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Thread: World's Greatest Pace Bowler/Seamer (in Tests)

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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    World's Greatest Pace Bowler/Seamer (in Tests)

    I was just reading the ICC Test rankings thread, and a thought crossed my mind. McGrath's retirement from Tests means there is now open debate as to who the greatest seamer in the world is. Apologies if it's been done and I've missed it, I've not been around a whole lot in recent days, but nonetheless, I thought it could be a good discussion...

    The cards I would like to lay on the table are as such:

    On current form, Stuart Clark is the best pace bowler to have in your side
    Ntini had a great year, but is he worthy of being ranked the world's best fast bowler?
    On his day, is there a better fast bowler than Flintoff?
    Could Shane Bond and Simon Jones lay claims to the #1 spot if they weren't both crocks?
    What about Matthew Hoggard, he must be there or thereabouts?

    So...discuss....
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Clark, or Pollock if he can maintain his form.
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    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    No way could you call Simon Jones. He's not even top 5, still got a lot to do.

    I'd go for Flintoff when fully fit. Asif still has some way to go but I won't be surprised if he gets there (I'm sure its in my prediction thread that he's top 3 by end of 2007 or something). Can't go Shoaib either due to inconsistency and God knows what else is going on with him. Clark needs to perform on the sub-continent and probably have a couple more good series but he's pushing.

    Yeah probably Freddy with Ntini and Pollock running him close. There's no stand out though IMO.
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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    Apologies for missing Pollock, Akhtar and Asif out.


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    Close call. The Flintoff of 2005 would have walked it, but not on current form. If Clark can do as well in the sub-continent as he has at home or in SA he'd be a contender, as would Bond or SJ if they could ever stay fit. Ntini - hmmm, doesn't do enough in the subcontinent. I'd go for the nearest thing to McGrath - Pollock.
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    Hall of Fame Member TT Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    I was just reading the ICC Test rankings thread, and a thought crossed my mind. McGrath's retirement from Tests means there is now open debate as to who the greatest seamer in the world is. Apologies if it's been done and I've missed it, I've not been around a whole lot in recent days, but nonetheless, I thought it could be a good discussion...

    The cards I would like to lay on the table are as such:

    On current form, Stuart Clark is the best pace bowler to have in your side
    Ntini had a great year, but is he worthy of being ranked the world's best fast bowler?
    On his day, is there a better fast bowler than Flintoff?
    Could Shane Bond and Simon Jones lay claims to the #1 spot if they weren't both crocks?
    What about Matthew Hoggard, he must be there or thereabouts?

    So...discuss....
    Akhtar?

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    Hall of Fame Member FaaipDeOiad's Avatar
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    It's Ntini pretty comfortably at the moment, for mine. Over the last few years his average has been low 20s and he's been a much more consistent bowler than he was earlier in his career, particularly on flatter wickets and overseas. He's still far from a complete bowler and hasn't done it in a number of parts of the world, and he's the sort of guy who'd thrive a lot more if he didn't have to lead the attack, but he's very good nonetheless and ahead of guys like Clark just now, who has after all only played two complete series.

    After Ntini, you've got a couple of unproven guys like Asif and Clark who look very good for the next couple of years ahead, as does Jones if he can ever get himself fit. Bond's probably missed his moment, but there's still a couple of years where he could make a mark if he stays fit and New Zealand actually play test cricket. Flintoff hasn't really been consistent enough, though he is obviously a fine bowler, and isn't quite a leader of attacks IMO. Only two five wicket hauls in over 60 test matches, and I'd rate him the level below the best.

    Hoggard's a good bowler but not a great one and is in the next rung down IMO, along with Pollock of the current era, Flintoff, and perhaps Shoaib if he ever gets himself together again at test level. Lee could possibly be in this group as well based on his post-2005 bowling, but there's still enough question marks over him to have him behind. Harmison when he gets a good wicket would be in this group too, but he's far too inconsistent to even rate as a good test bowler right now. Nel could be here too, but isn't proven yet either. Same with Sreesanth, perhaps.

    That's probably the complete list of all the good fast bowlers in test cricket right now. There's a couple of fringe names that haven't really done enough yet like Franklin, Gul and Taylor too. Not quite as exciting as Asif or Clark, but could yet be good bowlers.
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TT Boy View Post
    Akhtar?
    Well, if you're speaking of players at their absolute best, then Bond, Akhtar, Pollock, Ntini, Clark would all be better than Freddie.

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    Hall of Fame Member TT Boy's Avatar
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    Ntini showed at Cape Town that his pretty much a one note bowler, a very good one note bowler but his lack of potency on flat, slow wickets has been more than evident over the years. Flintoff on the other hand is a man of all seasons but considering the amount of ten penny worth’s Makhaya has got and the fact that he can blow sides away, I’ll rate him higher than Fred. Though both players have completely different jobs for their sides and such a comparison is not particularly fair.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    Apologies for missing Pollock, Akhtar and Asif out.
    I don't really think Pollock has done enough in the last 4 years to be counted as top-echleon. This was never better illustrated than in the New Zealand series last April and May - he took reasonable figures on the seam-friendly pitches of the First and Third Tests, whereas in 2000\01 he'd probably have taken 11 or 12 for not-much.

    And Akhtar hasn't played enough, in common with Bond, has been injured too much.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    No way could you call Simon Jones. He's not even top 5, still got a lot to do.
    Because Jones was so superb in the first-innings' at Old Trafford and Trent Bridge 2 summers ago, it's easy to forget how little he's done aside from that.

    But if he could repeat those 2 innings regularly... Waqar of 1989-1994 repeat?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    I was just reading the ICC Test rankings thread, and a thought crossed my mind. McGrath's retirement from Tests means there is now open debate as to who the greatest seamer in the world is. Apologies if it's been done and I've missed it, I've not been around a whole lot in recent days, but nonetheless, I thought it could be a good discussion...

    The cards I would like to lay on the table are as such:

    On current form, Stuart Clark is the best pace bowler to have in your side
    Ntini had a great year, but is he worthy of being ranked the world's best fast bowler?
    On his day, is there a better fast bowler than Flintoff?
    Could Shane Bond and Simon Jones lay claims to the #1 spot if they weren't both crocks?
    What about Matthew Hoggard, he must be there or thereabouts?

    So...discuss....
    I've thought for a little while that Stuart Clark and Mohammad Asif could go to the top of the tree, but, well, things don't often work-out quite how we'd thought.

    I don't think it's possible at the moment to say unequivocally that one bowler is the best - you can just say that there are a group who are up there with each other - a la the best-of-the-modern-era discussion where you can say the same thing about Marshall-Hadlee-Imran.

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    Cricketer Of The Year The Sean's Avatar
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    My vote would go to Ntini right now - his form over the past couple of years has been very good indeed, and while he doesn't touch the greatness of Pidge or the Shaun Pollock of 5 years ago, he's closing on 300 Test wickets with an excellent strike rate and a respectably good average, given the roads that constitute Test match pitches more often than not these days.

    Sarfraz has shown enough promise to make me think that he could develop into a seamer of the very highest quality if he keeps something close to his current form, and the continuing development of Asif and Sreesanth will be interesting, though none of them can yet point to a catalogue of achievement that would rank them no.1. Further, the likes of Bond and Jones can only really be judged from a consistent run of games over a period of time. Freddie is an absolute warrior, but it remains to be seen whether he can become the force he was in 2005 after his injuries.

    For all this though and with respect to the pacemen we are discussing here, the point that absolutely leaps out is the overall decline in quality worldwide. It's less than a decade ago that a similar discussion would have included Ambrose, Walsh, Donald, Wasim, Waqar and McGrath - six men who can lay legitimate and justified claims to all-time greatness. With the retirement of Pidge, and the decline (albeit slightly reversed in the recent India series) of Pollock, the number of current pacement who can lay the same claim stands at zero.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Samuel_Vimes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Sean View Post
    Sarfraz has shown enough promise to make me think that he could develop into a seamer of the very highest quality
    Nah. 177 wickets @ 32.75 isn't really what I'm looking for in a 58-year-old.
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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FaaipDeOiad View Post
    It's Ntini pretty comfortably at the moment, for mine. Over the last few years his average has been low 20s and he's been a much more consistent bowler than he was earlier in his career, particularly on flatter wickets and overseas. He's still far from a complete bowler and hasn't done it in a number of parts of the world, and he's the sort of guy who'd thrive a lot more if he didn't have to lead the attack, but he's very good nonetheless and ahead of guys like Clark just now, who has after all only played two complete series.

    After Ntini, you've got a couple of unproven guys like Asif and Clark who look very good for the next couple of years ahead, as does Jones if he can ever get himself fit. Bond's probably missed his moment, but there's still a couple of years where he could make a mark if he stays fit and New Zealand actually play test cricket. Flintoff hasn't really been consistent enough, though he is obviously a fine bowler, and isn't quite a leader of attacks IMO. Only two five wicket hauls in over 60 test matches, and I'd rate him the level below the best.

    Hoggard's a good bowler but not a great one and is in the next rung down IMO, along with Pollock of the current era, Flintoff, and perhaps Shoaib if he ever gets himself together again at test level. Lee could possibly be in this group as well based on his post-2005 bowling, but there's still enough question marks over him to have him behind. Harmison when he gets a good wicket would be in this group too, but he's far too inconsistent to even rate as a good test bowler right now. Nel could be here too, but isn't proven yet either. Same with Sreesanth, perhaps.

    That's probably the complete list of all the good fast bowlers in test cricket right now. There's a couple of fringe names that haven't really done enough yet like Franklin, Gul and Taylor too. Not quite as exciting as Asif or Clark, but could yet be good bowlers.
    Close to my own opinions.

    Ntini - Proven but with weaknesses

    He sneaks # 1 over the following guys

    Pollock - Quality but on the decline and whilst still a fine player lacks the penetration of his prime

    Shoaib and Bond are certainly the most exciting but its hard to ever see them on a cricket field and its hard to help your team from the physio table.

    Flintoff may be the most dangerous but doesnt take the weight of wickets needed to be top class. Injury free seasons may change this

    Hoggard is nothing but consistent and world class when conditions suit. His improvement over the last few years is being able to make contributions when the conditions do not favour.

    Lee will probably make small contibutions regularly but never really break out to be the star bowler a lot of use though he would be.

    GBH needs a brain transplant and an exercise in mental toughness. A true fair weather cricketer. No other bowler has such a wide range of capabilities.

    Asif and Clark are the new guys that will eventually take over if their careers continue
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