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Thread: Who is the latest addition to your All-Time XI

  1. #16
    International Regular oz_fan's Avatar
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    My All Time XI
    1. Hobbs
    2. Gavaskar
    3. Bradman
    4. Lara
    5. Tendulkar
    6. Sobers
    7. Gilchrist
    8. Imran Khan
    9. Marshall
    10. Warne
    11. Lillee

    Recent - Lara, Tendulkar, Gilchrist, Warne

  2. #17
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend honestbharani's Avatar
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    Gilchrist for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vic_orthdox View Post
    In the end, I think it's so utterly, incomprehensibly boring. There is so much context behind each innings of cricket that dissecting statistics into these small samples is just worthless. No-one has ever been faced with the same situation in which they come out to bat as someone else. Ever.
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  3. #18
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_C
    I think Bradman is the greatest simply because the stats he achieved are mindboggling.
    It doesnt matter what era you play in or how the intangiables go - if you got stats like Bradman/Pele/Gretsky/Kasparov etc. , you got genuine claims to be considered 'the greatest of alltime'.

    As per the rest- many people hold them in high regard as not only were most of them early pioneers, there is a lot of favourable commentary on them from the past. I however, dont rate any of those guys very highly. They were either untested extensively in Test cricket or achieved similar standards to many modern-day greats while playing in an amatuer era of psuedo-professionalism and much higher gaps in quality. As such, my view is, the level of play displayed by them ( which i've seen SOME of from old time tapes and BBC shows in the past) is much inferior to the level of play seen since the 60s until maybe the last few years of several great/good bowlers retiring at once. The pro-oldies camp argue that had those oldies been born in the professional era, they would've adapted but i see that as just guessing - it is NEVER a garantee that someone, no-matter how illustrious- would succeed just as well- even with proper training-if the bar is suddenly raised a few magnitudes.
    I'll reply to this, and the question from adharcric that prompted it.

    Obviously, as I acknowledged, most of these people played cricket before I was old enough to appreciate them, if I was born at all. So, speaking purely personally, my inclusion of them is based on a combination of their stats, and the testimonials of eye-witnesses. Obviously any stat, or any eye-witness account can and will mislead in isolation. Like any historical research, the challenge is to review as many divergent sources as possible to arrive at as much of the truth as you can.

    As to your points, which I think can be summarised as: the standard of play was much lower previously, say before WWI or between the wars, for instance, than in the last 20 years. I don't think this is a valid argument, though really there's no way to prove it. I think the qualities of hand-eye coordination, concentration, and desire to excell haven't changed over the last 200 years. I think somebody with those qualities would do well whenever in time you relocated them. Obviously there is a degree of luck in any successful career, in terms of getting a big break, or meeting a particular mentor, but I think for the purposes of this kind of list its only fair to make the assumption that those things stay constant. I think you need to also assume that Trumper, Grace, Hobbs, etc would today have coaching, training, and a professional fitness regime. Otherwise, you can ponder how Lara would go having to work as a bank clerk 50 hours a week, and negotiate with his boss to have time off to practice and compete, on uncovered pitches.

    As to your specific point regarding the 'raising of the bar', I guess regarding the improvements in fitness, the more intensive training and coaching, and the wider varieties of venues and teams, I don't think these make cricket harder than it used to be. If anything, the situation is the reverse, if you look at things like uncovered pitches and the feeble protective equipment by today's standards. The norm is in fact to mentally adjust both batting and bowling averages upwards, recognising that batting generally was harder. Not many people have opted for old time bowlers I note.

    You might be right, we'll never know, but I'll continue to have some of the old-timers in the team.
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  4. #19
    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honestbharani
    Gilchrist for me.
    No AA?
    "I am very happy and it will allow me to have lot more rice."

    Eoin Morgan on being given a rice cooker for being Man of the Match in a Dhaka Premier Division game.


  5. #20
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend honestbharani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    No AA?
    AA walked into the all time side the day he was born.


    Therefore, Gilly is the latest.

  6. #21
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    I've been meaning to write a little about Jack Hobbs and George Headley lately.

    Firstly, while stories can become legends that are overrated, there's nothing to be exaggerated about wet-wickets, which is something Hobbs and Headley both mastered playing on. I imagine Hobbs and Headley batting the way Ponting did against Bangaldesh in the first test a month or so ago - always with the straight bat. The pitches were much harder to bat on back then and one thing Jack Hobbs has over Don Bradman was that he did better on wet skiddy wickets. Bradman, with his desire to make runs and make them fast, often went out on wet wickets. Hobbs was always calm and always patient.

    Secondly, I think standards are pretty underrated from back then. Spin bowling wasn't any less advanced back then than it is now. In fact if it weren't for Warne, today's spin would look like the stone age compared to back then. Clarrie Grimmet invented the flipper in Hobbs' time and bowled it always right line/length and always on the stump. He could turn the ball. Many Englishmen struggled against South African bowlers who'd keep bowling wrong'uns at them.

    What I'm trying to say is that wrong'uns and flippers etc were invented in Hobbs' time and he had to face them and he did it well. If I had to pick one batsmen in history to bat in bad conditions, to a foreign-style bowler, it would be Hobbs because he played with a straight bat, was always calm (very tame fellow) and could ajust very well.

    He's no hype - he was the greatest cricketer ever for 20 years or so and the thing is, you can't knock playing on wet-wickets. You can't say, "oh they exaggerated it" because if you batted on a pitch that was rained on, only one thing will happen, the ball will skid, will have an indifferent bounce and you can't play cross-batted shots.

    Sad thing about Hobbs, and I don't defend him on this, is that he played a tame sort of cricket in that when he made a century, he'd often deliberately do something to get himself out since he made his century. That annoys and frustrates me because I don't believe you should give an opposition anything in sport, and that in itself is a form of respect.

    But his domestic records are amazing and his ability to win the Ashes for England in a series which should have been drawn because of rain is amazing. Hobbs was lucky to turn professional in an era when batting was finally perfected. Names like WG Grace started the back-foot when it's short/front foot when it's full technique. Names like Trumper (who Hobbs played against) played with grace anf fluidity that after the 1st World War, I think Hobbs knew exactly what to do.

    George Headley... there's a reason he was called the Black Bradman. Because, and stats don't show this, George was making runs, in his prime, that were extremely close to that of Don Bradman. I believe Headley averaged close to 80 at one stage (that might be Everton Weekes I'm thinking of), and this is something people don't know:
    Because Headley only played 20-odd tests, his average was prone to fluctuation as was all his stats. After retiring for a few years, Headley was asked to come back when he (to all who saw him) was clearly not even remotely close to what he used to be. He went out a few times and his average dropped to 60.

    Had George Headley not played when he was a shell of himself, his average would nearly be 70! And like Hobbs, he had a better time on wet-wickets than Bradman. In fact, Headley played nearly half his tests on wet-wickets so who's to say what would have happened had he played in sunny Australia more often.

    I rate both Headley and Hobbs very very highly and much of what was said of them can't be exaggerated. It's a fact that Headley came back when he was old and washed up. And then there's names like O'Rielly who played against and saw all the greats of the 20th century who rated Headley as the best they bowled to and as good as many.

    As for who the 2nd best batsman ever is, I don't know. But I think both are underrated (well Hobbs isn't underrated in England) and both have a case for being the second best batsmen ever. Hobbs has a case for all his Domestic centuries and for withstanding pressure under extreme conditions and for playing well on wet-wickets. George has a case for playing well on wet-wickets and also for having such a great average before he was asked to come back. Bradman's average is much better only because Bradman had an amazing desire to keep going and going and make scores well over 200 quite often (8 times in 70 innings or so I think... amazing). That's certainly not a knock on Bradman, but both Hobbs and Headley have one or two things over the Don.

    I think Hobbs, Viv, Sobers, Tendy, Gavaskar, Pollock, Hammond, Headley and maybe Lara (probably not) all have a case for being the second best batsman of all time. Personally I there's one or two who are long shots, but based on one criteria or another they could be rated the second best batsman of all time.

  7. #22
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    and yes I babble...

    I just also wanted to add that if you want somebody who's overrated for their contribution to cricket and not their skill, Victor Trumper is your man. I'm sure he added a lot with his grace and fluidity, and that it even influenced Jack Hobbs who he played against. But an average of 39 against what Hobbs could do... he's not up there.

    Total mis-match when they met.
    Last edited by Francis; 11-05-2006 at 10:33 AM.

  8. #23
    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honestbharani
    AA walked into the all time side the day he was born.


    Therefore, Gilly is the latest.
    Lol, good comeback

  9. #24
    C_C
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    All this talk about wet pitches or uncovered wickets is nonsense really.
    Sure, they are harder to bat on than covered wickets. But bowling quality matters far far far more than wickets. I'd rather face the namby pambies of the 20s and 30s on a waterlogged pitch with potholes in it than face Marshall,Holding and Garner on Antigua. None of those pre WWII players, barring Bradman, Grimmett and O'Reiley would be anything more than "45 ave with the bat or 30 ave with the ball" type of players in the professional era as far as i am concerned.

    And Pollock has no business being in the greatest batsmen's ranks -sure he was good and could've been great. But fact is, he remains unproven at top level cricket. I dont mind rating people who've missed out due to reasons out of their control as good players. But alltime greats ? Sorry, that HAS to be someone who's tried and tested.

  10. #25
    International Debutant Pedro Delgado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_C
    All this talk about wet pitches or uncovered wickets is nonsense really.
    Sure, they are harder to bat on than covered wickets. But bowling quality matters far far far more than wickets. I'd rather face the namby pambies of the 20s and 30s on a waterlogged pitch with potholes in it than face Marshall,Holding and Garner on Antigua. None of those pre WWII players, barring Bradman, Grimmett and O'Reiley would be anything more than "45 ave with the bat or 30 ave with the ball" type of players in the professional era as far as i am concerned.

    And Pollock has no business being in the greatest batsmen's ranks -sure he was good and could've been great. But fact is, he remains unproven at top level cricket. I dont mind rating people who've missed out due to reasons out of their control as good players. But alltime greats ? Sorry, that HAS to be someone who's tried and tested.
    You don't rate Hammond, Hobbs and Barnes then. Interesting.
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  11. #26
    C_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro Delgado
    You don't rate Hammond, Hobbs and Barnes then. Interesting.
    I dont rate Hammond and Hobbs as anything more than " 45 ave batsmen in 1960-present" timeframe.
    Barnes would probably have been an awesome bowler too so i'd add him to the list of Braddles and company.

  12. #27
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    None of those pre WWII players, barring Bradman, Grimmett and O'Reiley would be anything more than "45 ave with the bat or 30 ave with the ball" type of players in the professional era as far as i am concerned.
    And what do you base this on?

    I think your underestimating how important a good wicket is to bat on. We don't see pitches like those today, so I'll put in simply. If somebody pitches the ball on the stumps on a wet-wicket, they have to play with a straight bat. We saw in Bangaldesh this year how hard that can be. Ponting wanted runs but didn't want to throw his wicket away.

    We saw how a tough pitch made even bowlers like Raqifue incredibly hard t play. It wasn't a wet-wicket, but the bounce was unpreidctable, a few were skidding and any balls on the stumps were played with a straight bat. You don't need to be Malcolm Marshall to do that consistently and in doing that consistently your not going to be scored off.

    I think the best testimonial I can give you are the stories of Bradman struggling on wet-wickets and Headley and Hobbs shining on them. One of the few people from that era you consider "great" struggled on wet-wickets. Hobbs and Headley didn't.

    It's tough to say if there were any great bowlers in Bradman's time because simply put, when 80% of England's games are against Australia and one bloke keeps making massive scores each time out, I can't see anybody averaging under 30. Imagine the statistical effect on Warne's stats if he played Tendulkar 80% of the time, heck even McGrath would have a hard time averaging below 30 since he and Tendy are sorta 50/50. Bradman's big scores are sufficiant enough to hurt every bowlers stats. Seriously that is what it would have been like.


    Pollock is a tough one. I'd never rate him the second best batsman ever (although Bradman thought he was the best left-handed batsman ever - better than Sobers). However, he was exposed to some quality bowling during rebel tours. He certainly killed Australia as well. Hard not seeing him do well.

    Barry Richards is an example of a South African who played Australia's best bowling in their domestic comp like Thompson (during his short prime), and he was impressive. I think Richards would have averaged around 52 like Lara personally considering the domestic talent he faced around the world. He played for Gloucestershire and South Australia. Now that means he played guys like Willis, Snow, Lillee, Thompson etc.

    So some SA players were exposed to the best after being banned. I don't know enough about Pollock on a domestic level, but I have heard he was unstoppable. Also, around the late 60s many considered him the best batsman in the world ahead of Sobers... so I think there's an outside change for him. I'd never pick him though...

  13. #28
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    I dont rate Hammond and Hobbs as anything more than " 45 ave batsmen in 1960-present" timeframe.
    Barnes would probably have been an awesome bowler too so i'd add him to the list of Braddles and company.
    Hammond faced bowlers I'd rate easily as some of Australia's best ever. He may have played against Grimmett at the end of Grimmett's career (Grimmett would continue to get many wickets in domestic comps, amazing stats there), he faced O'Riely, he faced Lindwall and he faced Miller. They'd all be in my top ten of Australia best ever bowlers.

    Don't let the time-frame concern you, nearly every bowling delivery that exists today existed back then. Obviously the doosera and the reverse swinger (that Sarfaz Anwar created) didn't exist, but people like Lindwall especially were seen as tremendous swing bowlers.

  14. #29
    C_C
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    And what do you base this on?
    Lack of quality in cricket back then.
    Ie, lack of professionalism. I'd rather face Warne if Warne was holding a 9-5 job and playing criket in the weekends any day of the week over a professional Kaneria.
    Without professionalism, the quality is spread too thin.

    I think your underestimating how important a good wicket is to bat on.
    No, i think you are overestimating it. I've played some cricket in my teens (highschool/club level) and from personal experience, i'd rather bowl to someone like Gayle on an absolute flat track like Antigua than Lara on an absolute minefield.

    He certainly killed Australia as well. Hard not seeing him do well.
    True. Which is why i rate Pollock as an excellent batsman but wouldnt make my top 20 list. Why ? because cricket is 90% cerebral and 10% physical. If you play long enough, people WILL work out your weaknesses and try to exploit them. When you are playing FC cricket or rebel tours, most people cant be bothered to plan in such fine detail ( and more importantly, execute the planning) as they do in tests.
    In my books, even God would have to prove his worth through perspiration for a full juicy career to be considered 'alltime great'. That is a category where one MUST be tried and tested to make the grade.
    As per considering Pollock ahead of Sobers in the 60s- cant say i am surprised, given the racist climate in the white world around that time.

  15. #30
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    Ie, lack of professionalism. I'd rather face Warne if Warne was holding a 9-5 job and playing criket in the weekends any day of the week over a professional Kaneria.
    Without professionalism, the quality is spread too thin.
    Cricket was played on a domestic level more than you know. Bradman himself got himself a job from a business man who wanted Bradman to put on cricket exhibitions for his own profit. If you look at many of the greats from back then, the amount of domestic games they played in their life is astounding. Bradman's weren't even recognised as domestic games, yet his competition wasn't too bad.

    No, i think you are overestimating it. I've played some cricket in my teens (highschool/club level) and from personal experience, i'd rather bowl to someone like Gayle on an absolute flat track like Antigua than Lara on an absolute minefield.
    But try to understand that if you can't swing, seam or do anything with the ball, the pitch becomes a leveler. I've seen great bowlers do no better than worse bowlers just because of a unresponsive pitch. There's not a whole lot Malcolm Marshall could have done that an Englishmen like Larwood (who bowled mightily fast) could have done in a wet/skiddy wicket. Marshall, being a great would have mixed up his deliveries and used some cutters that Lillee showed him. But the pitch becomes a leveler when everybody can do the same thing.

    I personally would rather bowl at Gayle like you. But the difference in difficulty isn't as great as you make it out to be. There's not a while lot one bowler can do that another can't when there's no aid... you can't even swing the ball because the ball is wet.

    Glenn McGrath is the best exponent of conditions I've ever seen in a seam bowler, yet he could do nothing at the WACCA last year. NOTHING. Because the pitch did nothing for him. Bowlers like Bracken were doing as well as him solely because the pitch was reacting the same way for them. It was a flat-track and a draw occured.

    True. Which is why i rate Pollock as an excellent batsman but wouldnt make my top 20 list. Why ? because cricket is 90% cerebral and 10% physical. If you play long enough, people WILL work out your weaknesses and try to exploit them. When you are playing FC cricket or rebel tours, most people cant be bothered to plan in such fine detail ( and more importantly, execute the planning) as they do in tests.
    In my books, even God would have to prove his worth through perspiration for a full juicy career to be considered 'alltime great'. That is a category where one MUST be tried and tested to make the grade.
    Funny you should say that because after one series against him, Australia were scared of Pollock and felt he might have been exploitable around the leg-stump. So they continued to bowl making him play on the leg-side. To Pollock's credit he played the leg-side very well and went about his business. Same goes for Headley. Bill O'Riely tried to bowl him around his legs often.

    Pollock was scanned and probed but remained awesome.
    Last edited by Francis; 11-05-2006 at 12:27 PM.

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