Way back when March 1, 2013

Where's the love for Davo?

A certain Australian allrounder seems to get unfairly overlooked when talk turns to the greatest of that breed
36

I recently had an email from an Australian reader, Steve Chaddock, asking why Alan Davidson never seemed to feature in discussions about cricket's great allrounders. And when you look at the figures, you have to admit he has a point: Davidson took 186 wickets in 44 Tests, at the excellent average of 20.53 - that's lower than anyone else with more than 100 wickets who played after the First World War, apart from the England slow left-armer Johnny Wardle (102 at 20.39).

Davidson also averaged 24 with the bat, usually coming in low down in a strong batting side: he was the first man to achieve the double of 100 runs and ten wickets in the same Test, and chose a pretty good one to do it in - the famous tie against West Indies in Brisbane in 1960-61. And he was also a superb close fielder, known as "The Claw" when he wasn't plain old "Davo".

So just why is Davidson rarely spoken of when the bar-room discussion turns to great allrounders? My theory, for what it's worth, is that he was generally overshadowed by larger-than-life team-mates or other events. On his first two Ashes tours, in the 1950s, the focus was mostly on the legendary new-ball pairing of Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller. In 1958-59, with the charismatic Miller retired and Lindwall absent at first, Davidson took 24 wickets at 19 as Australia trounced much-fancied England 4-0... but the first thing that usually comes to mind about that series now is the dodgy bent-armed actions of the other fast bowlers, Ian Meckiff (who took 17 wickets) and Gordon Rorke (eight).

After that, Davidson took 29 wickets at 14.86 in India in 1959-60 and, the following season, 33 in four Tests against West Indies. But even then he was overshadowed by the general euphoria surrounding that calypso summer. His charismatic skipper, Richie Benaud, attracted a lot of the headlines, especially by bowling Australia to an unlikely victory at Old Trafford in 1961 - but Davo took 23 wickets in that Ashes series, and 24 at 20 in the next one, in 1962-63, after which he retired, still only 33. Since becoming Australia's undisputed fast-bowling spearhead, in South Africa in 1957-58, he'd taken 170 Test wickets at 19.25.

It probably didn't help his cause that this was a vintage time for Aussie allrounders: Miller, Benaud and Davidson were joined for a while by Ron Archer and the inelegant but effective Ken Mackay. In almost 50 years since, Australia haven't really had a genuine Test allrounder.

But don't just take my word for Davidson's place in the pantheon. Richie Benaud told me: "When I first met him we played against one another. We were both spin bowlers, attacking batsmen and keen in the field. Davo was a left-arm spinner - not orthodox but over the wrist. He was very good but had to give that away when the skipper of the Gosford area team found his opening bowler hadn't arrived, and gave the new ball to Alan."

Grainy black-and-white films of those 1960s Test series show Davidson, greying but well-built, loping in to deliver his left-arm swinging deliveries at a high pace. Ted Dexter, England's captain in the 1962-63 Ashes, dissected his technique perfectly for me: "Unlike the moderns who rush through the crease, Davo made a full turn, getting his front foot close to the stumps and then making a full body rotation. Swing and cut were a natural result. So he had good control, which accounts for his excellent career stats - details of which he always has readily available for anyone willing to listen. And he could have been a Test batsman alone, because he had all the strokes and good technique - not the man you wanted to see coming in at No. 8 when the bowlers are tired."

Davidson was teased in his time for his habit of complaining about aches and pains: "A martyr to injuries real and imagined," writes Gideon Haigh on Davidson's ESPNcricinfo player page. But like Gordon Greenidge later on, Davo often seemed to perform better when limping or grumbling: Benaud often had to cajole his ailing go-to man into an extra over or six. Still, says Dexter, "Davo was a fine athlete - at least when he wasn't complaining about an ache here and an ache there. He was an excellent competitor who had no need to scowl and sledge."

But the last word must go to Benaud, his long-time friend and captain: "There is no question Alan Davidson was one of the greatest allrounders in the history of the game." And I wouldn't dare argue with that.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rowayton on March 1, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    I saw a bit of Davo when I was young (my father was a member of Western Suburbs club in Sydney where he played). The always injured thing was quite amusing - he used to limp around in the field, until he was asked to bowl, then he seemed all right. He was a top bowler, swung the ball at pace and was always attacking the batsman, as his figures show. However, I would always rate him, at test level, as a bowler who could bat rather than an all rounder although that's probably a fine distinction. He only got five 50s in 44 Tests - although at shield level he was certainly an all rounder, good enough to play State cricket as a batsman. He gave the ball an almighty whack, wonder what he would have been like with modern bats. Mind you, in the current Australian team he'd probably be batting at number 6!

  • on March 1, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    I was looking at the all-time Australia XI and he was in the great bowlers pool rather than the all-rounders. Sounds a fine batter, but in terms of bowling he was so accomplished in this particular discipline that his own bowling skills overshadowed his work with the willow I guess. Nearly 200 wks from just over 40 Tests; he could have broken every bowling record if his career lasted longer. Ah, those were the days of proper accurate, persevering bowling :)

  • Andrew73 on March 1, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    A worthwhile reminder about a wonderful player. I think Davo tends to get overlooked for a couple of reasons (neither persuasive) - his overall numbers are not high when viewed from this day & age (where 44 tests is barely a start, let alone a career), plus when we think allrounders Sobers overshadows everyone who played before the big 4 in the 70s/80s to the modern memory. What we (Australia) would give to have him available today!

  • on March 3, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Lets put Davo's career into perspective. All great test fast bowlers had a long term partner at the other end. Davo didn't have that luxury. he had an ongoing string of bowling partners. I believe that this made him a far better bowler then many of the greats. He had to do it by himself. And batting? All the talk was about Benaud winning the Manchester test by bowling Australia to victory. It is always overlooked that Davo and Graeme McKenzie put on 98 for the last wicket and Davo finished with 77 giving Australia enough runs to play with.

  • on March 2, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    Obviously, Alan Davidson was a fantastic cricketer. But the reason he isn't usually mentioned in conversations about the best all-rounders is because his batting wasn't quite good enough. Would he ever have been selected solely as a batsman at Test level? No. Not with an average of 24 (with zero 100's), and a First-Class average of 32. So while his value to any side was undoubtedly siginificant, he fails the test of the truly great all-rounder.

  • on March 2, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    Great all-rounders regularly take 5-wicket hauls, and score centuries; Think , Sobers,Barlow,Proctor & Botham

  • NBZ1 on March 2, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    @Beertjie: Fifteen Paces is a wonderful book, my favorite cricket book in fact. Amazing insights into a forgotten era of cricket, great players and characters from teams with such contrasting styles (combative Aussies, frigid England, swashbuckling West Indies). Davidson was a great player and was probably key to Australia's success in the late 50s at a time when England had probably one of their best teams of all time.

  • Bonehead_maz on March 1, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    @ highveldhillbilly hmmmm

    I'd say that the South African attack of Adcock, Hiene, Goddard and Tayfield is the best your country ever put on the park. Stats show it too ! I'd also say that Dudley Nourse is the best right hand batsman Sth Africa ever had.

    On this article one might ask how come Goddard and Barlow (even Lindsay) aren't considered great all rounders ? (I fully expect Proctor is !)

    As for WI ..... lmfao....... a team with Worrel, Weekes, Walcott, Ramadhin & a kid Sobers, is like Zim or Bangladesh today ? I'll bet WI wish they're current team was near as good !

    Davo first represented Australia in 1949/50 on a tour to NZ. Reason he's not considered great, is it took him till 3 other allrounders (only 1 considered great) retired to become in 1958/59 a regular in the side.

  • Bonehead_maz on March 1, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    At the time of Ron Archer's career ending injury, the 5 year older Alan Davidson was not a certainty to make the Australian team. (Davo hadn't even been taken to WI)

  • 4test90 on March 1, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    My Aussie Dad is 81 this year and has been a cricket fanatic (like me !!) his whole life, but when asked who the best player he had seen, he always said Davidson, ahead of even Bradman and Miller - he argued that Davo played in a transitional period and that his value to the side was immense. He always said that without Davo Aust probably would have lost the 1960/61 series 4-0.

  • Rowayton on March 1, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    I saw a bit of Davo when I was young (my father was a member of Western Suburbs club in Sydney where he played). The always injured thing was quite amusing - he used to limp around in the field, until he was asked to bowl, then he seemed all right. He was a top bowler, swung the ball at pace and was always attacking the batsman, as his figures show. However, I would always rate him, at test level, as a bowler who could bat rather than an all rounder although that's probably a fine distinction. He only got five 50s in 44 Tests - although at shield level he was certainly an all rounder, good enough to play State cricket as a batsman. He gave the ball an almighty whack, wonder what he would have been like with modern bats. Mind you, in the current Australian team he'd probably be batting at number 6!

  • on March 1, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    I was looking at the all-time Australia XI and he was in the great bowlers pool rather than the all-rounders. Sounds a fine batter, but in terms of bowling he was so accomplished in this particular discipline that his own bowling skills overshadowed his work with the willow I guess. Nearly 200 wks from just over 40 Tests; he could have broken every bowling record if his career lasted longer. Ah, those were the days of proper accurate, persevering bowling :)

  • Andrew73 on March 1, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    A worthwhile reminder about a wonderful player. I think Davo tends to get overlooked for a couple of reasons (neither persuasive) - his overall numbers are not high when viewed from this day & age (where 44 tests is barely a start, let alone a career), plus when we think allrounders Sobers overshadows everyone who played before the big 4 in the 70s/80s to the modern memory. What we (Australia) would give to have him available today!

  • on March 3, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Lets put Davo's career into perspective. All great test fast bowlers had a long term partner at the other end. Davo didn't have that luxury. he had an ongoing string of bowling partners. I believe that this made him a far better bowler then many of the greats. He had to do it by himself. And batting? All the talk was about Benaud winning the Manchester test by bowling Australia to victory. It is always overlooked that Davo and Graeme McKenzie put on 98 for the last wicket and Davo finished with 77 giving Australia enough runs to play with.

  • on March 2, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    Obviously, Alan Davidson was a fantastic cricketer. But the reason he isn't usually mentioned in conversations about the best all-rounders is because his batting wasn't quite good enough. Would he ever have been selected solely as a batsman at Test level? No. Not with an average of 24 (with zero 100's), and a First-Class average of 32. So while his value to any side was undoubtedly siginificant, he fails the test of the truly great all-rounder.

  • on March 2, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    Great all-rounders regularly take 5-wicket hauls, and score centuries; Think , Sobers,Barlow,Proctor & Botham

  • NBZ1 on March 2, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    @Beertjie: Fifteen Paces is a wonderful book, my favorite cricket book in fact. Amazing insights into a forgotten era of cricket, great players and characters from teams with such contrasting styles (combative Aussies, frigid England, swashbuckling West Indies). Davidson was a great player and was probably key to Australia's success in the late 50s at a time when England had probably one of their best teams of all time.

  • Bonehead_maz on March 1, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    @ highveldhillbilly hmmmm

    I'd say that the South African attack of Adcock, Hiene, Goddard and Tayfield is the best your country ever put on the park. Stats show it too ! I'd also say that Dudley Nourse is the best right hand batsman Sth Africa ever had.

    On this article one might ask how come Goddard and Barlow (even Lindsay) aren't considered great all rounders ? (I fully expect Proctor is !)

    As for WI ..... lmfao....... a team with Worrel, Weekes, Walcott, Ramadhin & a kid Sobers, is like Zim or Bangladesh today ? I'll bet WI wish they're current team was near as good !

    Davo first represented Australia in 1949/50 on a tour to NZ. Reason he's not considered great, is it took him till 3 other allrounders (only 1 considered great) retired to become in 1958/59 a regular in the side.

  • Bonehead_maz on March 1, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    At the time of Ron Archer's career ending injury, the 5 year older Alan Davidson was not a certainty to make the Australian team. (Davo hadn't even been taken to WI)

  • 4test90 on March 1, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    My Aussie Dad is 81 this year and has been a cricket fanatic (like me !!) his whole life, but when asked who the best player he had seen, he always said Davidson, ahead of even Bradman and Miller - he argued that Davo played in a transitional period and that his value to the side was immense. He always said that without Davo Aust probably would have lost the 1960/61 series 4-0.

  • RWood on March 1, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    Alan Davidson was a superb bowler. A simple check of test series shows he played only against strong teams. His batting, if required by playing higher in the order, would have produced more runs than his average suggests.

  • Yagga175 on March 1, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    Glad to see Davo getting the recognition. Top player and a top team man! Agree that the more colourful personalities of the era probably DID overshadow him. "Nugget" Miller would always have been a hard act to follow for anyone. I'll take Richie's verdict given that he saw Sobers, Miller and Davo close up and so had a benchmark of two of the greatest to use in Davo's case. Have to say that if Miller and Monty Noble weren't available for an All-Time Australian XI then Davo would get my vote as the all-rounder.

  • balajik1968 on March 1, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Jonathan_E remember he came in at 9; you don't have much chance of getting into 3 figures.Also, I suspect that Davidson saw himself primarily as a bowler, and so did'nt pay much attention to his batting.

  • highveldhillbilly on March 1, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    I think a general problem with all the old stats is that way back in the day teams like India and W Indies and South Africa (all depending on the era) were the modern day equivalents of Bangladesh and Zim. These teams are always pretty much excluded from analysis these days but no one does it for the older players.

  • Beertjie on March 1, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Lovely read. I was presented with his book 15 Paces as a school book prize in the mid-sixties. Wonderful stories. I've been an Aussie fan ever since! Good to see him still going strong. Bravo Davo!

  • Meety on March 1, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    @Chris_P on (March 1, 2013, 10:28 GMT) - so true, 9 FC tons suggests he could easily have batted higher. God I hope Starc tracks to being 75% as good as Davo! @crankypete on (March 1, 2013, 9:04 GMT) - again no arguements from me. You are right most of the guys I named peaked for a short period. Lillee had no Gillespie or Lee in tandem for long spells, but they all seemed to take heaps of wickets per match. As far as Matthews, I think Oz should of concentrated on him being a batsmen who bowled, not a pure allrounder.

  • Chris_P on March 1, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    He was a bowling allrounder, no doubt, but the thing that really stands out is that he only played against strong teams. That is, his figures were performed against the strongest teams and/or conditions around at that time. His batting suffered due ot the fact he often batted #9, after Benaud, Mackay, Grout, Lindwall, Miller when they played.

  • crankypete on March 1, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Greg Matthews was a funny one. probably a batsman who could bowl a bit. probably should have batted 6 for a decade, and taken 70 wickets at 30. Marcus North type. or Bob Cowper 15 years on. has a better batting average than Kim Hughes which, whilst absolutely ridiculous, tells you something about each of them.

  • crankypete on March 1, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Meety, am a big fan of many of those guys. My era. But very few of them fired for long at a time, so it was always Lillee, someone, someone else. When Thommo was unplayable, 74-6. he was better than Lillee. but it was a very short peak. Lillee's great strength was his durability (despite numerous bad injuries). he was McGrathesque in that sense, and faster, but not as bouncy, and his control wasn't as good. suspect we bowled him into the ground, 76-7 being a great example.

    we really are splitting hairs among the very elite here, however.

    back to Davo - always thought that the genius of his efforts in all 4 digs of the Tied test cemented a reputation as allrounder. funny how Warney's efforts with bat and ball in 2005 don't confer the same stature -he is a just a great bowler who was "handy with the bat".

  • Jonathan_E on March 1, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Davidson was a great player, and an all-rounder, but not quite a "great all-rounder": you'd expect an all-rounder to have scored at least a couple of centuries, Davidson scored none - and only five fifties, even. But then, Richie Benaud had a remarkably similar batting average - less than 25 - despite the fact that he *did* score 3 centuries and 9 fifties. One can only presume that Benaud also had more failures. Both have stats that are more similar to, say, Akram or Hadlee - great bowlers that could bat far better than the average bowler but seldom sustain the batting over a long period.

  • B.C.G on March 1, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    @Dr_Van_Nostrand-When did Canada gain test status?Must have missed that one.IPL arggggg..

    @Everyone questioning Davo's all-roundedness(ouch)-He averages 24 with bat & 20 with the ball.Isn't that bat avg.>bowl avg.?Davo may have not scored any hundreds but he certainly contributed useful Cowan-like scores for his team.He also scored at a rapid pace;frequently looking for quick runs with the tail.

    It is a bit early;however Vern Philander seems a tad similar.Like Davo he may never score a 100.Aren't his batting contributions quite useful?Scored 96 runs at Lords in a test SaF won by 50.Davo used to do similar stuff with bat in hand.

  • Meety on March 1, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    @B.C.G on (March 1, 2013, 5:51 GMT) - actually I would of had Grimmett instead of O'Reilly but that was just IMO. Pretty good team if McGrath gets dumped, but the reality is the Davidson left hand variety trumps the Metronome. @crankypete on (March 1, 2013, 6:11 GMT) - I agree with most of what you said except "...Lillee often was the only class bowler..." - IMO, Pascoe, Thommo, Walker, Hogg, Lawson, Dymock, Gilmour, Clark all had Test records that were superior to all McGraths bowling partners except maybe Stuey Clark & Dizzy. None were greats (cept Thommo), but that was only because they didn't have long careers. @ B.C.G on (March 1, 2013, 6:24 GMT) - Matthews bowling really didn't do enuff IMO.I thought he was poorly treated by the selectors. @Dr_Van_Nostrand on (March 1, 2013, 6:26 GMT) - LOL! @ jonesy2 on (March 1, 2013, 6:58 GMT) - I thought Mitch Marsh was the greatest allrounder EVER?????

  • on March 1, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    Maybe the reason analysts are reluctant to place him in the pantheon of great allrounders is because he averaged 24 with the willow. As a bowler he was top draw, probably rivalled only by Wasim Akram as a greatest left arm fast bowler.

  • cricketcritic on March 1, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Not to downplay Davidson, he was a fine cricketer, but 44 tests and a batting average of 24 is not enough to prove he was amongst the greats. Vernon Philander averages 23 with the bat and 17 with the ball but has to sustain his success over the longer-term if he is to be truly remembered. Frankly too I get bored of having Australian greatness shoved down my throat

  • jonesy2 on March 1, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    i know if you asked richie how he thinks the greatests allrounder to play is he would likely say alan davidson. as far as great allrounders go i think it goes keith miller, garfield sobers, jaques kallis, imran khan, kapil dev, dan vettori

  • Dr_Van_Nostrand on March 1, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    I came in here expecting an article about Canadian great John Davison!

  • B.C.G on March 1, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    "In almost 50 years since, Australia haven't really had a genuine Test allrounder".

    See I know the Aussies don't fancy offies;but Greg Matthews was a very useful all rounder.He got 4 100s;11 50s & even a 10w haul.Even Sobers & Kallis haven't got that 10fer(yet).

  • 45runs on March 1, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    My late grandfather was as cricket tragic as I am, and he saw all the great Australians play in the flesh: Bradman, Ponsford, Grimmett, O'Reilly, Lindwall, Miller, Harvey, Benaud. His favourite of all time? Davo by a mile.

  • crankypete on March 1, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    BCG, not meaning to hijack the Davo thread, but McGrath's career on every surface across the globe is far superior in my accounting than Lillee's success in Australia, NZ and England. not his fault he never toured SA. was never fit for Windies. crashed in Pakistan and was never around for India. he MIGHT have done OK in all those places, but McGrath DID, get him and Thommo, then Davo with the older ball, Miller for a brief spell after Thommo. 74-7 Thommo, that is. the quickest and bounciest we'll ever see.

    (MCGrath also had to compete with warne and Gillespie for wickets. Lillee often was the only class bowler, fast or slow. Can see both sides of that debate but think McGrath would have taken more wickets in Lillee teams and Lillee less in McGrath teams. sacrilege, but I have said it.)

    Warne can clean up the rest. Greg chappell for a trundle if any sideways movement.

  • ygkd on March 1, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Dexter may not have been flattering when he said Davidson could have easily been a good bat. It's just that Davidson might have had to give up the bowling somewhat to achieve it and that, of course, wouldn't have made him a better player at all for his bowling was undoubtedly much better than good. With all due respect to Michael Clark, Davidson would be the first picked if he played today.

  • B.C.G on March 1, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    I feel Davo is even better than W Akram;who I feel is a little overrated.He even took a 10 fer on a raging turner in 1959;in Madras was it? @Meety-Even I was surprised Dave wasn't in the final XI.Was he even nominated? Also what does Mcgrath really offer that Lillee & Miller doesn't.Davo is a left-armer so he offers a new angle.The 2 leggies are irreplacable imho.

  • crankypete on March 1, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    you're being cruel to both Watson - Graeme and Shane - when you say we haven't had an allrounder since. Graeme Watson's 32 with the bat and 25 with the ball in first class are the numbers. He was seen as a first change seamer and/or opening bat at various stages of his career. He was a better bowler than Shane but probably not as good a batsman, but could really punish an attack when on song.

    Davo was not a true allrounder, my theory is that the shield and grade through together a surfeit of bat/bowl types and Benaud then Simmo pulled combinations out of it - Archer, Davo, Benno, Johnny Martin. Tom Veivers did better with bat than ball. Slash. then you have 5 or 6 guys to cover slots 5-8 and you get handy batting and bowling for almost any situation on any type of wicket.

    Davo is also really the only guy, along with a brief Geoff Dymock bloom, who steeped up and became an attack leader at the end of his career. Brett Lee for a season. He, McGrath and Thommo. Miller at 4. no Lillee.

  • landl47 on March 1, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    Davidson was a great player, but he wasn't really an allrounder. He was a bowler who was also a useful lower order batsman. In 44 tests he made no centuries and only 5 fifties and his average of 24 doesn't qualify him as a genuine batsman. This article more or less gives it away- everything said about Davidson is about his bowling; not one great innings is mentioned. Ted Dexter is flattering him when he says he could have been a test batsman alone; his record in FC cricket, while better than in tests, wouldn't have got him anywhere near test selection.

    His bowling, though, was absolutely top-class and he certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as any of the great bowlers of any generation. It's good to see that despite all his ailments, he's still going strong at 83.

  • Meety on March 1, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    I think the "love" is there for Davo, just not as an allrounder. I think anyone who loves the history of the game would consider Davo as our best ever Left arm pacer. As an allrounder at Test level, at the time, Lindwall had 2 tons, Benaud 3, Miller 7, Davidson 0. Davo didn't make the Oz alltime XI, but that side contains 2 leggies, which I think in this day & age is too man (although with Miller as an allrounder, possibly not)y. So if either Warne or O'Rielly be dropped Davidson would be the Leftie in a pace attack that would be Lillee/McGrath/Davidson/Miller - wouldn't that be a batsmen's nightmare?

  • Rowayton on March 1, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    By the way, a bit off topic but talking of Western Suburbs reminded me - you had a series on cricinfo a while back about favourite, relatively unknown, players. One of Davo's contemporaries at Wests was a bloke called Jimmy de Courcy, who played about 3 tests for Australia. I used to love watching de Courcy bat at Wests. He was a typical batsman of that era, a little guy with dancing feet. Maybe memory exaggerates, but I have never seen a batsman who charged spin bowlers quite as much. He seemed to take the ball out of their hands, frequently plonking itl into the bowling green next door to Wests home ground. I was told, probably apocryphally, that the lawnbowlers all used to take cover when Jimmy came in to bat.

  • on March 1, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Is he? I always knew he was the greatest left arm fast bowling allrounder before a certain Wasim Akram came along .. probably ranks in the top 5-6 (either handed) in anyone's list. But then being a leftie, I might be biased :)

  • on March 1, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Is he? I always knew he was the greatest left arm fast bowling allrounder before a certain Wasim Akram came along .. probably ranks in the top 5-6 (either handed) in anyone's list. But then being a leftie, I might be biased :)

  • Rowayton on March 1, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    By the way, a bit off topic but talking of Western Suburbs reminded me - you had a series on cricinfo a while back about favourite, relatively unknown, players. One of Davo's contemporaries at Wests was a bloke called Jimmy de Courcy, who played about 3 tests for Australia. I used to love watching de Courcy bat at Wests. He was a typical batsman of that era, a little guy with dancing feet. Maybe memory exaggerates, but I have never seen a batsman who charged spin bowlers quite as much. He seemed to take the ball out of their hands, frequently plonking itl into the bowling green next door to Wests home ground. I was told, probably apocryphally, that the lawnbowlers all used to take cover when Jimmy came in to bat.

  • Meety on March 1, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    I think the "love" is there for Davo, just not as an allrounder. I think anyone who loves the history of the game would consider Davo as our best ever Left arm pacer. As an allrounder at Test level, at the time, Lindwall had 2 tons, Benaud 3, Miller 7, Davidson 0. Davo didn't make the Oz alltime XI, but that side contains 2 leggies, which I think in this day & age is too man (although with Miller as an allrounder, possibly not)y. So if either Warne or O'Rielly be dropped Davidson would be the Leftie in a pace attack that would be Lillee/McGrath/Davidson/Miller - wouldn't that be a batsmen's nightmare?

  • landl47 on March 1, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    Davidson was a great player, but he wasn't really an allrounder. He was a bowler who was also a useful lower order batsman. In 44 tests he made no centuries and only 5 fifties and his average of 24 doesn't qualify him as a genuine batsman. This article more or less gives it away- everything said about Davidson is about his bowling; not one great innings is mentioned. Ted Dexter is flattering him when he says he could have been a test batsman alone; his record in FC cricket, while better than in tests, wouldn't have got him anywhere near test selection.

    His bowling, though, was absolutely top-class and he certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as any of the great bowlers of any generation. It's good to see that despite all his ailments, he's still going strong at 83.

  • crankypete on March 1, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    you're being cruel to both Watson - Graeme and Shane - when you say we haven't had an allrounder since. Graeme Watson's 32 with the bat and 25 with the ball in first class are the numbers. He was seen as a first change seamer and/or opening bat at various stages of his career. He was a better bowler than Shane but probably not as good a batsman, but could really punish an attack when on song.

    Davo was not a true allrounder, my theory is that the shield and grade through together a surfeit of bat/bowl types and Benaud then Simmo pulled combinations out of it - Archer, Davo, Benno, Johnny Martin. Tom Veivers did better with bat than ball. Slash. then you have 5 or 6 guys to cover slots 5-8 and you get handy batting and bowling for almost any situation on any type of wicket.

    Davo is also really the only guy, along with a brief Geoff Dymock bloom, who steeped up and became an attack leader at the end of his career. Brett Lee for a season. He, McGrath and Thommo. Miller at 4. no Lillee.

  • B.C.G on March 1, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    I feel Davo is even better than W Akram;who I feel is a little overrated.He even took a 10 fer on a raging turner in 1959;in Madras was it? @Meety-Even I was surprised Dave wasn't in the final XI.Was he even nominated? Also what does Mcgrath really offer that Lillee & Miller doesn't.Davo is a left-armer so he offers a new angle.The 2 leggies are irreplacable imho.

  • ygkd on March 1, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Dexter may not have been flattering when he said Davidson could have easily been a good bat. It's just that Davidson might have had to give up the bowling somewhat to achieve it and that, of course, wouldn't have made him a better player at all for his bowling was undoubtedly much better than good. With all due respect to Michael Clark, Davidson would be the first picked if he played today.

  • crankypete on March 1, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    BCG, not meaning to hijack the Davo thread, but McGrath's career on every surface across the globe is far superior in my accounting than Lillee's success in Australia, NZ and England. not his fault he never toured SA. was never fit for Windies. crashed in Pakistan and was never around for India. he MIGHT have done OK in all those places, but McGrath DID, get him and Thommo, then Davo with the older ball, Miller for a brief spell after Thommo. 74-7 Thommo, that is. the quickest and bounciest we'll ever see.

    (MCGrath also had to compete with warne and Gillespie for wickets. Lillee often was the only class bowler, fast or slow. Can see both sides of that debate but think McGrath would have taken more wickets in Lillee teams and Lillee less in McGrath teams. sacrilege, but I have said it.)

    Warne can clean up the rest. Greg chappell for a trundle if any sideways movement.

  • 45runs on March 1, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    My late grandfather was as cricket tragic as I am, and he saw all the great Australians play in the flesh: Bradman, Ponsford, Grimmett, O'Reilly, Lindwall, Miller, Harvey, Benaud. His favourite of all time? Davo by a mile.

  • B.C.G on March 1, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    "In almost 50 years since, Australia haven't really had a genuine Test allrounder".

    See I know the Aussies don't fancy offies;but Greg Matthews was a very useful all rounder.He got 4 100s;11 50s & even a 10w haul.Even Sobers & Kallis haven't got that 10fer(yet).