Who do you think it was?
Who do you think it was?
Ambrose, Akram, McGrath in that order for me.
Ambrose just ahead of McGrath for me. Ambrose was tigher as an economy rate of 2.3 against 2.5 of McGrath shows. However, although they had overlapping careers, McGrath bowled in a far more aggressive age in terms of batting than Ambrose. On the other hand, McGrath had the advantage of bowling in a better team compared to Ambrose.
Initial cut down results in these names (ask me to elaborate on any on the omissions, if you wish to know)...
McGrath - terrifyingly accurate + success in modern era
Ambrose - terrifyingly accurate + superior record to Mcgrath
Akram - worldwide success, superb skill
Donald - superb all round package, most astounding period of sustained form
Younis - best strike rate of a bowler with over 200 Test wickets
You know what, I cannot cut it down from that list, sorry for the cop out, but I think it is an injustice to separate between the bowlers (at least, I do now).
BTW, Donald for me, obvs.
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It comes down to a question of what part of fast bowling does one rate the most important. Is it the accuracy, the skill or the striking ability or a mixture of two or more of the three. If I were to go into more detail, I do suspect that Ambrose may not have had success on the flat pitches of the modern era. I have no doubt that he'd have been economical, but would he have struck at under 60, I'm not too sure. I have always had a soft spot for Mcgrath as 'the best' though it is hard to qualify such a judgement with statistics - the fact is that he got the best batsmen out with regularity and displayed genuine skill with seam movement and swing, later on in his career. Waqar is a statistical anomaly, some might say, for the superb strike rate but I guess he showed the value of quick yorkers in Test cricket (where has that gone, btw?) but I simply don't rate him too highly because of the extremely high economy rate and weakness in Australia. Akram was 'that good' but didn't statistically dominate as my the rest did.
I'm calling a tie between Donald and Mcgrath, as slightly less of a cop out than before.
Incidentally, might rank 'em something like...
1 Waqar Younis circa 1990/91-1994/95
3 Ambrose = McGrath
4 Pollock circa 1995/96-2001
6 Wasim Akram
9 PS de Villiers
Waqar Younis circa 1995/96-2000/01
Flintoff circa 2003/04-onwards
Pollock circa 2001/02-2007/08
Steyn (barely been in the game 5 minutes, so doesn't have a remotely full rating yet)
Harmison (presume he's the irrelevant option)
BTW, Gough and several others > Hoggard
Can't believe I forgot Gough. I just wrote Harmison as I couldn't think of any other name and knew it would get a comment from you at least.
Last edited by Pratters; 06-03-2009 at 03:33 PM.
I'd not argue that Ambrose over his career probably was a team-mate to more poor-quality bowling than McGrath was - just pointing-out that Ambrose had quality fellows for a fair amount of his career as well.
You write a lot of stimulating stuff Richard but just occasionally your statistical theories descend into the realms of the plain barmy.
However, against the vastly superior batting of the Indians and Pakistanis (in the Caribbean, no less), Ambrose came-up short. This makes me think it was England and Australia's inadequacies more than Ambrose bowling especially well.
As I say though - I straightaway say this is no more than a presumption. If someone who saw Ambrose in those two series' would convey that he was outstanding with ball in them, I'd quite happily revise.
One thing's for certain - England were a worthy opposition in 1990 and Ambrose was outstanding. As of 1990, he had irrefutably arrived.
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