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Thread: Are some countries better at somethings ?

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    SJS
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    Are some countries better at somethings ?

    There seems to be a bit of association of certain countires with certain types of skills. Openers from England, Spinners from India (generally) leg spinners from Australia and so on.

    I have tried to look at it and tried to make assign positions in a team to countries rather than individual players. Here is what I ended up with.

    Openers :

    England seems to have an edge over other countries in producing a string of high class classic openers. The moving ball of the English summer, the resultant necessicity to play with a straighter bat seems to have influenced batsmen over the years.

    Hobbs, Sutcliffe and Hutton would be on every shortlist of openers. Boycott would find an honourable mention too.

    So I would allot the opening positions to the Ol' Blighty. If we wanted to be a bit more 'democratic'/diplomatic, I would give the number two spot to Australia who have had successful (if different) openers in Trumper, Woodfull, Ponsford in the olden days, Simpson and Lawry and now Hayden.

    By the way, South Africa have also produced some outstanding opners in Mitchell, Barry Richards and GC Smith. Other countries havent done a consistent job at the top of the order which can be attributed to the quality of wickets (making it easier for batsmen at home) or a very aggressive batting style (Windies?) ...maybe.

    The batsman with stats (runs and averages in that position) are:

    - Sutcliffe : 4522 at 61.1
    - Hutton : 6721 at 56.5
    - Hobbs : 5130 at 56.4

    One Down :

    This is as much a specialist position as the openers. Here Both Australia and England have had a great succession of players. England with Hammond, Barrington and Dexter are, however, not as strong a pool as the Bradman led Australians. Bradman, Hassett, Harvey and Ponting make a very successful foursome. There are others too.
    West Indies actually have a strong claim with Headley, Richards and Kanhai and I almost put them there but then thoughtit wasnt as strong as the Australians. Its a tough one. If only Sobers had played more often at number three where he averaged 72.1 for 1009 runs !!

    Bradman just about tipped the scales for the Aussies here. So I chose Australia at number three.

    - Bradman : 5078 at 102.3
    - Ponting : 6294 at 66.3
    - Hassett : 1009 at 56.1

    West Indies were :

    - Sobers : 1009 at 72.1
    - Headley : 2064 at 71.2
    - Richards : 3508 at 61.5
    - Kanhai : 4689 at 52.7

    (I am still not sure if I should have taken Windies !!)

    Middle Order (4 & 5)

    I dont think its fair to spilt these two positions since batsmen tend to play at both and the demands are the same.

    West Indies have easily the most impressive middle order over time.

    Weekes (63.6) Worrell (59.5), Walcott (59.2), Sobers (63.8), Lara (50.7) make a terrifying prospect for any bowling side (and we had to leave out Lloyd - 46.5).

    No other side comes close to this though South Africa with Kallis, Graeme Pollock and Nourse are very impressive too.

    All Rounder :

    This was another tough one. Australia have Miller, Noble, Giffen, Benaud and Davidson while England have Botham, Tony Greig, Rhodes, Flintoff as top of the line and Bailey and Illingworth not to be scoffed at.

    Other teams were relatively weak in this with only India having two world class all rounders in Mankad and Kapil.

    I gave it to England.

    Wicket Keeper :

    Another tough one between the old enemies.

    England have some absolute greats in the past with Evans, Strudwick, Ames, Knott and Taylor while Australia have had greater talent in more recent times. There list reads Oldfield, Grout, Healy, Marsh and Gilchrist.

    Other teams have been nowhere near as prolific in producing great glovemen.

    Being a technician and preffering a great keeper to a batsman keeper, I chose England after much deliberation.

    Leg Spinner :

    There really has been no comparison with Australia's wrist spinners university. Orielly, Grimmett, Warne and Benaud are a shortlist that probably contains three of the greatest bowlers of all times.

    England, have never had a great tradition for spinners inspite of Freeman. In fact South Africa with their foursome in early 20th century and India with Gupte, Chandra and Kumble (last two unorthodox) have been the next most impressive after Aussies.

    Pakistan with Qadir, the two Mushtaq'a and Kaneria are also not bad at all.

    The choice of Australia was easy.

    Left arm spinner:

    Monty Panesar has a proud heritage to look back at. England have a legendry line up of left arm finger spinners. Its unfortunate that the last of that list played nearly three decades ago.

    - Bobby Peel 101 wkts at 16.9
    - Johnny Briggs 118 at 17.8
    - Blythe 100 at 18.6
    - Jhonny Wardle 102 at 20.4
    - Verity 144 at 24.4
    - Rhodes 127 at 26.9
    - Underwood 297 at 25.8

    No other country comes anywhere near such a line up. Australia for some strange reason havent had much of a champion, EVER, who spun the ball with his left hand in the orthodox manner. India had Bedi, Pakistan Qadir and Windies the somewhat unorthodox Valentine.

    I leave the off spinner for the time being.

    Fast Bowlers.
    Most countries have great fast bowling traditions. (India maybe excused).

    Australia starting with the Demon Spofforth, and later Miller and Lindwall, Lillee and Thomson, MacGrath, McKenzie.

    England with : Richardson, Larwood, Tyson, Trueman, Statham and Snow

    But no one can touch the West Indies starting with the startling pace of Constantine and Martindale, going on to Hall and Griffith and then that unending line of Roberts, Holding, Garner, Croft, Bishop, Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh and Croft. For a team that started playing test cricket half a century after the two leading nations, West Indies has produced probably the most amazing lineup of specialist in one specialist skill, fearsome, furious fast bowling. I had no hesitation to award this place to the Windies.

    Medium Pace

    The weather conditions overhead andunderfoot in England make accurate medium pace bowling a very rewarding skill to acquire. The long and extremely talented list that follows does not need any explanation why this selection isnt even being discussed further.

    - Ferris 61wkts at 12.7
    - Lohmann 112 at 10.7
    - Barnes 189 at 16.4
    - Bedser 236 at 24.9
    - Tate : 155 at 26.2

    In Barnes this list has arguably the greatest bowler of any kind that ever existed. In Bedser and Tate two of the greatest medium pacers ever. In Ferris and Lohmann two legends of the early years of the international game.

    That gives a side as

    - Openers - England (Australia)
    - One down - Australia (West Indies)
    - Middle Order (4 and 5) - West Indies
    - All Rounder - England
    - Keeper - England
    - Leg Spinner - Australia
    - Left Arm Spin - England
    - Fast - West Indies
    - Medium Pace - England

    (To Be continued)

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    Interesting stuff SJS.

    I suppose one might also consider why certain countries are better in some areas. The English production line of med/fast seamers is probably done to our dank, overcast weather & (in the days before covered pitches) our finger spinners used to make hay on sticky dogs.

    The fact that Pakistan produce so many more great quicks than India has always puzzled me too, it may be due to the greater protein the (mostly Muslim) Pakistani children have when compared to Indians, but (IIRC) I think I read that India has a Muslim population in excess of 100 million!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    There seems to be a bit of association of certain countires with certain types of skills. Openers from England, Spinners from India (generally) leg spinners from Australia and so on.

    I have tried to look at it and tried to make assign positions in a team to countries rather than individual players. Here is what I ended up with.

    Openers :

    England seems to have an edge over other countries in producing a string of high class classic openers. The moving ball of the English summer, the resultant necessicity to play with a straighter bat seems to have influenced batsmen over the years.

    Hobbs, Sutcliffe and Hutton would be on every shortlist of openers. Boycott would find an honourable mention too.

    So I would allot the opening positions to the Ol' Blighty. If we wanted to be a bit more 'democratic'/diplomatic, I would give the number two spot to Australia who have had successful (if different) openers in Trumper, Woodfull, Ponsford in the olden days, Simpson and Lawry and now Hayden.

    By the way, South Africa have also produced some outstanding opners in Mitchell, Barry Richards and GC Smith. Other countries havent done a consistent job at the top of the order which can be attributed to the quality of wickets (making it easier for batsmen at home) or a very aggressive batting style (Windies?) ...maybe.

    The batsman with stats (runs and averages in that position) are:

    - Sutcliffe : 4522 at 61.1
    - Hutton : 6721 at 56.5
    - Hobbs : 5130 at 56.4

    One Down :

    This is as much a specialist position as the openers. Here Both Australia and England have had a great succession of players. England with Hammond, Barrington and Dexter are, however, not as strong a pool as the Bradman led Australians. Bradman, Hassett, Harvey and Ponting make a very successful foursome. There are others too.
    West Indies actually have a strong claim with Headley, Richards and Kanhai and I almost put them there but then thoughtit wasnt as strong as the Australians. Its a tough one. If only Sobers had played more often at number three where he averaged 72.1 for 1009 runs !!

    Bradman just about tipped the scales for the Aussies here. So I chose Australia at number three.

    - Bradman : 5078 at 102.3
    - Ponting : 6294 at 66.3
    - Hassett : 1009 at 56.1

    West Indies were :

    - Sobers : 1009 at 72.1
    - Headley : 2064 at 71.2
    - Richards : 3508 at 61.5
    - Kanhai : 4689 at 52.7

    (I am still not sure if I should have taken Windies !!)

    Middle Order (4 & 5)

    I dont think its fair to spilt these two positions since batsmen tend to play at both and the demands are the same.

    West Indies have easily the most impressive middle order over time.

    Weekes (63.6) Worrell (59.5), Walcott (59.2), Sobers (63.8), Lara (50.7) make a terrifying prospect for any bowling side (and we had to leave out Lloyd - 46.5).

    No other side comes close to this though South Africa with Kallis, Graeme Pollock and Nourse are very impressive too.

    All Rounder :

    This was another tough one. Australia have Miller, Noble, Giffen, Benaud and Davidson while England have Botham, Tony Greig, Rhodes, Flintoff as top of the line and Bailey and Illingworth not to be scoffed at.

    Other teams were relatively weak in this with only India having two world class all rounders in Mankad and Kapil.

    I gave it to England.

    Wicket Keeper :

    Another tough one between the old enemies.

    England have some absolute greats in the past with Evans, Strudwick, Ames, Knott and Taylor while Australia have had greater talent in more recent times. There list reads Oldfield, Grout, Healy, Marsh and Gilchrist.

    Other teams have been nowhere near as prolific in producing great glovemen.

    Being a technician and preffering a great keeper to a batsman keeper, I chose England after much deliberation.

    Leg Spinner :

    There really has been no comparison with Australia's wrist spinners university. Orielly, Grimmett, Warne and Benaud are a shortlist that probably contains three of the greatest bowlers of all times.

    England, have never had a great tradition for spinners inspite of Freeman. In fact South Africa with their foursome in early 20th century and India with Gupte, Chandra and Kumble (last two unorthodox) have been the next most impressive after Aussies.

    Pakistan with Qadir, the two Mushtaq'a and Kaneria are also not bad at all.

    The choice of Australia was easy.

    Left arm spinner:

    Monty Panesar has a proud heritage to look back at. England have a legendry line up of left arm finger spinners. Its unfortunate that the last of that list played nearly three decades ago.

    - Bobby Peel 101 wkts at 16.9
    - Johnny Briggs 118 at 17.8
    - Blythe 100 at 18.6
    - Jhonny Wardle 102 at 20.4
    - Verity 144 at 24.4
    - Rhodes 127 at 26.9
    - Underwood 297 at 25.8

    No other country comes anywhere near such a line up. Australia for some strange reason havent had much of a champion, EVER, who spun the ball with his left hand in the orthodox manner. India had Bedi, Pakistan Qadir and Windies the somewhat unorthodox Valentine.

    I leave the off spinner for the time being.

    Fast Bowlers.
    Most countries have great fast bowling traditions. (India maybe excused).

    Australia starting with the Demon Spofforth, and later Miller and Lindwall, Lillee and Thomson, MacGrath, McKenzie.

    England with : Richardson, Larwood, Tyson, Trueman, Statham and Snow

    But no one can touch the West Indies starting with the startling pace of Constantine and Martindale, going on to Hall and Griffith and then that unending line of Roberts, Holding, Garner, Croft, Bishop, Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh and Croft. For a team that started playing test cricket half a century after the two leading nations, West Indies has produced probably the most amazing lineup of specialist in one specialist skill, fearsome, furious fast bowling. I had no hesitation to award this place to the Windies.

    Medium Pace

    The weather conditions overhead andunderfoot in England make accurate medium pace bowling a very rewarding skill to acquire. The long and extremely talented list that follows does not need any explanation why this selection isnt even being discussed further.

    - Ferris 61wkts at 12.7
    - Lohmann 112 at 10.7
    - Barnes 189 at 16.4
    - Bedser 236 at 24.9
    - Tate : 155 at 26.2

    In Barnes this list has arguably the greatest bowler of any kind that ever existed. In Bedser and Tate two of the greatest medium pacers ever. In Ferris and Lohmann two legends of the early years of the international game.

    That gives a side as

    - Openers - England (Australia)
    - One down - Australia (West Indies)
    - Middle Order (4 and 5) - West Indies
    - All Rounder - England
    - Keeper - England
    - Leg Spinner - Australia
    - Left Arm Spin - England
    - Fast - West Indies
    - Medium Pace - England

    (To Be continued)
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  4. #4
    SJS
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    So, I ask myself, why are there such clear divisions in many of these specialist positions. The answers are not too difficult to see.

    As discussed in the earlier post, the classical opener who plays with a straight bat do0wn the line, has patience and can leave the moving ball is a typical product of seaming conditions as prevail in England. The same is true for the propensity of great medium pacers from England.

    The less demanding conditions of England (as against the hot and humid sub continent and Carribean), perhaps can be temed somewhat easy on the body and hence a talented player could find it in him, physically to put in a long spell of bowling even after a long innings. Tougher physical conditions may have seen fewer all rounders from England as is the case with sub continent and the Carribean.

    Although we havent discussed off spin here ( I will come back), it would appear that soft under ground conditions where the ball would 'grip' the surface would be conducive to finger spin rather than to the conventional wrist spin where the hard surfaces would give the bounce required. Hence the wrist spinners in England (including at least Laker amongst the great off spinners).

    I would like to think that the off spin would also flourish in dusty and slow conditions as prevail in the subcontinent and hence the Prasanna's Harbhajan's. Jassu Patels, Saqlains and the great Murali.

    AS the one day cricket has taken over and the conditions in England are more and more batsman friendly the bowling pool seems to have dried up.

    On the batting front, its very interesting to see how the stroke players dominate after the openers and hence the great line of Australians and West Indians at number three and so many West Indians at four and five. Stodgy batsmenship maybe required at times but by and large it is the enterprising who will flourish once the new ball has been weathered. That seems to be the message here.

    Finally the fast bowling seems to clearly come from countries which provide conditions (both weather and wickets) for the same. The physique of the players helps too. Hence the fast bowlers from England, Australia and West Indies.

    I am of the firm opinion that Pakistan's pace bowling has benefitted greatly from the continuous flow of Pakistani talent to be honed in the county circuit. PLUS the Pakistani Punjabi and is built like an ox !

    The great keepers will invariably propogate in countries with great bowling. You HAVE to be skillful to keep well, day in and day out to bowlers who can move the ball disconcertingly. Hence with the dropping of Englands bowling standards, there keeping has taken a back seat and its a long time since we saw a world beater behind the stumps from the land of Evans and Taylor.


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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    All Rounder :

    This was another tough one. Australia have Miller, Noble, Giffen, Benaud and Davidson while England have Botham, Tony Greig, Rhodes, Flintoff as top of the line and Bailey and Illingworth not to be scoffed at.

    Other teams were relatively weak in this with only India having two world class all rounders in Mankad and Kapil.
    South Africa? Barlow & Procter (and to a lesser extent Kallis. Klusener was also a fantastic ODI player.)
    Last edited by steds; 01-10-2006 at 07:54 AM. Reason: can't spell "extent"

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    Quote Originally Posted by steds
    South Africa? Barlow & Procter (and to a lesser extrent Kallis. Klusener was also a fantastic ODI player.)
    Unless I mention specifically or am writing in a specific thread, I almost always talk test cricket. That leaves out Kluesner.

    Whenever I set out to do any statistical comparisons, I set some limits like minimum tests or minimum runs or minimum wickets. Thus the great Proctor with a seven test career got left out.

    Similarly Barlow's 40 test wickets (in 30 tests) ruled him out.
    Last edited by SJS; 01-10-2006 at 08:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    All Rounder :

    This was another tough one. Australia have Miller, Noble, Giffen, Benaud and Davidson while England have Botham, Tony Greig, Rhodes, Flintoff as top of the line and Bailey and Illingworth not to be scoffed at.

    Other teams were relatively weak in this with only India having two world class all rounders in Mankad and Kapil.

    I gave it to England
    South Africa certainly deserves consideration.

    Procter, Kallis, Faulkner, S. Pollock, Trevor Goddard. Then you can also consider Brian McMillan and Barlow. You can also mention, possibly the best of the lot, Clive Rice. Also, not to mention Basil D'Oliveira

    Add into the equation the fact that Grieg is listed as an excellent English allrounder when as we all know he was born, raised and had his cricketing education in SA. Also Grieg would not have got close to be a regular in the SA national team. It shows SA's strength.

    As for reasons why there are differences in styles, conditions obviously have an effect but equally important are local coaching techniques and rolemodels.

    e.g. the English coaching style promotes defense first batting which lends itself to opening and mastering line and length which lends itself to medium pacers.
    Last edited by Goughy; 01-10-2006 at 11:13 AM.
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    Some teams, such as India and Pakistan, are better at coping with intense heat than teams like England, and some countries, like England are better at poaching other countries talents, like South Africa
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby
    think I read that India has a Muslim population in excess of 100 million!

    There are more muslims in India than in Pakistan. Its not about that, its just the pitches. If you want to produce fast bowlers, you've got to have pitches that give them assistence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby
    Interesting stuff SJS.

    I suppose one might also consider why certain countries are better in some areas. The English production line of med/fast seamers is probably done to our dank, overcast weather & (in the days before covered pitches) our finger spinners used to make hay on sticky dogs.

    The fact that Pakistan produce so many more great quicks than India has always puzzled me too, it may be due to the greater protein the (mostly Muslim) Pakistani children have when compared to Indians, but (IIRC) I think I read that India has a Muslim population in excess of 100 million!
    Being a muslim may define your diet to some extent but it does not define your built. The big built people in India (pre partition) came from the North-west viz Punjab and the Frontier areas. The Frontier is entirely in Pakistan now and more than half of the original Punjab (the western part importantly) went to Pakistan too.

    Almost all Pakistani fast bowlers have been Punjabis or Pathans.

    The muslims in rest India are scattered all over the country and are of the same stock as others in those regions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker
    There are more muslims in India than in Pakistan. Its not about that, its just the pitches. If you want to produce fast bowlers, you've got to have pitches that give them assistence.
    Is that why they call Pakistan the graveyard of fast bowlers?

    I don't think the pitches in Pakistan and India are really that different, and I'd say they're fundamentally more similar to each other than, lets say pitches in England or Australia. With that in mind it becomes a lot harder to answer the question of why Pakistan have had so many quality pace bowlers and India has only had spinners of the same quality.

    I'd say it has a lot to do with the amount of proper (hard ball) cricket played in both countries at the lower levels. There is less opportunity for a talented youngster in Pakistan to play play proper cricket. Therefore almost all youngsters play tapeball, in which fast bowlers are king and spinners are cannon fodder. This would help explain how while pitches in India and Pakistan are both generally unresponsive to pace bowling why there has been more of an opportunity for Pakistan to produce good pace bowlers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    Unless I mention specifically or am writing in a specific thread, I almost always talk test cricket. That leaves out Kluesner.
    That's fair enough. I worked on the assumption that unless you specified one way or the other, you were talking generally.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    Whenever I set out to do any statistical comparisons, I set some limits like minimum tests or minimum runs or minimum wickets. Thus the great Proctor with a seven test career got left out.

    Similarly Barlow's 40 test wickets (in 30 tests) ruled him out.
    I think that's unduly harsh in this circumstance. Is it any fault of Barlow's and Proctor's that their Test careers were finished by politics when they were aged 29 and 23?

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steds
    That's fair enough. I worked on the assumption that unless you specified one way or the other, you were talking generally.


    I think that's unduly harsh in this circumstance. Is it any fault of Barlow's and Proctor's that their Test careers were finished by politics when they were aged 29 and 23?

    No, but it does mean that they do not have enough experience in test cricket to form an opinion. Its not their fault, but that doesn't mean anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker
    There are more muslims in India than in Pakistan. Its not about that, its just the pitches. If you want to produce fast bowlers, you've got to have pitches that give them assistence.
    I don't know about that ......it is well acknowledged by many Pakistanis that Indian pitches (domestic and international) are more conducive to quick bowling than Pakistani ones.....particularly since the BCCI relaid a number of turfs around the country in 2000.

    I don't think there's one single reason that explains why Pakistan have produced more quickies......but I do think the role model factor is a pretty significant one.

    I don't really buy the "Indians are vegetarians so they can't bowl fast" argument - because plenty of Indians are non-veg and certain sections of India, e.g Indian Punjab and Kerala, men are generally quite well built and athletic in a similar vein to pUNJAB IN PAKISTAN.

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    Hall of Fame Member steds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker
    No, but it does mean that they do not have enough experience in test cricket to form an opinion.
    He's not going off an opinion, though. He's going off numbers (which is flawed in itself).

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