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Thread: The Fast Bowler's fast Bowlers

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    SJS
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    The Fast Bowler's fast Bowlers

    There have been many polls and many arguments and mountains of statistics and zilions of posts them. analysing. Needless to say we haven't managed to change many of the 'tightly' held opinions. Not surprising because all of us want to believe that we know best. I have always held that the greatest difficulty a man has in admitting anything about himself, it is to say that he is not one of the world's greatest drivers. Its amazing how almost everyone thinks he is close to perfection behind the wheel. With a typical 'aquarian' curiosity I wonder why. I have a theory - its because the man is reacting to his wife constantly 'hinting' that he is close to being one of the worst

    I think opinions on cricket comes a close second to driving in this regard and maybe the corresponding theory here would replace the wife with the other posters on the CW

    Anyway, I think if we have some sense we would at least want to know what, those who really know, who have actually seen or better still played with or against the greats, have to say. It doesn't mean that all those who have so expressed their opinion will always point in one direction but it still tells us something we should, if we really loved the game for itself rather than a means to 'deflect' some light on our own 'punditry' of doubtful pedigree, be interested in knowing.

    So I am starting here a rather tedious exercise of putting to paper (or rather my desktop) views colected from my collection of books.

    Today I give you Lillee's favourite fast bowlers and his reasons for selecting them. The source is his book "Lillee : Over and Out" so what follows was, most likely, written in/ around 1983 I suppose.

    To make it more interesting I will write about them in reverse order than Lillee does in his book, starting with number ten.

    Inevitably I am asked (particularly in retirement) to nominate the greatest fast bowlers of my time. The tidiest - although not the easiest - way to is to restrict the list to a top 10. It is a nice round figure but I would have prefered to make it the top 11 to include Rodney Hogg. I have immense respect for Hogg as a bowler, a man and a mate and I know what he has been through to devote himself to his trade. But 10 it is so Rodney, unfortunately, misses out.

    I stress that the men on my list are all men whose careers have already unfolded. I have not considered those still in puberty, as it were. For this reason, Geoff Lawson does not get a guernsey. Geoff is a magnificient bowler for whom I have the highest regard but his best years are still ahead of him. If I were writing this chapter in, say, four or five years, he might well be one of the first cabs off the ranks, as might the Windies' Malcolm Marshall.

    # 10. KAPIL DEV (India)

    Kapil Dev is, like Richard Hadlee, more a swing bowler than an express man. Like Pakistan, India are renowned for their prowess in the spin department, but I am hard put to think of an Indian who was really quick. Kapil Dev is the closest to it. He has a fine variation of bowling skills, swings the ball both ways, bowls off cutters and is immaculate in his line and length.

    Kapil has a beautiful action and his performances, particularly on the unresponsive Indian wickets, speak for them selves. I consider him a worthy inclusion in the 10 best quicks of my time.


    # 9. BOB WILLIS (England)

    When Bob Willis was in Australia in Mike Brearley's hapless England team in 1979-80 he looked like a late blooming flower. Everything about him looked long and droopy. Bob toiled away under the hot Australian sun for very little reward. He took only three wickets for 224 at a miserable average of 74.66.

    Next time Willis was out here he was England's captain. The long hair had disappeared, and even though his team were thrashed and he again had a mediocre season, he showed no sign of wilting. Indeed, Bob has gone on and on as England's no. 1 strike bowler.

    Willis works with great diligence and has certainly learned the real meaning of the word "endurance". He made several comebacks on a pair of very wobbly knees and I can't recall many more dedicated fast bowlers in my generation.

    I think Willis is a bloody fine bowler too. He is very gangly and his unusual action (which for a long time reminded me of a chook running in to bowl) is hardly classical Willis is about as awkward as Holding is fluent, but he must be viewed from an effectiveness viewpoint. There the man shines.

    Willis always seemed to be the man England relied on to get the breakthroughs. So often where we had the Englishmen under the hammer, It was Willis who came along with a pocket of tricks to bail them out of trouble. He was a worker, a most willing, tireless worker. In terms of pace, I don't think Willis ever approached the likes of Roberts, Holding, Thomson and Imran, but he was very accurate. He had a fair bouncer and a reasonable yorker and while he wasn't a great in-swinger of the ball, his overall consistency gets him into my top 10.
    Last edited by SJS; 15-05-2008 at 11:23 PM.

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    SJS
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    Just to tickle the palate and to start a small debate, I am going to list the ten bowlers Lillee covers but in the alphabetical order so as not to give away the ranking.

    Those who have the book or have read it stay away from spoiling the fun

    It also allows me to post some of the resons he gives for not including some other greats before hand.

    The list in alphabetical order.

    • Dev Kapil
    • Garner Joel
    • Hadlee Richard
    • Holding Mike
    • Khan Imran
    • MbKenzie Graham
    • Roberts Andy
    • Snow John
    • Thomson Jeff
    • Willis Bob


    I...haven't mentioned Mike Proctor, Peter Pollock, Ian Botham or Malcolm Marshall. Why not? Well I didn't really see enough of Proctor and Pollock. I'm told, that Proctor, in his day, was as fast as any but by the time he played World Series Cricket, he was really only fast medium. Pollock was obviously a fast and aggresive bowler, but it would be unfair on the others to include him since I never saw enough of him. Malcolm Marshall from what people tell me could well be the bowler of the 1980's. But I am talking about men I have played with and against and on what I have seen so far.


    Its interesting to note some of Lillee's comments. He does not want to comment on people he hasn't seen or "not seen enough of" or did not "play with or against". Clearly he listens to "from what people tell me" or from what "I'm told". Obviously those who have told him about Proctor (the bowler he was) or Marshall (the bowler he was likely to become) were people who had seen these greats or maybe even played with or against them. He values there comments and therefore mentions that. He still prefers to list those he saw more of, played with or against in order not to be "unfair on the others".

    A lesson there for most of us??

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    Obviously those who have told him about Proctor (the bowler he was) or Marshall (the bowler he was likely to become) were people who had seen these greats or maybe even played with or against them. He values there comments and therefore mentions that. He still prefers to list those he saw more of, played with or against in order not to be "unfair on the others".

    A lesson there for most of us??
    Maybe there is. Though TBH, having a 1 man committee has all the bias that 1 man brings to the table and no checks and balances. People that played with and against a guy like Procter as well as the guys Lillee lists are still primary evidence and should be considered.

    Personal testimony of the people that played against cerrtain players should always be considered (though how much can be debated). In the hierarchy of evidence its far ahead of "flowery" accounts written well after the event and raw stats.

    It is interesting to see what Lillee thinks of each though

    EDIT- Just reread this post. Very dull stuff from me. Anyway, just saying that primary evidence from others still has a lot of merit when considering a player rather than just your own.
    Last edited by Goughy; 16-05-2008 at 08:26 AM.
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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    [/COLOR][/FONT]
    # 10. KAPIL DEV (India)
    [/INDENT]
    Never knew that Kapil had such a dynamic action, ITBT.
    The speed at which a fielding team gets through the innings is overrated.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    Maybe there is. Though TBH, having a 1 man committee has all the bias that 1 man brings to the table and no checks and balances. People that played with and against a guy like Procter as well as the guys Lillee lists are still primary evidence and should be considered.

    Personal testimony of the people that played against cerrtain players should always be considered (though how much can be debated). In the hierarchy of evidence its far ahead of "flowery" accounts written well after the event and raw stats.

    It is interesting to see what Lillee thinks of each though

    EDIT- Just reread this post. Very dull stuff from me. Anyway, just saying that primary evidence from others still has a lot of merit when considering a player rather than just your own.
    When I started this thread and with Lillee's top ten, my contention never was that Lillee's list has to be accepted as gospel. Even I disagree with some of the order in that list but I dont for a second try to claim that for some reason I know better. Its just his opinion the least which can do is to respect it since it comes from one who is surely one of the great fast bowlers of all time.

    I may have a very high opinion of my own cricketing knowledge but my credentials are sooo modest by comparison.

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    ret
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    • Dev Kapil
    • Garner Joel
    • Hadlee Richard
    • Holding Mike
    • Khan Imran
    • MbKenzie Graham
    • Roberts Andy
    • Snow John
    • Thomson Jeff
    • Willis Bob
    I haven't seen many of those like Snow, MbKenzie, Thomson, Willis, Roberts, Holding, Garner, bowl except may be on highlights where everything looks good but let me give it a shot

    10. Kapil
    9. Willis
    8. Snow [?]
    7. MbKenzie [?]
    6. Imran
    5. Thompson
    4. Roberts
    3. Garner
    2. Holding
    1. Hadlee

    PS give me a score out of 10, i.e. how many rights did i get
    Last edited by ret; 16-05-2008 at 09:24 AM.
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    7. JOEL GARNER


    Joel Garner, a friendly, amiable, fun loving chap off the field, bowls cricket balls as if he was two-faced. "Big Bird", is another of the West Indian players who is universally liked by his opponents - and hated with equal intensity because of his ability to make life damned miserable for the best batsmen in the world.

    Garner is unlike any other bowler I have experienced. For one thing, he is taller - much taller. He is also more menacing and more relentless. Garner bowls fewer bad balls than any other paceman in world cricket today. He is the master of the yorker. His great height gives him an advantage that he exploits withflair. Garner seems to be breathing down your neck even as he starts his run and when he reaches the bowling crease, 22 yards seems more like a dozen.

    What I admired most - and still do - about Garner is that he has been a bowler for all occasions. In the one-day match he delivers the goods with as much accuracy and result as he does in a Test match. That is because he adheres so strictly to the basic principles of fast bowling - he respects line and length and he bowls to his field.

    The fact that he has great strength and an unflappable temperament, are bonus attributes. His job is to take wickets and Clive Lloyd, his captain, has great cause for gratitude in having been able to call so frequently and so fruitfully on his talents.

    Garner hails from Barbados - an island with a great tradition for fast bowling. He has had to contend with much fast bowling opposition within his own teams. He has not always been given the new ball but he has always taken wickets, whether they are high or low in the order.

    Had bowlers like Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Colin Croft never been on the scene, Garner's opportunities would have multiplied and likewise, I am positive, his results. Still he has a wonderful record and a lot of top cricket ahead of him. He also speaks so fast that it is often hard to discern what he says - in fact, almost as difficult as it is to pick up his great yorker.
    Last edited by SJS; 17-05-2008 at 12:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ret View Post
    I haven't seen many of those like Snow, MbKenzie, Thomson, Willis, Roberts, Holding, Garner, bowl except may be on highlights where everything looks good but let me give it a shot

    10. Kapil
    9. Willis
    8. Snow [?]
    7. MbKenzie [?]
    6. Imran
    5. Thompson
    4. Roberts
    3. Garner
    2. Holding
    1. Hadlee

    PS give me a score out of 10, i.e. how many rights did i get
    Well I cant give you out of ten since 9 and 10 were known

    Your result is out as of now for McKenzie and Garner, you are off by 1 place for McKenzie which is not bad at all and by 4 places for Garner which is not so good.

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    ret
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    Well I cant give you out of ten since 9 and 10 were known
    ah ha, so you are taking away my right to get at least 2 right

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    International Debutant aussie tragic's Avatar
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    It should be top 11 of course as DK is Number 1......who else would ever need 9 slips
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    I think it will be Micheal Holding in number 1 .Those who saw him cannot rate him any thing below than that .

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    Quote Originally Posted by aussie tragic View Post
    It should be top 11 of course as DK is Number 1......who else would ever need 9 slips
    Quote Originally Posted by KungFu_Kallis View Post
    Peter Siddle top scores in both innings....... Matthew Wade gets out twice in one ball
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussie tragic View Post
    It should be top 11 of course as DK is Number 1......who else would ever need 9 slips
    Lillee and Fleming are I think the only bowlers to have been photographed bowling to such fields.
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    Quote Originally Posted by funnygirl View Post
    I think it will be Micheal Holding in number 1 .Those who saw him cannot rate him any thing below than that .
    Hadlee > Holding. Pretty irrefutable.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure that I know the psyche of a fast bowler. I reckon that Lillee would have gone for...

    10. Kapil
    9. Willis
    8. MbKenzie
    7. Garner
    6. Imran
    5. Snow
    4. Thompson
    3. Hadlee
    2. Roberts
    1. Holding

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