exercise for Best XV of ODI? Like to see how Lara fares against other greats. [[ After a few months. The work involved in doing these is overwhelming. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    Ananth's masterly comment to Harsh Thakor for his 11:30am comment and Tony Fraser's observations have made my day...

    @ Arjun - do you really believe Gilchrist would have been able to demostrate his full range of strokes against Lillee / Holding et al?

  • Krishna on December 19, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    Hi Ananth, In an overall team of fifteen, you considered the required number of batsmen, bowlers, allrounders, openers, etc. But you have not mentioned about the keeper backup, atleast in a team there should have been two keepers. So keeping this in condition, if we see the analysis it looks interesting. [[ Most of the teams tour now without a genuine second keeper. Ananth: ]]

  • tony fraser on December 19, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    There is a West Indian batsman of the 1930s called George "Atlas" Headley, his record against the best bowlers of his time is phenomenal. there were those who refered to him as the "Black Bradman" and others who called Bradman the "White Headley". maybe there is insufficient awareness of Headley capacity and feats; because to have not included him in anyone of the squads is ignorance of Headley -- i dont repeat Headley's stats and actual batting, i leave that for the curious of mind to find out. to not have mentioned any of the 3Ws - Weekes and Walcott, savagely bold and attacking; and in Worrel, pure silk and yet pick the likes of untested batsmen in test matches over a period of time such as Pollock and Richards and a stonewaller such as Fravid in front anyone of the Ws is not to understand the elements of great batsmanship. likewise, to have rated the greatest cricketer of all time, GS Sobers, below both Bradman and Warne as specialist bowler and batsman is incomprehensible.

  • Tariq on December 19, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    @Dr.talha have you ever seen a magician on a cricket field? Have you ever in your life seen a cricket ball swinging that much and doing so many tricks? Have you ever seen such deadly Yorkers and so accurate bouncers? Have you seen someone bringing dead subcontinent pitches to life? The answer is obvious i.e. WASIM AKRAM. No bowler in cricket’s history possessed that much talent. If you talk about his average being slightly higher then don’t forget he played mostly in batting friendly pitches, field restrictions and bouncer-less era that always favored batsmen. Don’t forget his aggressive captaincy & batting skills. I still claim that Wasim (along with Marshall and Ambrose) is the greatest ever fast bowler. Also he is the greatest ever cricketer from sub-continent as well.

  • Sree on December 19, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    Ananth - Thank you for an outstanding effort! Really heartening to see the quality of the final XV. I am fairly certain that if a poll is done of the most informative and entertaining cricket bloggers, you will end up with the same level of domination as the Don.

    Is there anyway to get this blog highlighted more prominently on the cricinfo site?

  • Muhammad Shahzad Hussain on December 19, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    i have got only one issue and that is in a team like this there should be only one all rounder and all other players need to be the best in their roles. Specifically keeping in mind the Wicket keeping spot! do you think in a team like this a wicket keeper should be judged on the basis of his batting abilities? is Adam Gilchrist the 'best ever" pure wicket keeper the game has seen? if no then he should not be in the team, will you be selecting a top order batsman on the basis of that he can bowl also if required? No way!

  • Boll on December 19, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    I`d agree with Ananth - many recent posts which have made reference to ODI performances leave me slightly bemused. Personally I didn`t consider them for a second, either when checking statistics or relying on my memory.

    @shrikanthk, re.Hobbs. Yes, perhaps I`m unfairly casting Hobbs in the bracket of the solid (certainly not stodgy as you suggested) rather than the strokemaking opener. When you play test cricket until you`re nearly 50, at the level which Hobbs did, perhaps it`s inevitable that you`re also going to be remembered more for the traits you displayed in middle-age than in youth.

    @Sam, re.Headley. I agree. For a man who averaged more than 70 at No.3, and close to 70 for his career until some failures as an old man, he didn`t get much recognition. Then again, he wasn`t the only one.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Dr Talha, Marshall was "good" in Australia in 1988-89? 5 tests 17 wickets @28? (but magnificent spell in Sydney of 33 overs and 5/29).

    Within 3 months in 1988-89, at age 29 for Marshall and 24 for Ambrose, they played in England followed by Australia. If I remember correctly,

    In England, Marshall 4 tests, 35 wickets @12 In England, Ambrose 5 tests, 22 wickets @ 20

    In Australia, Marshall 5 tests, 17 wickets @28 In Australia, Ambrose 5 tests, 26 wickets @ 21

    That is why I said Marshall depended on conditions a lot more after 1986.

    It is true that Ambrose did not visit India. But Indians are scared of fast bowling. If Anderson can average 30, and even Wayne Daniel averaged 22, Holding 22, Marshall 20, why must we imagine Ambrose would do badly in India? In 1997 in Pak, he was 35 years old, hardly the right opportunity (at the same age, why don't you look at Akram's average in Australia in 1999)?

  • Arjun on December 19, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Ananth,

    The reason i went for kallis(13000 runs @57) is because he will bring solidity to the middle order which is filled with strokemakes like lara, sobers, tendulkar, gilcrist. Otherwise Ponting/chappel can also come in. Not sure if Viv Richards's firepower is required(in a Test Match) if Sobers is # 6 and Gilcrist is # 7. [[ Probably true. In that case would not Barrington also be a candidate. But honestly I cannot fault Kallis' selection providing the solid middle with attacking players on either side. Unfortunately, as far as I was concerned, Kallis was competing for a place with Sobers. A different mindset might have resulted in an alternate selection. Finally Kallis is there, right at the top of the second XV. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramani on December 19, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    Where is the name of Ken Barrington - one of the best English players? [[ Selected by 4 readers. Ananth: ]]

  • Hitesh on December 19, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    Both teams are dangerous enough to beat any team of the current era by an inning in any match!! The only surprise for me was not to see 'Ponting and Steve Waugh" in the list! Come on..Ponting is the only player to be on winning side in 100+ matches , and has an exceptional record as player and captain.. I guess, if there is a 3rd XV , it will be as good as the 2nd one as we are still left with players such as garner, chappel, Ponting, Allan Donald, steve waugh !! Anyways, your efforts require a big round of applauds and I might not be commenting here regularly..but I do read your articles for sure!! Thanks for the efforts! [[ It was a very narrow decision to go with Chappell as against Ponting/Waugh since I felt that Chappell, with an average bowling quality faced of 32.29 (really tough), deserved a place. In these selections captaincy should never play a part. Ananth: ]]

  • shmulik zulik on December 19, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Ananth: Great team,thanks for the opportunity you gae us! On a side note,I saw that you misspeelled my name in the spreadsheet,"Shmulik" not "mulik". thanks again shmulik

  • Harsh Thakor on December 19, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    Overall Ananth,this list testifies that it is the cricket experts that are the best judges than the readers who are influenced by their generation or charisma..Remember the ESPN cricinfo panel choosing Dennis Lillee instead of Glen Mcgrath or Viv Richards or Tendulkar instead of Lara.

    Ananth you and the readers voted for Mcgrath but remember that overall Dennis Lillee was the more complete bowler who was ahead in your own evaluation of great pace bowlers on match performances and overall ratings..Even Imran and Hadlee were rated ahead,with Hadlee infact at the top. [[ I had selected Hadlee. Ananth: ]] No batsman has arguably been as complete as Tendulkar after the war who posessed every ingredient of the perfect batsman -be it technique,temperament,consistency etc.Lara has only been better at his best.Remember where even Cristopher Martin Jenkins placed Sachin in his 100 best list,at no 6.

    My top cricketers on order of merit are Bradman,Sobers,Grace,Warne,Hobbs,Tendulkar,Viv Richards,Imran,Hammond and Gilchrist. [[ I do not want to take this up with you. But you are prepared to put Grace at no.3, all on the basis of reading and hearsay. You yourself had Lara and McGrath in your initial selection. Then you pushed Lara into the reserves, but retained McGrath. You mentioned that Knott was the best man but selected Gilchrist always. Your final final XI has Lara, McGrath and Gilchrist. Your first XI had all these three. And then couple of Final XVs. All had Lara, McGrath and Gilchrist. The point is that your current comment finding fault with the selection of Lara & McGrath is completely at variance with the 10 or so selections you had made. And you never had Hammond in one of these 10 or so XVs. Now you realize the difficulties faced. Ananth: ]]

  • Harsh Thakor on December 19, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Overall,I complement the readers list,considering that most of the younger generation have not seen as much of the past great batsman.eg.Brian Lara -Viv Richards or Glen Mcgrath or Malcolm Marshall-Dennis Lillee.My only discrepancy would be Gary Sobers not at the top with or even ahead of Bradman with his prowess as an all-round cricketer being incomparable.I also would select Marshall but still in the category of Mcgrath and Lillee and not above Gilchrist or Hobbs.I am surprised that Lara has been rated ahead of Tendulkar who has dominated the game at the top for a period no sportsman ever has and his record of 100 centuries will probably never be equaled.Arguably he was the closest to Sobers and Bradman than any other cricketer.I am also surprised that Imran is placed so low amongst the echelons of greats as he was match-winner in the Viv Richards mould who dominated the cricket world to the same extent.He should have atleast been in the top 5-6. [[ When I read your comment, Harsh, a long-standing reader of this blog, I see justification of the comments which say that there has been an ODI influence. Why bring in 100 centuries. We are talking about Test cricket. Ananth: ]]

  • Jomesh George on December 19, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    Most Complete Players: In my opinion 1.Viv Richards:Most Complete batsman (Unbelievable adaptability to situations or formats.Great in test,ODIs and would be a sure bet in present T20s) 2.Malcom Marshall:Most Complete bowler (Could generate extreme pace and swing in any conditions) 3.Garry Sobers:Most Complete All rounder(Can be included in any team either as a specialist batsman or a specialist bowler) 4.Imran Khan:Most Complete Cricket (Superfast (reverse) swing bowler,Solid but very powerful batsman,Good fielder a great captain)

  • Cliff on December 19, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    And if Kallis were Indian or Pakistani he'd definitely have made the first XV. Unfortunately their is an Asian bias towards the team Gavaskar a better cricketer than Kallis, give me a break. Sobers was incredible but I think many people look back on cricketers with slightly rose tinted glasses. Also not sure about Akram vs. Holding, Lillee, Donald etc. [[ Cliff, I have to counter your points. Gavaskar no comparison to Kallis. How can you say that. First of all two different players not competing for a place. Gavaskar faced hostile bowling attacks around the word, including West Indies, armed with a straw hat. He averaged 51 in an era when 45 was the norm. With negligible support at the other end. Kallis, I am a great fan of him, attains greatness, only when considered as an all-rounder. I would not find fault with anyone who have selected him. But he competes for al all-round spot with Sobers and Imran and for batting spots with Lara, Tendulkar, Chappell and Sobers. Why blame the number of entries from India and the sub-continent. After all this is not an India-published magazine. This is an international website. What is to prevent hundreds of South Africans campaiging and voting for Kallis. Look at the votes received for Kallis. Three-fourths are from Indians/Asians. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr.talha on December 19, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @Gerry

    I think out of the 10 to 12 greatest fast men of all-time, its very difficult to say that one was better than the other. We may choose them according to pitch conditions.

    Coming to Marshall & Ambrose. In my view its not only the average & SR that makes Marshall a better bowler.

    Ambrose has played very few matches in countries other than Aus & Eng.

    He didnt played a single match in India. Formidable batting line & not so conducive conditions, makes it the ultimate test for fast bowlers.

    Did well in Pak in 90 but then bowled poorly in 97.

    Out of his 405 wickets Ambrose has 369 wickets are in Aus,Eng & WI.

    All his 10 wicket hauls & 16 out of 22, 5 wickets haul were against Eng & Aus.

    Probably he saved his best for these 2 teams.

    Marshall was brilliant in Aus in 84 and quite good in 88.

    In the subcontinent he was fabulous.

    Both great bowlers but i think Marshal was more consistent worldwide.

  • Arjun on December 19, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Ananth,

    If Readers's XV is renamed "Readers's Test XV", Viv Richards and Wasim Akram might be replaced by Kallis(purely as batsman) and Hadlee. I still maintain that both Akram and Richards were better oneday cricketers. They will be first names on list of ODI XV but for Test XV i am not sure.

    Wasim is one of the Top 15-20 Test Fast bowlers of alltime but surely not Top-5.(other contenders - Hadlee, S Pollock, Waqar, Walsh, lilee, Donald, Trueman, Garner, Holding, Roberts, Steyn, Barnes)

    Similarly Richards is one of the Top 15-20 Test Middle order Batsmen of alltime but surely not Top-5. (other contenders - Kallis, Ponting, Dravid, G Chappel, Border, S Waugh, Chanderpaul, Jayawardene, Sangakara, Miandad, Inzamam, Gower, Headley, G pollock)

    Since this is 'Test' XV and we can select only 5 middle order batsmen and 5 quick bowlers i will go for Kallis and Hadlee. [[ I am not sure whether the ODI exploits have come in to that extent. Certainly not for me. Not for a minute did I think of the ODI performances of Wasim/Richards. Even your selection: I can go with Hadlee. Why Kallis instead of Chappell or Weekes. Your selection also has a modern bias. Especially if I say that the average bowling quality faced by Kallis is 35.05, Chappell 32.29 and Weekes 34.04. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 19, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    @ Paul S at December 19, 2012 5:48 AM " I'm going to have another really good study of the spreadsheet and purely for my own amusement see if I can come up with a credible XV of players who got no votes at all"

    lol - another tragic ! (maybe we should compare our XV's :) )

    On a more serious note to everyone - if the current year is replicated a couple of times, we'll all be picking Clarke ! I've personally never seen anyone bat like he has so far this summer. The other day in Hobart on a pitch where no-one else looked able to score, he just walked in and .. well wow ! [[ But Murray, you must agree that Hobart was not that difficult. 2 100s and a host of fifties. My T7-Avge is a very healthy 90. And Pietersen in Mumbai. Two different pitches, surely. Ananth: ]]

  • Faraz on December 19, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    With Sehwag, Sangakkara , Barry Richards making it to the list at the expense of players like Miandad, Greg Chappel, Border and Waugh who have longevity at their hallmarks playing in the toughest of the era , the 70's and 80's shows me the validity of this list. At least Sehwag, Sangakkara and Barry Richards do not belong to this list. It is appeasing. I guess, it was better for Miandad, Chappel and Border to play for South Africa and face apartheid than play for more than 100 tests , prove themselves elsewhere and still not find themselves on the list. Disgusting! [[ Faraz, It is democracy (one person - one vote) at work. And where is Sehwag/Sanga making the list and Javed/Border/Waugh not making the list. Which list. These 5 are not in the second XV. Barry Richards and Greg Chappell are in the second XV. You could explain which list you are talking about. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 19, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    RE : Holding /Garner etc

    Garner was possibly the most difficult bowler ever to score off. But has anyone ever seen anything as beautiful as Holding bowling ? (from side on - probably wouldn't look too good from 20 yards ! lol )

    Any of that WI lot could be properly considered to make teams like this. In the end we are watchers & readers, as well as number crunchers, so will each have our personal favourites...e.g for me it'll always be Lillee.

    I was very glad to see Alec Bedser get a vote too ! So many really great players didn't.

    RE : Wicketkeepers

    Whatever difficulties there are in assessing batting or bowling with numbers - fielding, including wicketkeeping, just doesn't seem to have the stats to assess as well as our eyesight ? Perhaps, a baseball similar errors system, might show it sometime in the future.

    Anath's excellent article on keeper's statistics, doesn't overcome my eyesight telling me (as an easy comparison); Healy was a lot better than Gilly at wicket keeping ? [[ I do not disagree with you except to say that you have seen both, may have the required basis but finally it is a well-founded subjective opinion. And how do you compare tallon and Gilchrist. Ananth: ]]

  • Sam on December 19, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    Holding v Garner: Both great bowlers; Garner - relentless, incredibly accurate, and super consistent, while Holding was more dynamic and explosive and could change the game very quickly.

    Ian Botham once said that the three automatic selections in his 'Dream Team' are Viv Richards, Dennis Lille and Joel Garner. His record in all conditions is flawless and everybody who faced him rates Garner right up there with the very best.

    Who was the better of the two? Too close to call, but I think it comes down to whether you prefer the consistent, sustained excellence of Garner or the explosive brilliance of Holding.

    There is also the matter of aesthetics. Garner was a gun, but Holding was poetry in motion. Everybody enjoyed watching him and he 'looked' the better bowler, which is possibly why he is rated slightly higher.

  • Dr.talha on December 19, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    @Ananth. I am talking only about the Pakistani mindset, when comparing Lara & Sachin. And this mindset prevailed, especially in the 90's.

    Lara's initial fame in Pak was also due to his ODI perfromances. He played some remarkable knocks and against high quality bowling attacks. Started form a brilliant 88* in WC 92 against Pak, and then this followed:

    128- vs Pak Durban 111*- vs SAF Bloemfontein 114 - vs Pak Kingston 153 - vs Pak Sharjah 139 - vs Aus Port of Spain 111- vs SAF Karachi 102- vs Aus Brisbane 103*- vs Pak Perth

    All were match winning knocks. Against the likes of 2W's, Donald,Mcgrath,Warne,Saqlain,Pollock,devilliers etc..at their very best.

    There were 5 more 100's he scored in the 90's,against other oppositions, and for 4 consecutive years he averaged >50.

  • Sam on December 19, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    A couple of points.

    I think Sir George Headley may have been undersold a little. I thinks most experts rate him right up there with Hobbs as the greatest batsman of the first half of the 20th century, (Bradman aside). I think they would have had him in their first or second team as he did average over 60 on uncovered pitches and close to 70 in First Class cricket. Everybody who saw him bat rates him very highly and even now he is on the shortlist for the title of the 'second greatest batsman of all-time'.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    In this blog, before reaching breezy conclusions on the basis of coaching, IPL, better to do the standard numerical checks (better to reach a hypotheses on the basis of observations/feel and then visit statsguru in cricinfo). The other extreme of noting only aggregates and making quick choices is equally flawed.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    On Waqar, I always had the view that barring England in 1992 and West Indies in 1993, he was a major underperformer abroad. I recently noticed people commenting that his peak years were till 1997. So I just checked - he had in his first 44 tests, 227 wickets, a brilliant average of 21, with 19 5wi, 4 times 10wm.

    However, within this, his away record is distinctly ordinary (24/111/24/8/1). Even within this, he has bowled brilliantly in Sri Lanka, but poorly in Australia (2 tours, 6/12/40/0/0 with best performance of 3/15 which included all tail enders), OK in England (8/38/26/3/0), and good in West Indies in 1993.

    A comparison with Akram's pre-1997 record should end the debate quickly on who the better international bowler was - Akram memorably carried the Pak attack in OZ 1989-90 despite serious groin injuries and while contributing critically with the bat, bowled devastating spells in World Cup 1992 final and CUB Series in Australia finals in 1996-97 (destroyed West Indies solo).

  • Shahnawaz on December 19, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    Well u can trust pakistan cricket fans to never appreciate what they have Wasim was a genius with the ball and his skill surpassed that of any other in his era. Waqar was also great but injuries plagued him and towards the end of his career he did not remain the force he once was but Wasim maintained standards almost throughout his career barring some lean patches. Both are greats, Wasim was just more skillful. Also, Wasim was a complete article as a cricketer a good fielder, caught in the slips to saqlain, a positive captain and people besmirch his name by connecting him to match fixing (when he was never convicted or punished) saying he threw the match against Bangladesh, what utter nonsense. [[ If all losses to weaker teams are viewed with suspicion, it is an insult to both teams. Bangladesh have had their moments, as recently as last week, and they deserve their moments in the sun. Ananth: ]] As for serving Pakistan, he is a professional and wants payment and recognition who can blame him for joining IPL? he has repeatedly said if the PCB approaches him he will serve them, the failure is on the PCB's part how can u expect a man with his resume requesting the PCB to let him help. [[ Whenever I see great coaching/playing talent lost to the country because of IPL, I feel bad. Having said that it is upto the Boards to make sure that their former players are employed in skill-imparting positions with good compensation. Ananth: ]]

  • Ganesh on December 19, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    Ananth

    A very good exercise. I think that both the teams are very good and the only difference between them is Bradman. In fact if Bradman was not playing , I think that the 2 teams would be perfectly evenly matched .

    On Garner , I fully agree with Gerry . Garner was a great bowler no doubt, but he did not have a track record of running through the opposition unlike Ambrose & Marshall.

  • Dr.talha on December 19, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    Dont know about my indian friends but in Pak ODI cricket influences the opinion of the majority.

    Another example is that of Lara & sachin.

    People rate Lara better than Sachin not because of logical reasons but just on the basis of their ODI performances in the 90's. [[ This is funny. People rate Lara slightly ahead of Tendulkar not on his ODI performances but because of his Test performances. This is a very well-known fact. 400/375/277/213/153*. In fact almost everyone knows that Lara has had very few ODI performances. Ananth: ]] A number of my friends & hospital colleagues submitted their teams on this blog. Most of them, excluded Sachin, and the reason they gave was purely based on ODI performance.

    Since most of them grew up in 90's, they saw Lara scoring phenomenol 100's in ODI's against the 2W's, and even SAF & AUS (3 best bowling attacks). Sachin on the other hand got his 1st ODI hundred in 1994, 5 years after his debut. But then obviously there was no looking back..

  • Dr.talha on December 19, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    @Tariq.

    Akram can easily be a part of anyone's squad.

    My suprise is the difference of votes between him and the other greats after him, in the list.

    I expect this differece in an all-time ODI squad.

    He along with Garner & Saqlain are absolutely certain to play in my all-time ODI X1.

  • Paul S on December 19, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    Excellent work Ananth , cheers for a great finished article . The final XV's weren't too much of a surprise but the spreadsheets revealed some really interesting little nuggets , I was really surprised how few votes the likes of Alan Border and the 3 W's recieved. I'm going to have another really good study of the spreadsheet and purely for my own amusement see if I can come up with a credible XV of players who got no votes at all. If that proves too difficult I might try an XV of the single figure nominations instead. Thanks for all the hard work and a really intriguing article. Enjoy your break . [[ If there is a knock at 4 Am, ignore it. It may be from the Secret Service thugs of Mfoziland. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr.talha on December 19, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    @Tariq. I am not actually writing off Akram. He was a wonderful bowler. But not the greatest..

    My point is,that being the best left arm, top ODI performances, indian tour of 99(getting indian votes)and perhaps IPL coaching, are few reasons that may have added to his total votes.

  • Ram on December 19, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    Great stuff, Ananth. I missed out sending my team as I was quite busy at work. However, my team (whose motto is to WIN) would have been -

    1. Greenidge 2. Hayden 3. Ponting 4. Lara 5. Richards 6. Sobers 7. Gilchrist 8. Akram 9. Marshall 10. Warne 11. Lillee

    No Bradman because of simple reason that I don't know how he would stacked up with so much pressure, travel, expectations of modern cricket. No Tendulkar because remember it's winning team and need winners only. Apologies to all his fans.

    Tell me if this team can be beaten easily.

  • Suraj Sharma on December 19, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    Anantha,

    The name I saw in excel sheet were unknown to me. So I just asked you if they were some knowledgeable people or just average cricket fan like me. You gave the answer and I am satisfied as they were knowledgeable people and it added that much weight to this selection. But I don't understand why do you need to get offended on asking this simple question? [[ Suraj First I checked if you had posted a team: No. Then i checked if you had at least commented: No. So this was your first comment. I am almost sure that you had not gone through the main artuicle, which had received a record 860 comments. So I was slightly miffed that your first comment should have been a negative one. Even then what did I say ? Ananth: ]]

  • shafiq on December 19, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    Excellent and enjoyed alot! Well, a point about Pakistano pacers (Wasim, Imran, Akram) averages a bit higher than WI/Aust/Eng pacers, maight be due to the batting paradises in Pakistan/India and the low bounce pitches of WI, swing pitches of Eng and bowling driendly pitches of Aust.

    Nice to see Javed Miandad got a recognition too. ( I ll take all XV) selected in both teams anyday except adding Javed/INZI/Fazal in my 2nd XV)...

    Imran will always play in my 1st eleven, though Sobers may accompany him on many days...

    I also grew up in favor of Wasim's art over Waqar's force -------- but as maturity evolves Waqar the Burewala bombshell always be preferred in Tests , and Wasim in ODI's. i Beleive Waqar was a 2nd potentially 500 Test wickets bowler behind Imran (fights and injuries respectively stopped them)...

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    In my previous post, I forgot in the end to include the bowler who satisfied most of the subjective criteria I used, and for whom I argued - Holding himself. I would rate him at the top. A poor start in Australia in his debut series is his only career blemish (5 tests avg 61). In his next two tours, he averaged 14 and 16 in 3 tests each. Outstanding numbers eveywhere else. 14/149 and that dismissal of Boycott. But does not have 350 wickets due to packer interruption of his peak years.

  • shrikanthk on December 19, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    Another second XV selection :

    Given that we have O'Reilly in the second XV, I'd have been tempted to pick someone who takes the ball away from left handers, instead of going with Bedi.

    4 strongest candidates - Laker, Prasanna, Swann, Gibbs

    I tend towards Swann because of his superior fielding and batting skills. [[ To the extent possible I have gone on votes received. Laker or Prasanna would be good replacements for Bedi. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    In conclusion, judgementally, I would go less by averages and more by the ability to inflict devastating damage in the opening spell, the ability to singlehandedly destroy entire line ups, and then by the ability to sustain pace through the innings. On the basis of this, Ambrose and Lillee have to be joint #1 from among modern bowlers. Hadlee faced slightly dodgy teams from Australia, plus did the job of two strike bowlers, but rarely ever blasted out an entire line up. Marshall did that to some extent, and while he was a more skillful bowler than Ambrose, his bowling depended on conditions more than Ambrose's, and he faltered in his visits to Australia in 1988-89 (at age 29) where swing is not really helped as much as in England.

    McGrath is almost there too, but lacked air speed. Steyn comes close, and my respect for him went up after his brilliant dismissal of Clarke in Perth. Symbolically, in the same league, as Ambrose blasting out captain border in do-or-die Adelaide test in '93.

  • shrikanthk on December 19, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Sutcliffe's selection in second XI a little puzzling. This is what happens when people vote purely based on numbers. The man is not classy enough to be a reserve opener in a second all-time World XV. [[ I did not think one needs to be "classy" to be selected. Why should Sutcliffe's numbers be pulled down and someone else's numbers pushed up. The only thing I agree is that the average bowling quality faced by Sutcliffe was quite weak. The four openers, Sehwag, Sutcliffe, Hayden and Greenidge have similar range of votes and any one of these could be selected. It was my selection, probably influenced by the need to have a proper opener. Ananth: ]] I'd rather have gone with Ponsford, Greenidge, Morris, Hayden or even Sehwag. Or even Cook!!

    Ponsford is truly underrated. Nobody has mentioned him in these two threads, except me.

    Sutcliffe's selection in the second XV is the only thing I have strong reservations about. Otherwise everything looks great!

    Oh and yes. Andy Flower as WK is a bit dodgy. Given that the man only kept to Zimbabwean bowlers! We don't know enough about his keeping. I'd have gone with Knott or Prior.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    Now for the period when Garner did not have the new ball. I am taking 1 april 1976 to 31 dec 1983.

    Botham 63, 277, 25, 20, 4 Willis 67, 258, 23, 15, 0 Kapil 62, 247, 28, 18, 2 (compare this with poor little Zak...!) Imran 46, 227, 22, 16, 4 Lillee 43, 223, 24, 17, 6 (a bit like Younis / Steyn) Hadlee 35, 168, 25, 14, 2 Holding 35, 165, 22, 14, 2 (despite having to share wickets) Garner 32, 131, 22, 2, 0 (no instance of knifing thru lineup) Roberts 32, 127, 26, 6, 0

    Obviously, Holding was more penetrative than Garner comparing the periods when each had the new ball. I would rate Gillespie higher than Garner also, for the same reason. I would bet that there is not a single cricketer alive today who would not rate Holding as one of the most dangerous quicks of all time - incredible pace, cut, bounce, control. Averages matter only upto a certain point.

  • shrikanthk on December 19, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    Hobbs/Gavaskar clear leaders, Hutton perhaps a little undersold, and I tend to think the 2nd XI choice of Hutton/Barry Richards is a little more balanced.

    I think in a perfect world I`d like a left/right combination, and a stayer/strokemaker

    Now this is one of the myths among cricket fans that Hobbs was a stodgy stayer and not a strokemaker. Trust me it is a myth!

    Hobbs was a terrific strokemaker. A very dominant batsman even by the exalted standards of the Golden Age - an era that was awash with strokemakers. Yes, he became a grafter in the mid-late 20s. But he was over 40 years old then.

    Check out his strike rates in test matches till 1921. Most of his hundreds were very brisk (SR in the 60s/70s).

    Hobbs and Gavaskar is a great combination. Hutton could've been a better player but for the WWII accident that shortened his arm. But he lacks the flair to displace those two.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    Joel Garner was my favourite bowler during my teens. I used to worship him and think that he could practically walk on water. However, it is universally accepted by players and the numbers show this, that he did not knife through line ups like Imran / Holding / Lillee / Ambrose and to a lesser extent, Marshall did. Look at the number of times he took 5 wickets in an innings - let me be specific: In the period when he got the new ball i.e. between the home series against Australia in 1983-84 to the end of his career in 1987, the following are the stats for leading bowlers (tests, wickets, avg, 5wi, 10wm) Hadlee 26, 155, 18, 14, 4 (quite clearly the gold standard) Marshall 28, 152, 19.7, 11, 2 Garner 26, 128, 20, 5, 0 Botham 28, 90, 34, 7, 0 (his worst phase) Akram 17, 53, 27, 4, 1 (he was just winding up) Imran 17, 60, 20, 3, 0 (this period included the dreadful tour to India where he did not bowl much but made Akram bowl - the previlege of being captain).

    contd...

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 19, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    @Jeff Grimshaw - the type of work you are referring to has been done as part of different articles by Ananth. Your approach has the advantage of simplicity, and one strength I can see is the following - batting line ups are more consistent than bowling line ups. For instance, between 1997 and 2004 against India, the Australian attack had 3-4 great bowlers in just 7 tests but there were around 11 tests where only 1-2 good bowlers were there (in one tour, where all Indian batsmen creamed them, Australia came in this period to India without McGrath, Gillespie). But a single team's batting line ups can I suppose be called more consistent, especially when you are taking an all-teams' bowling average against this batting team.

    In Ananth's method, if I remember correctly, weightage is given to top order wickets, and not so many lower order wickets.

  • ramarao on December 19, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    @Ananth : You are correct, people's opinions doesn't change that easily especially if they are formed gradually for 10-15 years. May be I am wrong, even to speculate a percentage of people who aren't decided (50-50)on who is better might have voted against him. Because even I am convinced that he should not playing now after his failures which are painful to many people like me. And this is me who always felt no one I have seen have never been nearly as good as him. If I started discounting him, many more already would have been. Since most ex-cricketers(all distinguished analysts, captains too) thought otherwise in a similar exercise two years ago. I have my reasons which inspired such a thought, but then a result is what it is. Good to see Tendulkar held high in many people intellect even in such disastrous and painful period(may not as much for him) for people who like and followed him. Once again thanks for this monumental Exercise which is very entertaining and more.

  • Jake on December 19, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    Shucks, I forgot to pick my all time XV because I had my final year of school to finish. Regardless, my team would have been:

    Greenidge Hayden Bradman V. Richards Lara Sobers Gilchrist Hadlee Marshall Warne Ambrose

    .................

    Ponting Flower McGrath (just over Lillee, unfortunately) Muralidaran

    I chose this team to win in any Test conditions.

    If I had to pick a team to play in any format, it would be exactly the same. I have confidence in those players to perform and adjust to whatever the cricketing gods throw at them. When I was younger, I would write up hypothetical teams for the major test teams, then the Australian state teams.

    This world team was largely the same since I was 11; I'm now 18.

    You may be surprised to see that there is no Tendulkar. This is due to a personal grudge I have against him, as he had a hand in ending the career of Andrew Symonds after the Bollyline scandal. Symonds was a favourite of mine. [[ Unerstandable. But Tendulkar played only a lesser, albiet key role, in that unfortunate and unsavoury episode. Anyhow let that be buried deep. Excellent team. Ananth: ]] When will we see an all time XV for ODI's and T20's? [[ Probably only for ODIs. Not for T20s. Ananth: ]]

  • ramarao on December 18, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    I still maintain if this exercise (herculean) happened before an year or after Sachin's retirement, the results would have been different. The people (including me) you just mentioned as "Indian Origin"(I am really proud of being an Indian) are only concerned about the current form and not his career. ............................. Thanks for the great effort from your side. [[ Ramarao Don't forget that Tendulkar is comfortably in, with 139 out of 205 votes. So in what way would the results have been different. I can read you like a glass. I get the feeling what rankles people is that he got fewer votes than Lara. But I am certain that would have been the case even if this exercise had been conducted two years back. Let us look at the 66 people who did not select Tendulkar. I am sure no more than a couple of these 66 did not select Tendulkar looking at his current form. The others would not have selected Tendulkar even in 2009 or 2010. It only shows one thing. Neither Tendulkar, nor Lara nor Richards were automatic choices for many. Only Bradman and to a lesser extent Sobers (over 5 out of 6) were the automatic choices for the middle order batting slots. This fact would have been the same whenever the selection had been done. Ananth: ]]

  • Syed on December 18, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    Also, even though Imran and Miandad were rarely ever friendly toward each other, they never allowed their personal differences to affect Pakistan cricket. But Wasim, once he regained the captaincy, not only refused to select Waqar, due to which Waqar lost many of his prime years, but later, also refused to play under other captains, including Waqar. [[ I have to agree on many counts. Waqar gave back a lot to Pakistani criket depite his living away in Australia. Ananth: ]] Ananth, I didn't mean to hijack this forum, but since the question was raised, I thought I could help answer it. And clarify, that this preference has nothing to do, as far as I know, with Wasim coaching Indian cricketers. [[ Mine was just a point of view, because of IPL and commentating. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 18, 2012, 20:50 GMT

    Shane Warne :).

    I can remember hearing him bowl in the nets at SCG when he was a nobody yet(back when the nets were right behind the Members stand). Loudest bowler I've ever heard.... (every ball sounding like one of those "bringing rain" outfield catches)

    Couple of years later was sitting watching on the TV with a guy who'd seen a LOT of cricket (going back into the '30s). I said "I've never seen anyone bowl this line (outside leg to an offside field !)from over the wicket". The response was "that's because no-one's ever seen it".

    He really was THAT extra ordinary.

  • Syed on December 18, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    In regards to why Imran is preferred over Wasim in Pakistan, eighties were by far the best decade of Pakistan cricket. Even though they had better talent available in seventies and nineties, Pakistan conquered almost all, besides remaining equal to the best team of that era, during eighties and mainly on the shoulders of Imran and Miandad. Hence, they have gained almost a mythical status in the minds of Pakistanis. Wasim, though considered by Miandad as a slightly better bowler than Imran, did not nearly contribute to as many test victories. In fact, Pakistan's test record during nineties, considering the wealth of all-round talent they possessed, is not nearly as good as that of eighties. Most importantly, it is atrocious against Australia. Also, not many outside Pakistan got to watch Imran at his best in late seventies and early eighties. Wasim, on the other hand, got into his full groove during early nineties, a period which coincided with the advent of satellite television.

  • Murray Archer on December 18, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    Thanks very much Anath for all your hard work and inspiration.

    Very glad to see we got all five of the Wisden players of 20th Century in our first 11 picked :). [[ I thought of this but slipped my mind while preparing the article. Ananth: ]] When looking at the 1st XV and the 2nd XV, I am reminded of a "best of" side I once many years ago spent all summer proudly picking. I showed it to my uncle who quickly glanced, nodded and said "Could pick another 10 sides just as good if Bradman were in all of them". I think that's the BIG point about this sort of exercise. Just the remembering and mentioning of this quality of 119 cricketers (plus more mentioned and not picked) is a joy ! [[ Yes, there was a vore for SG Barnes. Who can forget reading about the 405 stand. Ananth: ]] Wishing everyone here a wonderful holiday season and the very best for 2013.

  • Dinesh on December 18, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Ananth: You have done it again. Another master peice. I am one of those few readers who selected Ponting, but i feel the Indian bias was clear when more people preferred Dravid over Ponting, that might be because there is still some hatred for Ponting for his in your face stuff(Read Sydney) and Soft corner for Dravid in the way he left the Cricket stage and his recent performance in England and his Gentlemanly behavior.

    I have a small doubt, hope it doesn't give you much work. How did you calculate Player index and Reader Index or is it a random number. I know i am deviating from the main topic but it is just my curiosity.

  • tashfeen on December 18, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Imagine these two sides playing against each other. The first morning of a test match on a fast, green pitch... My eyes are all dreamy right now!

    Excellent article as always, Ananth. Maybe a future article could be a compilation of readers' votes regarding which test ground should host the final XI vs the second XI match? To take things further, maybe we could pick test grounds for a hypothetical five-match series, with the venues being distributed across the globe to celebrate the diverse nationalities of the players, as well as to ensure fairness?

    And happy holidays to you too!

  • Dhruv Jain on December 18, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    Undoubtedly its one of the more comprehensive lists that i have run into in recent times. Reflects well on the readers' understanding of the game. I , though , have a query. Take a situation in which we have a match between the team 1 and team 2 . I have a serious doubt about the ability of team 1 to be able to bat out 2 days on an deteriorating pitch to save a match against the likes of Lillee, Waquar Younis , Michael Holding and Hadlee..I mean all those in team 1 are attacking batsmen.Except for maybe a gavaskar . I do not mean that the others can't . But i would rather have The Wall in my all time XI than Tendulkar . Especially in test cricket . England 2011 proved that recently.What i'm trying to say is that , i don't see team 1 bowlers making inroads against Dravid , Kallis and co in team 2 at their peak . Remember headingly , adelaide , kingston , nottingham , Port elizabeth, Rawalpindi... Stats are just a number at times . Can be misleading if considered alone.....

  • Tom on December 18, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    @Waspsting: I think a modern bias is inevitable in this sort of exercise, no matter how much you try to avoid it. The (batting!) stats tend to be more impressive for modern players, and they are more familiar so come to mind more easily.

    Even for those readers who make a conscious effort to go back before the modern period there's still an informal cut-off around 1930, with only Hobbs and Barnes from before that regularly making it in. How many readers selected players like George Lohmann, Fred Spofforth, Victor Trumper, Clarrie Grimmett, WG Grace, Wilfred Rhodes, Ranjitsinjhi, etc.? My feeling is that those players would stand up well in the modern era, but they are unfamiliar names and their stats often don't look much at first glance.

    I do worry that too much emphasis is placed on aggregate stats by modern fans - of course modern players are going to dominate those figures, because they've played more Tests (though often less FC cricket). [[ If we take away Bradman's, Lohmann's and Barnes' figures, we are left with two bands. 50-60 for batsmen and 20-25 for bowlers. Almost all top players fall into these slots. So the band is only 20% wide. The fact that Barrington, Weekes, Hammond and Walcott on the batting side and Davidson, Laker, Garner and Trueman on the bowling side have not secured many votes indicates that numbers have played a very significant part but not an overwhelming one. It is true that high aggregates will almost always be accompanied by high averages. There are exceptions. Take Kumble: 600+ wickets at a very high average. He has not gathered many votes. Similarly Walsh and Botham. There are a few batsmen above 8000 runs with sub-50 averages. They do not seem to have many takers. Gooch, Laxman, Stewart, Mark waugh, Boycott et al. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 18, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    And on the subject of Garner vs Holding - Garner wins easily using my methodology - his peer ratio is 32.0% - comfortably in the top 10 all-time (but less than Ambrose & Marshall.) Holding comes in at 23.8% - very similar to Lillee at 24.1%

  • Tom on December 18, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    I suspect there are two reasons why players like G Chappell and Ponting didn't get more votes. The first, obviously, is that thiis is an all-nations, all-eras team and there just wasn't enough space. Chappell was arguably the best non-WI batsman of his era (possibly even better than that) but now he's competing for a spot against Tendulkar, Lara, Bradman et al. There are a lot of great batsmen who missed out for the same reason - I don't see (Ananth's favourite whipping-boy) Wally Hammond on many lists, for instance.

    Secondly, given that Bradman and Warne were selected by almost all voters, fair-minded readers might have tried to limit the number of Australians in the team. The same problem probably afflicts a lot of West Indian players, and England openers for that matter. This isn't a problem that really affects, say, Kallis, who is only really competing against Pollock and Richards for a "South African spot" and has a much longer and more significant Test record than either of them. [[ Tom, I will be honest with you. To some extent, the "Indian" origin of readers is also a problem. Many Indians can only relate to his turbulent period managing the team and not to his playing career. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 18, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    Cont...

    When you do this for the top ranked bowlers in history (by average, limited to 100+ wkts) you find that while the 2 best bowlers are still Lohmann (42% better than peers) and Barnes (40% better), the rest of the players with sub-20 averages all move way down the list because of the low averages of the pre-war period. In fact, the next best bowler of all-time is Ambrose (36.0%) followed by: Marshall (35.7%), Davidson (34.2%), McGrath (33.9%)and then Steyn (33.1%).

    Murali scores 31.7%, ahead of players like Turner, Blythe & Wardle who have much better averages.

    Using this methodogy, a "peer ratio" of 30% seems to be the mark of true greatness.

    And while i'm sure my method has many flaws, I feel it is a good way of attempting to compare players across generations. [[ The principles are similar. While you weigh the bowling averages against teams by the balls bowled to them, I bring in the quality of batsmen. You have made an assumption that the 30-average team is 50% better than the 20-average team. May very well be true. The point also is that the "weighted peer average" is player-centric and will vary from bowler to bowler. But mine requires a special calculation while your method can be used throughy Statsguru queries. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 18, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    I did say it was simplistic !!! I'm sure your methodology is more robust but as I have neither the time or resources to invest like you have, I used a very rough and ready method. Hopefully the example below will make it clear;

    Say Player A plays for 10 years but only plays against opposition teams Y and Z.

    Say over that 10 year period, the overall bowling average against team Y is 20 and against team Z it is 30 (once you have removed the numbers of player A)

    If player A has bowled 40% of his balls to team Y and 60% to team Z, then the "weighted peer average" of his career is (20*40%)+(30*60%) = 26.

    If player A has a bowling average of 26, then he is no better than the other bowlers who played at the same time as him.

    If player A has a bowling average of 20, then he is 23% better than the bowlers who bowled at the same time.

    Using this simple methodology, you get the numbers I quoted above: Steyn is 33% better than his peers, Lillee only 24% better. TBC.

  • R. Narayan on December 18, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    A small point, Ananth, David. For Bradman to get 99.94%, you'd need 10,000 votes, not 1,000....Unless of course you're in that banana republic you mentioned! [[ If there were 10000 readers voting, I would not wake up one day. ANyhow let us have 6 readers not voting, out of 10000. Ananth: ]]

  • Tariq on December 18, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    @Dr.talha I don’t know why you are writing-off Akram but there is no doubt that he is the greatest fast bowler (along with Marshall & Ambrose) be it ODI or Test. Had he played T20 he would also have been the most successful T20 player as well as his aggressive bowling & batting suits this format as well.

    @Anantha, I am amazed to see Murali rated so high given his action and bulk of his wickets on turning pitches, although he is one of my personal favourites but I didn't select him as I rate Warne above Murali. [[ But then we are selecting two spinners. And you have selected Murali as a reserve. Ananth: ]]

  • Bilal on December 18, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    Again a wonderful effort, but it's always been a surprise or almost shocking that no place for the man who's test average always been over 50 throughout his 124 test match career ( the only player among who played over 100 tests, and 2nd of the only 2 in history). [[ He has got 10 votes: more than Walcott, Barrington, Lloyd, Miller, Weekes, Boycott, Harvey et al. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 18, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    This is in response to Gerry_the_Merry on period adjustments…

    Absolutely that is a good idea, but you also need to adjust for the strength of the opposition.

    A simplistic way of doing this is to take the overall bowling averages against each team over the period that the player in question played. You then subtract the player himself and then weight each of the averages by the number of balls the player bowled to each opponent. This gives you a “weighted peer average” to compare the players actual average against. [[ Averages and balls bowled against each opponent are fine. But what do you weight it with. It should be the opposition batting strength. I have a different method. I go by innings. I multiply the balls bowled by the bowler in the innings by the ctd-batting-average of the other team, sum it up and divide by the total balls bowled. this gives an excellent index into the quality of batting the bowler bowled to Ananth]] Doing this gives a peer average for Ambrose of 32.79 and one for McGrath of 32.76 –virtually identical. Therefore, Ambrose’s 0.65 better average does seem to be genuinely superior. [[ Or have I missed something obvious. Ananth: ]] Doing the same for Lillee gives a peer average of 31.52 and for Steyn gives 35.57 – meaning that Steyn’s average of 23.80 is actually much better than Lillee’s of 23.92 and based on strength of opposition, is actually almost as good as McGrath’s average of 21.64.

  • Nitin Gautam on December 18, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    Anantha 1st of all congratulations of completion of a herculean task in such an emphatic manner. Really can not find fault with the final team. It is as gud as can be. 2 changes from my team Imran, Richards in place of Sutcliff, flower. While flower was a reserve WK in my team, Sutcliff as 3rd opener however Imran & Richards are apt replacement. re. Imran getting less votes than Akram, I would say Akram is just more popular courtesy having seen him more in action, unplayable deliveries(WC'92 & Chennai'99) & luxury of having best ever left arm bowler giving more variety in the attack Gilchrist, Warne & Don were non negotiable & really good to see many share the views as reflected in % of votes these champions got. Tough to find bowlers for an XI from this pool...Warne & murli are at par (Warne in Aus & Murli in India will replace each other), the real prob is in pacers. Mcgraw, marshal,Akram have pioneered Subcontinent to great extent but how to not play gentle giant ambrose in any XI

  • Boll on December 18, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    Fantastic stuff-absolutely loving it.

    The Openers

    Hobbs/Gavaskar clear leaders, Hutton perhaps a little undersold, and I tend to think the 2nd XI choice of Hutton/Barry Richards is a little more balanced.

    I think in a perfect world I`d like a left/right combination, and a stayer/strokemaker; makes it more difficult for the bowlers and probably points to my belief that 1/110 at lunch is preferable to 0/60.

    In the end I went for Hobbs/Trumper, which only satisfied one of those wishes, but the high number of votes for B.Richards/Hayden/Sehwag suggests that others were thinking along the same lines.

    Very hard to argue that the two men selected aren`t amongst the top few openers ever to have played, but I`m not convinced they make the best opening combination. Perhaps an extra opener in the 15 could provide more balance Ananth(?) or maybe a young Viv could step up if required - not convinced about SRT there.

    Anyway, for mine it`s a (very close) points decision to the 2nd XI here.

  • Persaud on December 18, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Selecting the 15 was a lot easier than selecting the final 11! I still stand by selecting Lillee over Mcgrath and I have a feeling most Aussies may back me as well as players over the last 4 decades. But I could be wrong. The main diff between Mcgrath and the other quicks on the list including Lillee is that McGrath could bowl 2-3 overs of unplayable deliveries with several near misses and just keep bowling that line until he gets you. The others would look to knock your head off at some point during the spell!

    Also, with regards to Wasim, he could choose to crush your toes as well. People tend to forget that he could do it all with a cricket ball and would bowl these long post lunch spells to set batsmen trying to work his magic while Waqar, though more devastating, would be in the outfield waiting until Wasim gets the breakthrough before they let him loose.

  • Waspsting on December 18, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    Personally, I rate Garner ahead of Roberts and Holding (and Lillee), behind Marshall and just a tad behind Ambrose (ahead of McGrath)

    the Ambrose > Garner assessment is probably my bias for the guy i saw more of - but i do take into account Garner not having been curbed by bouncer restrictions Ambrose was

    --- @Dr.Talha - the WC memory being cause for Akram's general popularity makes sense. I agree with you, too about his relative standing among the bowlers you've named.

    To add on to Ananth's speculation re: Akram's popularity and @ the risk of really stirring up a fleet of hornets nests, the few Pakistani's I've talked to have reservations about him and possible match fixing (and trust me, they express it much more colorfully than i just have)

  • Waspsting on December 18, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    @LoveGoel - Garner is one of the most underrated bowlers ever.

    The general story is he was the stock bowler, Roberts/Holding were the blasters (sort of like the difference between Waqar/Donald on one hand and McGrath/Ambrose on the other)

    Stats don't bare this out.

    Garner's strike rate is better than theirs - and he didn't use the new ball as often.

    When he did get the new ball, he was statistically up there with Marshall himself!

    I think he suffers in in subjective takes for the same reason Akram usually gets the nod over Ambrose/McGrath. the nagging style - even when its as effective as the blasting one - generally doesn't get the respect that the blasting one does.

    Not in this space, though - as McGrath & Ambrose's inclusion indicates - but i think that shows the modern bias for us choosing the guys we've seen more off/more recently

    Not that Garner was all nagging. they say he was the hardest guy to score off, but he had a hell of a yorker to (the best, according to Viv) [[ I agree that Garner dserved more than 13 votes. Probably nearer 30 would have been good. I would have no problem if he got the nod over Holding in the second XV. Ananth: ]]

  • Kanu on December 18, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    Ananth,

    Thanks for putting my name on your famous spreadsheet :). It feels like getting your due back for following cricket religiously for years. You are doing good service for cricket followers all around the world by engaging them; ever thought about leading the passionate cricket number crunchers all the way to parliament? The next best thing would be getting a Christmas or New Year card (or even valentine's day for fairer sex) from the cricketers we have chosen. Wishful thinking, eh? I would really hope for putting a rest on the batting greatness & Era debate. Is it possible to do a comparison analysis bringing in factors like – equipment; courage (protective gear); playing on different variety of pitches and grounds; variety of opponents; different types of opponent (defensive/aggressive & professional/amateur); environmental factors (crowd pressure, aura of opponent etc); variety of bowling attack etc.

    Best Regards

  • Hassaan Yasin on December 18, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Ananth, Nothing to do with Wasim working in India. Indians consider Wasim to be miles ahead of Waqar because of the success he had in the 1999 test series against India. Waqar on the other hand had a poor series. It was largely due to him coming back from a serious back injury which had forced him to cut his pace down and also had taken away that zip from his bowling which he later rediscovered. Here in Pakistan, fans have followed both Wasim and Waqar closely over a period of good 15-16 years and they know that at his peak Waqar was more destructive than Wasim . By the way I'm surprised that no one picked Allan Donald.

  • Navin Agarwal on December 18, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    My comment is not directly concerned to the article itself but to the mini articles hidden in reader's response and reply of Ananth itself.

    The fact is that Waqar played few tests against India(and most of the contributors of this blogs are Indian) they do not give much votes to him. Also Waqar did not had that much success against India and one match which tarnished his reputation big time was Bangalore World Cup QF 1996 where Jadeja slaughtered him. So Indians always prefer Wasim over Waqar.For me its always Wasim over Waqar. Could change the match with either bat or bowl within a few overs. Coming to Imran yes he could stabilise the innings in test matches(or ODI for that matter) with bat, but could not ever shatter the confidence of bowling team compared to Wasim.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 18, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Ananth, would it be appropriate to request for a geographical pie chart of respondents? [[ More than the appropriateness, the difficulty to do this is the stumbling block. There is no automatic program to translate IP address to Geographical location. I suggest you do a name-based rough work. Not worth also. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr.talha on December 18, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    @Ananth.

    Well this team is based on the number of votes, u mentioned in this blog.

    Imran will certainly be there in my playing 11.

    I may drop either SRT or Lara & play Imran.

    If i go with 6 batsmen & 2 spinners than i will replace Akram with Imran.

    Surprised to see so many votes for Akram

    I always rate Imran, Hadlee, Waqar, Marshall & Donald, as better test match bowlers than Akram.

    Understandebly Akram is the number one in Pak. The reason is very simple..

    In Pak majority likes ODI cricket. Even those Pakistanis who have absolutely no interest in cricket, saw the 92 WC final.

    They saw the heroics of Akram in that match & therefore he is the number one in their list.

    Though he was a great bowler, but to have so many international votes is surprising.

    My apologies to all Akram fans but probably he gets the advantage of being the best left arm of all-time. [[ I have come to the conclusion that Akram is more popular outside Pakistan than inside. Inside Waqar probably gets the nod. I am not stirring up a hornet's nest. Could it be because Wasim does more work now in India and he has done little coaching work in Pakistan. Ananth: ]]

  • Love goel on December 18, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    Great results. Really glad to see the final 15. They really look awesome. The second 15 looks equally strong barring Bradman and the spinners.

    It seems that more people have selected akram over imran. I quite never understood this. What does akram brings to the table which imran doesnt? Is it being left handed?What else [[ Bing left-handed and a tally of 414 wickets at 23.6 against 362 at 22.81. If you are looking at an all-rounder position, there is no argument: Imran wins by a few miles. But as a bowler, to bring variety and the ability to take out late order batsmen, almost at will, Wasim stands tall. Ananth: ]] Also out of curiosity, why is Michael holding preferred over Garner. Even cricinfo preferred holding in WI XI. I will be really thankful if somebody can point to some article or commentary or players interview comparing the WI bowlers in detail and who was better. All i find on internet is how good they were together!!! [[ I agree Garner's average is 2.6 below Holding. He certainly deserves equal consideration at least. Ananth: ]]

  • Guru on December 18, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Who were the people who did not pick Bradman? Any justifications for that? [[ My suggestion is for you to download the Excel sheet, find out and go through the comments of the main article. Surely you do not want me to do that work for you. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on December 18, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    few sub-lists that i think might be good starting point for discussions

    Wasim 66.8% McGrath 56.1 Ambrose 47.8 Waqar 12.3 S. Pollock 2.0 Walsh 2.0

    Marshall 82.4% Lillee 31.2 Holding 11.2 Garner 6.3 Roberts 2.0 Thomson 1.5

    Imran 45.4% Hadlee 42 Botham 3.4 Kapil 2.0

    Lara 75.1% Tendulkar 67.8 Kallis 30.2 Dravid 11.7 Sangakarra 8.8 (keeping confounds this) Sehwag 8.8 Hayden 8.3 Ponting 5.9 S. Waugh 4.9 Inzamam 1.5

    V. Richards 65.4% Gavaskar 64.9 G. Pollock 11.7 Greendidge 7.3 G. Chappell 4.9 Miandad 4.9 Border 1.0

    Headley 7.3% vs Hammond 6.3

    (opening being a confounding factor in choice of batsman, obviously) ---

    interesting things that caught my eye and/or surprised me -

    Lara > V. Richards McGrath > Lillee Hutton with only 20% O'Reilly with only 3.9 Trueman low at 2.9, almost as low as Larwood @2.4 Miller low on 2.0 Lindwall low on 1.5 Davidson low on 2.0 ---

    Modern bias is evident - probably inevitable, and not necessarily unjustified.

    Look forward to the discussions!

  • David on December 18, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    Surely if there were 1000 votes, Bradman would have received 99.94% of them! [[ My dropped catch. Surely I should have got it. Thanks, David. Will change and give you credit !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 18, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    Ananth, apologies, but in my first comment, I meant that the "former 3" were captains but the "latter two were not". [[ I have corerxcted the comment itself. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 18, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Ananth, I have a suggestion for your inbox. In one of your previous analyses, you had used period adjustments. Is there a way we could see a comprehensive treatment? I would like to think that McGrath has as good an average as Ambrose (not 5% worse) since he bowled quite a lot in the post-2000 period. Likewise, Steyn has perhaps a lower average than Lillee after adjustments.

    I am mentioning this since Andy Zaltman recently wrote than the centuries per test was 1.65 from 1946 to 2000 but has increased by 30% post 2000. Have not personally checked the numbers since I think the feel is broadly correct. Other such metrics if aggregated with more granularity would be very insightful. Your previous work on this was merged into the BQI article so did not get a separate set of comments on period adjustments - rather readers commented on whether we should or should not at all do period adjustments.

    This comment is obviously not immediately related to this article. [[ Let me assimilate this. I did some work certainly but there were many other factors in that BQI article. You are looking at a pure "adjusted average" article. It has to be purely on the era average only. The red-haired guy's hundreds per Test is only a nice measure but does not mean much in a specific adjustment. Will do sometime.Has to become a definitive article in comparisons of batsmen., Quiz: How many 100s were scored at Nagpur. 3. How many scores of 99 and above: 4. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr.talha on December 18, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    @Ananth.

    Considering the above selection and the combination of 6 batsmen (2 genuine openers), WK & 4 bowlers,, this would be the all-time World X1.

    Hobbs Gavaskar Lara Bradman Tendulkar Sobers Gilchrist (WK) Akram Marshall Warne Murali

    Well thats quite an awesome team!! [[ I am surprised. No place for Imran. I may even take a chance and play Imran for (anyone's pick). Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 18, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    Great finish.

    Very surprised that Steve Waugh, GS Chappell and Ricky Ponting did not get more votes compared to RG Pollock and BA Richards. What exactly did the chosen two achieve which Waugh/Ponting/Chappell did not? And the latter two were not captains. [[ 3 Australians and 2 South Africans. Ananth: ]] Significant difference between Akram and Ambrose - contemporaries, with near identical records and aggregates, with a marginal advantage to Ambrose (10%) on bowling average, but polls tell otherwise.

    While this is a very objective poll, I feel that availability heuristic may be strongly at work.

    Among other observations

    - the XV-II has as good bowling, but perhaps less capable batting. - we know that the number of Indians in the poll was less than or equal to 68.3% (= 67.8% + myself = 0.5%).

  • Suraj Sharma on December 18, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    I just need to know are those readers some distinguish people or any common visitor of cricinfo?

    If they are distinguish people then its fair enough. But if you have collected votes from common people, is not this such a small sample to choose from? [[ I do not know whether you gave an entry or came here just to post a putting-down statement. The readers of this particular blog are not just set of common people. Their cricket knowledge is legendary, often more than mine or many other famous people. In all probability they would reasearch the data much deeper to select a team than many a famous person who would reel off names off the top. They are not asked to just mark a Yes or No in a Poll. They have to select a XV from 135 years of cricket. So give them credit. Some of them have posted many comments in this particular article itself. Ananth: ]]

  • HP on December 18, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    My request you to make an article on partnership by batsmen including 50,100,200 run partnership as it is important to know which batsman played more team game.

  • Ashay Doshi on December 18, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    I am little surprised here with the exclusion of Steve Waugh/ Ricky ponting. One of them definitely deserves the place... probably Waugh over Ponting....... Someone who always steadied the innings and was a all time fighter on the field and with his little dobbly dobblies can be really heplful

  • Arnab on December 18, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Dear Ananth, a wish to you to have merry Christmas & happy new year at first. May God help you to produce these types of articles more & a compendium book of your analytic articles in future:) I wish if you can take up one article on a controversial issue - "What would have been the test career statistics of players if Rest of World vs. England & Australia, Packer series, Lords Centenary Test etc. are considered official tests". I know, you are very reluctant to include these stats to the ICC approved official test career stat of players but it may do justice to few players. Also, the career stat of the best South African players of 1970-91 may be computed / extrapolated based on the selected matches played by them which can be considered of test level quality, so that in your future work, these computed career stats can be used for those brilliant but unfortunate players. If you say that cricinfo database is insufficient, you can use www.cricetarchive.com. Get well very soon :D

  • Shahnawaz on December 18, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Woohoo!! selected 80%!! great exercise anantha and a great outcome. Can't wait for the simulation. Glad to see that Imran got in and pleasantly surprised at how many votes Warne got. Clearly people recognise the genius of the man Ashes 2005 alone is sufficient as a sample of his ability to make magic happen and turn games at will.

  • Wade on December 18, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Magnificent game, Anantha. The 2nd XI batting does look second best, but I bet Barnes, Lillee, Hadlee and Holding would clatter those 1st XI wickets rather more swiftly than their Test averages suggest.

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  • Wade on December 18, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Magnificent game, Anantha. The 2nd XI batting does look second best, but I bet Barnes, Lillee, Hadlee and Holding would clatter those 1st XI wickets rather more swiftly than their Test averages suggest.

  • Shahnawaz on December 18, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Woohoo!! selected 80%!! great exercise anantha and a great outcome. Can't wait for the simulation. Glad to see that Imran got in and pleasantly surprised at how many votes Warne got. Clearly people recognise the genius of the man Ashes 2005 alone is sufficient as a sample of his ability to make magic happen and turn games at will.

  • Arnab on December 18, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Dear Ananth, a wish to you to have merry Christmas & happy new year at first. May God help you to produce these types of articles more & a compendium book of your analytic articles in future:) I wish if you can take up one article on a controversial issue - "What would have been the test career statistics of players if Rest of World vs. England & Australia, Packer series, Lords Centenary Test etc. are considered official tests". I know, you are very reluctant to include these stats to the ICC approved official test career stat of players but it may do justice to few players. Also, the career stat of the best South African players of 1970-91 may be computed / extrapolated based on the selected matches played by them which can be considered of test level quality, so that in your future work, these computed career stats can be used for those brilliant but unfortunate players. If you say that cricinfo database is insufficient, you can use www.cricetarchive.com. Get well very soon :D

  • Ashay Doshi on December 18, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    I am little surprised here with the exclusion of Steve Waugh/ Ricky ponting. One of them definitely deserves the place... probably Waugh over Ponting....... Someone who always steadied the innings and was a all time fighter on the field and with his little dobbly dobblies can be really heplful

  • HP on December 18, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    My request you to make an article on partnership by batsmen including 50,100,200 run partnership as it is important to know which batsman played more team game.

  • Suraj Sharma on December 18, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    I just need to know are those readers some distinguish people or any common visitor of cricinfo?

    If they are distinguish people then its fair enough. But if you have collected votes from common people, is not this such a small sample to choose from? [[ I do not know whether you gave an entry or came here just to post a putting-down statement. The readers of this particular blog are not just set of common people. Their cricket knowledge is legendary, often more than mine or many other famous people. In all probability they would reasearch the data much deeper to select a team than many a famous person who would reel off names off the top. They are not asked to just mark a Yes or No in a Poll. They have to select a XV from 135 years of cricket. So give them credit. Some of them have posted many comments in this particular article itself. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 18, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    Great finish.

    Very surprised that Steve Waugh, GS Chappell and Ricky Ponting did not get more votes compared to RG Pollock and BA Richards. What exactly did the chosen two achieve which Waugh/Ponting/Chappell did not? And the latter two were not captains. [[ 3 Australians and 2 South Africans. Ananth: ]] Significant difference between Akram and Ambrose - contemporaries, with near identical records and aggregates, with a marginal advantage to Ambrose (10%) on bowling average, but polls tell otherwise.

    While this is a very objective poll, I feel that availability heuristic may be strongly at work.

    Among other observations

    - the XV-II has as good bowling, but perhaps less capable batting. - we know that the number of Indians in the poll was less than or equal to 68.3% (= 67.8% + myself = 0.5%).

  • Dr.talha on December 18, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    @Ananth.

    Considering the above selection and the combination of 6 batsmen (2 genuine openers), WK & 4 bowlers,, this would be the all-time World X1.

    Hobbs Gavaskar Lara Bradman Tendulkar Sobers Gilchrist (WK) Akram Marshall Warne Murali

    Well thats quite an awesome team!! [[ I am surprised. No place for Imran. I may even take a chance and play Imran for (anyone's pick). Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 18, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Ananth, I have a suggestion for your inbox. In one of your previous analyses, you had used period adjustments. Is there a way we could see a comprehensive treatment? I would like to think that McGrath has as good an average as Ambrose (not 5% worse) since he bowled quite a lot in the post-2000 period. Likewise, Steyn has perhaps a lower average than Lillee after adjustments.

    I am mentioning this since Andy Zaltman recently wrote than the centuries per test was 1.65 from 1946 to 2000 but has increased by 30% post 2000. Have not personally checked the numbers since I think the feel is broadly correct. Other such metrics if aggregated with more granularity would be very insightful. Your previous work on this was merged into the BQI article so did not get a separate set of comments on period adjustments - rather readers commented on whether we should or should not at all do period adjustments.

    This comment is obviously not immediately related to this article. [[ Let me assimilate this. I did some work certainly but there were many other factors in that BQI article. You are looking at a pure "adjusted average" article. It has to be purely on the era average only. The red-haired guy's hundreds per Test is only a nice measure but does not mean much in a specific adjustment. Will do sometime.Has to become a definitive article in comparisons of batsmen., Quiz: How many 100s were scored at Nagpur. 3. How many scores of 99 and above: 4. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 18, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    Ananth, apologies, but in my first comment, I meant that the "former 3" were captains but the "latter two were not". [[ I have corerxcted the comment itself. Ananth: ]]