View Poll Results: Can you compare champions from different eras?

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  • Yes - A champion would be a champion in any era

    23 74.19%
  • No - the standard of play has improved and old-time champions would struggle

    8 25.81%
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Thread: Comparing Champions Across Eras

  1. #1
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Comparing Champions Across Eras

    We've done this debate piecemeal in a few different threads, but there appears to be two distinct schools of thought on this subject:
    1) that the qualities that make a player a champion in one era would allow them to adapt and be champions in any era, or
    2) champions of the past were non-professionals competing against opposition drawn from smaller talent pools and would be smashed by today's players

    Interested to know what people think? I've included a poll so we can get an indicative idea of how popular each view is.

    For me its definitely the first idea - that a champion would adapt themselves. I think what makes a champion is their innate physical talent (which training can improve but not substitute), their mental discipline, and ability to sum up conditions, games, and opponents. I reckon these things are timeless, so if you plucked WG Grace into the 21st century, after giving him maybe a season to adjust, he'd be a worldbeater again. Alternatively, if you send Curtley Ambrose back to the 19th century (assuming he would be allowed to play given the racially exclusionary views that existed in some quarters at the time), he would also be a dominant bowler.
    Last edited by Matt79; 20-11-2006 at 02:38 PM.
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  2. #2
    International Coach adharcric's Avatar
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    IMO it's somewhere in between the two extremes. Champions of the past would be able to adjust to cricket in a later era, but they might not dominate in the same fashion. You have to go by reputations and not just statistics for players from the early days. Of course, there are legends such as Bradman who would still average 70 or 80 even if you put him in a later era and he had trouble dominating in the same fashion. I'd take that.

    I have a tough time rating somebody like W.G. Grace because I really don't know much about the quality of bowling he faced.
    Last edited by adharcric; 20-11-2006 at 08:34 PM.

  3. #3
    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    I'd go with the first idea, really don't see why champions teams or players of the past won't be able to perform in modern times.

  4. #4
    International Coach adharcric's Avatar
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    Let's see. There are so many champions in first-class cricket who either failed at the highest level or did not get a chance to succeed at the highest level.

    If these champions in one arena did not go on to become champions in another arena, how can you make such an assumption for the likes of W.G. Grace?
    Can you really assume that they would do well in a different era with different competition? Give me a good argument please.
    Last edited by adharcric; 20-11-2006 at 02:56 PM.


  5. #5
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79
    Alternatively, if you send Curtley Ambrose back to the 19th century (assuming he would be allowed to play given the racially exclusionary views that existed in some quarters at the time), he would also be a dominant bowler.
    Im more towards the first option.

    Regarding Ambrose, I see no real reason why he could not play. There were a number of Black British sailors that played some cricket and in 1860 an Aboriginal team toured England.

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  6. #6
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    International Coach social's Avatar
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    Modern game, say 70s onward, is so different to pre-war stuff that the latter might have well been a different sport.

    Take Bradman as an example.

    99.99% of people would say that he was the greatest batsman ever.

    He compared his own technique to Tendulkar's.

    Check the films - he had a horrible, cross batted technique and the "pace" bowlers were no more than medium pace hacks (w/k generally stood back 5/10 metres at most, i.e. they werent quick)

    Until the 70s, it was also considered unseemly to dive in the field.

    Added to the fact that players are now full-time professionals and the game has a world-wide reach and I think it is a massive stretch to say that a Sid Barnes or W G Grace would be a champion today

  8. #8
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by social
    Modern game, say 70s onward, is so different to pre-war stuff that the latter might have well been a different sport.

    Take Bradman as an example.

    99.99% of people would say that he was the greatest batsman ever.

    He compared his own technique to Tendulkar's.

    Check the films - he had a horrible, cross batted technique and the "pace" bowlers were no more than medium pace hacks (w/k generally stood back 5/10 metres at most, i.e. they werent quick)

    Until the 70s, it was also considered unseemly to dive in the field.

    Added to the fact that players are now full-time professionals and the game has a world-wide reach and I think it is a massive stretch to say that a Sid Barnes or W G Grace would be a champion today
    I pretty much agree, but I would like to find that .01% of people and bitch slap them.

  9. #9
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Perm's Avatar
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    Amen silentstriker. With the advent of all this technology and new training it would be almost impossible for these guys to be as dominant now as they were back then, they would be incredibly talented no doubt but they would have to severly adapt just to come up to the same strength conditioning as the current players.
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    Hall of Fame Member chaminda_00's Avatar
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    Harwood was as fast as most bowlers these days. Granted that a lot of bowlers back in Bradman time, were generally quite slow, there was always the handful that were quite fast.

    But i do find it hard to judge guys like Rhodes, Barnes, Turner and WG Grace, especially bowlers who didn't bowl at the same pace as someone like Harwood, Lindwall and Miller. Also i don't any greats from the 50s on wards, wouldn't have been greats now.

    Also just beacause they didn't have colour TV and had part-time or full time jobs, doesn't mean a player didn't train as hard as current players. They were as much full time cricketers as current players, the only real difference is instead of playing golf or getting drunk, they trained, when they didn't have to work.
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  11. #11
    Hall of Fame Member Johnners's Avatar
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    I'm firmly of the belief that a Champion would be a champion in any era. Champions are those who have risen above and beyond their peers, and who have excelled in their chosen era. No matter how much we compare techniques, pitch conditions, the weight of bats etc. we will never be able to successfully gauge how successful any player would've gone in another era.

    We can only judge them on what they HAVE done, and if they're considered a champion because they've risen above the challenges set before them. It's because of this that i believe the champion players deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt, that they WOULD indeed be a champion in any era.
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  12. #12
    International Coach adharcric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clapo
    I'm firmly of the belief that a Champion would be a champion in any era. Champions are those who have risen above and beyond their peers, and who have excelled in their chosen era. No matter how much we compare techniques, pitch conditions, the weight of bats etc. we will never be able to successfully gauge how successful any player would've gone in another era.

    We can only judge them on what they HAVE done, and if they're considered a champion because they've risen above the challenges set before them. It's because of this that i believe the champion players deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt, that they WOULD indeed be a champion in any era.
    Going by this philosophy, I'm guessing you would rate Vijay Merchant very highly?
    He was a champion at the only level he had the opportunity to play at (first-class, in India and England) so would he be a champion in test cricket as well? Barry Richards?
    While we're not questioning how these two would have done in a different era, it's essentially the same question of how they would have adapted to tougher competition.

  13. #13
    International Vice-Captain Dasa's Avatar
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    I think if you transplanted 'great' players of yesteryear as they were playing and asked them to take on current players, they would struggle a lot IMO. However, if you assume that the 'greats' of the past are brought up and learn their game in the current era, it's possible they could be as great - but it's all speculation as so many factors play a part in determining what a player does.

  14. #14
    International Regular oz_fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79
    For me its definitely the first idea - that a champion would adapt themselves. I think what makes a champion is their innate physical talent (which training can improve but not substitute), their mental discipline, and ability to sum up conditions, games, and opponents. I reckon these things are timeless, so if you plucked WG Grace into the 21st century, after giving him maybe a season to adjust, he'd be a worldbeater again. Alternatively, if you send Curtley Ambrose back to the 19th century (assuming he would be allowed to play given the racially exclusionary views that existed in some quarters at the time), he would also be a dominant bowler.
    I completely agree. As long as the player has the natural ability that made him a champion then he could be dominant in any era.
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  15. #15
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaminda_00
    Harwood was as fast as most bowlers these days. Granted that a lot of bowlers back in Bradman time, were generally quite slow, there was always the handful that were quite fast.

    But i do find it hard to judge guys like Rhodes, Barnes, Turner and WG Grace, especially bowlers who didn't bowl at the same pace as someone like Harwood, Lindwall and Miller. Also i don't any greats from the 50s on wards, wouldn't have been greats now.

    Also just beacause they didn't have colour TV and had part-time or full time jobs, doesn't mean a player didn't train as hard as current players. They were as much full time cricketers as current players, the only real difference is instead of playing golf or getting drunk, they trained, when they didn't have to work.
    haha - you mean Larwood yep, or is the Bushrangers Harwood older than I thought?

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