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Thread: The Age Debate !!

  1. #1
    SJS
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    The Age Debate !!

    Its an interesting debate, about age. Generally batsmen peak around the age of thirty. It would be safe to say that 28 to 32 is the most productive year for most batsmen. There willl be very few who could be termed as great in the first half of their 20's. Of course there will be exceptions. Bradman was 22 in 1930 when he scored nearly 1 thousand runs in an Ashes series !!

    Spinners too peak around the same age as batsmen take away a year or two but can also last longer so maybe while it is 30 +/- 2 years for batsmen, it could be 30 +/-4 for spinners.

    Medium Pacers last less than spinners so maybe 27 +/- 3 is more like it.

    Fast bowlers mature much earlier and are at their peak around 24-27. After that, the smart ones, concentrate on accuracy and prolong their careers as well as shift the peak years by moving into the Medium pace category.

    (All the above age limits are just off the cuff as I type this. One may differ a bit or give examples that defy this but thats not the point. Its just a general idea about the overall scenario)

    Whats happening in world cricket today is clearly a sign of the times. The number of real fast bowlers with potential or on the verge of entering the 'greats' arena are not easily seen.

    With two of the greatest spinners in the history of the game and another (Kumble) with quantity to back him are approaching the final part of their careers. Maybe Murali has slightly longer. Harbhajan has not grown, in fact has slid back, from the initial promise and others on the horizon (with due regards to everyones nationalistic sensibilities) do not seem destined for that much more easily bestowed halo of 'greatness'

    The best new ball bowlers in the world are fast bowlers of yester years who have moved categories to prolong their careers (McGrath and Pollock) as did Walsh before them.

    This is not a good sign for cricket. Good young bowlers are not coming fast enough for standards, batting standards mind you, to be forced to be raised a notch. Today speed with swing is almost, almost I said, unheard of on a consistent basis. Gone are the days of the Windies greats, the Lillees, The Imrans, Waqars and Wasims who would bowl as fast as anyone has hurled the cricket ball and still move it disconcertingly in the air as well as off the pitch.

    This is what challenged the batsmen and this is what made the batsmenship of the 70's to 90's so much more exciting and cherished.

    I can make a team from earlier years of people on either side of the 30's and we will see that the chances of the over-30's being the favourites reduce. Not surprising considering that teams had fewer senior statesmen than we have today amongst the elite.

    Also, let me add, lack of truly fast bowlers who are also great movers of the ball means that the attributes of a batsman that deteriorate with age viz eyesight and reflexes are not tested as severely as they would be otherwise.

    Finally, let me add that while there are exceptions to all thats been said above, it only proves the rule.

    PS : This is about test cricket.
    Last edited by SJS; 10-09-2005 at 10:17 PM.

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    International Regular Beleg's Avatar
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    Voltaire's being doing the rounds these days.

    It really isn't a debate for me. All of your premises are just based on applied common sense. Though I would also like to add that the frequency of games played by a cricketer, along with their incumbent number of years in the professional field may also effect the abilities and skew the peak-ages around a bit.

    Case in point: Tendulkar/Waqar vs. Inzamam.

    But as you said, the exceptions only prove an existing pattern.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beleg
    Voltaire's being doing the rounds these days.

    It really isn't a debate for me. All of your premises are just based on applied common sense. Though I would also like to add that the frequency of games played by a cricketer, along with their incumbent number of years in the professional field may also effect the abilities and skew the peak-ages around a bit.

    Case in point: Tendulkar/Waqar vs. Inzamam.

    But as you said, the exceptions only prove an existing pattern.
    You are right. Its not a debate really. I called it that since I first wrote this post for another thread about above 30's and under 30's and whether the age boundar should be changed to 32 instead of 30 to make it a bit more even.

    This is what started a chain of thought on the 'fossilisation' (excuse the extreme exageration) as it were of the game

    No its not a debate about age, it is about the lack of young players coming through.

    Just have a look at the best bowler and best batsman rankings over time for example and you willl find that the same few (by and large) have dominated these over time from their twenties into their late twemties and early thirties.

    Similarly the to teams, (which can be found for any particular date for any country on howstat.com ) have their average age creeping upwards. That is the point thrown up for discussion.

    Maybe the thread title is misleading.

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    Hall of Fame Member age_master's Avatar
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    Shane Warne is as good as ever now, but i think hes the exception, rather than the rule.
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    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by age_master
    Shane Warne is as good as ever now, but i think hes the exception, rather than the rule.
    Spinners, particularly great ones, WILL last. But he too is coming to an end. The point is, however, where are the youngsters to replace them ?

    The problem is more glaring as we go down the chain towards those disciplines that require younger bodies.

    In bowling these disciplines read...Spinner, Medium Pacers, Fast Men.

    We are first running out of top quality fast men in the international pool. Not that there is an abundance of great spinners and medium pacers but the older one's are still around, by definition and by fact.

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    A quick study of the composition of the Australian side over the last fiftenn years shows a very interesting trend.

    I took 6 batsmen, one wicket keeper and four bowlers for each year by the simple method of choosing those who played most test matches during the year. And tracked the changes in the side over this time. It showed many intersting things one of which was the phasing out of the old and the replenishment with fresh blood.

    Here are the years and the new ball bowlers who went out of the side (even though they may have played an odd game or two).

    1991 : Alderman
    1991 : Rackmann
    1992 : Reid
    1993 : --------
    1994 : Hughes
    1995 : -------
    1996 : McDermott
    1997 : -------
    1998 : Reiffell
    1999 : --------
    2000 : --------
    2001 : -------
    2002 : -------
    2003 : -------
    2004 : ------- --(unless one wants to include Bichel)

    And what of fresh blood induction??

    1994 : McGrath
    1995 : ---------
    1996 : Gillespie
    1997 : ----------
    1998 : Kasprowicz
    1999 : ---------
    2000 : Lee
    2001 : -------
    2002 : --------
    2003 : -------
    2004 : -------
    2005 : --------

    The problem is self evident. There is a shortage of quality fast bowlers coming up and, I dare say, even the quality is going down.

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    International Regular Steulen's Avatar
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    To be fair, Tait debuted as a fast bowler in 2005.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    The problem is self evident. There is a shortage of quality fast bowlers coming up and, I dare say, even the quality is going down.
    When you turn the game into one where the batsmen are allowed, nay, MANDATED, to dominate and score runs at a record rate, what do you expect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steulen
    To be fair, Tait debuted as a fast bowler in 2005.
    Oh yes. We can list others. But both for purpose of entry or exit this list refers to the top four Australian bowlers during a calendar year.

    The names and years given for exit are the year when the bowler failed to appear in the top four and never entered again. For rntrants it is the first year when they made the top four Aussie bowlers.

    Tait is yet to do that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingo
    When you turn the game into one where the batsmen are allowed, nay, MANDATED, to dominate and score runs at a record rate, what do you expect?
    I agree. This is really the legacy of the limited over game. With an inswinger likely to be called a wide even though it beats the batsman all ends up and might have been applauded in the test scene. Same for a tempting outswinger outside the offstump.

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    Hall of Fame Member honestbharani's Avatar
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    yep, I do think some of the batters playing today wouldn't have had a hope against the greats of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Blokes like Tresco, Sehwag, Laxman, Hayden, Smith etc. are classic examples of that, me thinks. I mean, with all due respect to above mentioned guys, I just cannot see how any of these guys could have made runs against the Windies 4some, Lillee/Thomson, Wasim/Waqar, Curtly/Courtney etc...
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    Its an interesting debate, about age. Generally batsmen peak around the age of thirty. It would be safe to say that 28 to 32 is the most productive year for most batsmen. There willl be very few who could be termed as great in the first half of their 20's. Of course there will be exceptions. Bradman was 22 in 1930 when he scored nearly 1 thousand runs in an Ashes series !!

    Spinners too peak around the same age as batsmen take away a year or two but can also last longer so maybe while it is 30 +/- 2 years for batsmen, it could be 30 +/-4 for spinners.

    Medium Pacers last less than spinners so maybe 27 +/- 3 is more like it.

    Fast bowlers mature much earlier and are at their peak around 24-27. After that, the smart ones, concentrate on accuracy and prolong their careers as well as shift the peak years by moving into the Medium pace category.
    I am bumping this thread because I was thinking about that "batsman in their prime thread".

    My question is has anyone ever done an analysis to validate SJS's age ranges here. Are they true?
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    International Coach uvelocity's Avatar
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    not an analysis as such, but he's theroy is pretty good I reckon. Good post.
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    It's an interesting question - people can and do make up the loss of their physical skills with increased experience, or by changing their games. Tendulkar is an example. Some never do.

    Cricket is also a sport that I think is more conducive to something like this. If you look at a sport like Tennis, people peak a lot earlier and their skills seem to deteriorate rapidly even in their late twenties.

    As an aside, in Physics the saying is that if you haven't changed the world by 30, you'll never do it. Newton became a professor of mathematics at Cambrige at 27. Einstein published Special Relativity at the age of 26. I think that notion is a little outdated now, but perhaps there is something about mental as well as physical ability that peaks in your twenties.

    One thing that's interesting is that power and strength tend to stay with a person a lot longer (see George Foreman) than speed or quickness so sometimes you can make up with one if you lose the others. Perhaps that's why it's harder for tennis players to compensate than other sports players.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member archie mac's Avatar
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    I have a book called The Top 100 and The First XI

    Written in 1987, about Australia cricket, the author states that Aussie batsman will be, traditionally at their best in their early 20s. I suppose as you said Bradman but I also think of Hill, Trumper, Harvey, O'Neil, McCabe and Walters to name a few. But it has changed some what over the years, but I wonder why
    You know it makes sense.

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