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Thread: SF Barnes

  1. #316
    SJS
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    To classify bowlers as slow because the keepers stood up to them is the most ridiculous argument one has ever heard. here on CW, one has heard the running down of the old keeping greats standing up to the stumps with the argument that the latter day practice of standing back was a more sensible thing to do because there was more 'percentage' in it. On the face of it this is not a line of thinking to be brushed aside for there is some merit in it although the older wicket keepers and the bowlers they stood up to will claim there is more to standing up by way of pressure on the batsman, restricting the movements of some out of the crease as some great batsmen did even to the quicker stuff but the argument that the chances of a snick being held are greater if a keeper is standing back than on the stumps is not one that can be easily brushed away.

    So the great line of keepers who made standing up to the stumps to everyone, except the fastest, like Blackham, Oldfield and Strudwick needed to be admired for their quick reflexes for they not just brought up some great stumpings but also took snicks standing up which would be impossible without impeccable technique and awesome reflexes. However, if they had stood back, whether they would have had more or fewer victims is a point of debate.

    No one ever argued that they stood up because the bowlers were not quick enough. This one is new :o). Blackham stood up to everybowler except Earnest Jones and, on a few occasions when Spofforth specifically told him he was going to unleash some really express stuff. Otherwise he stood up to Spofforth as well. No one, ever, has claimed that Spofforth was anything but fast medium most of the time.

    Keeping and protection for keepers kept improving and greats like Oldfield and Strudwick were pastmasters at taking quick bowlers standing up. Look up the stumpings off the bowling of Kelleway (AUS - RAFM - 1 stumping), Douglas (ENG - RAFM - 2), John Ryder (AUS - RAFM - 2), Stork Hendry (AUS - RAFM - 1), Barnes (ENG - RAMF - 4), Bill Voce (ENG - LAF - 1) and Stan McCabe (AUS - RAM - 1) and you find that all barring two of these are the handiwork of Strudwick and Oldfield.

    These are not a lot of stumpings compared to the number of wickets taken by the bowlers mentioned here. About 1 in 50 of the wickets of these bowlers came from stumpings. It is not like what Oldfield managed off the leg-spinners Mailey and Grimmett for example. One fourth of all wickets these bowlers took came from stumpings. That is the figure of a leg spinner as we understand the term not a bowler who moves the ball, off the wicket from leg to off at medium fast to fast medium pace.

    The fact that there waer keepers in those times who stood up to quicker stuff is about the evolution/change in wicket keeping rather than a commentary on the speed of the bowlers. I have absolutely no doubt that, Oldfield would have insisted on standing up to someone like McGrath and who knows where his current record of 52 stumpings from 54 Test matches would have stood if he was a contemporary of our 'pigeon' !

    Let me end by quoting from the book The Rattle of the Stumps by Bert Oldfield, the last of the great keepers after which standing back to anything except the slow stuff seemed to become the norm. He writes . . .

    It has become the modern practice to stand back from the wicket when keeping to all bowlers slightly over medium pace, this enables the batsman to enjoy greater liberty in using his footwork to turn good length balls into half-volleys.

    It is the keeper's place to remain at the wicket to all types of bowling except "express" or fast bowling. It will be seen that it is far easier to take a catch standing close to the stumps as the angle of deflection increases as the ball continues on its way.


    I am quoting this not to start another argument on which keepers are better, those who stand up or those who stay back. I am mentioning this just to highlight the fact that great keepers stood up to bowlers who were just short of express pace - all the time. It is not a reflection of the speed of the bowlers but of a trend in keeping (of staying back) which was not prevalent amongst the best stumpers. Oldfield, by the way, was Bradman's contemporary. I hope we are not of the opinion that all bowlers except those who bowled after the WW II were of doubtful speeds . . .

    By the way, Spofforth's three stumped victims out of his 98 overall are a larger proportion that Barnes' 4 out of 189. I wonder if we should start catergorising the 'Demon' amongst the slow to slow medium 'spinners' as well
    Last edited by SJS; 06-02-2013 at 09:58 AM.

  2. #317
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    Exactly right SJS. You have explained in detail the point we have been trying to make in brevity. Keeping trends changed. From standing up to standing back. O'Reilly thought Bradman was instrumental in the change in practice. Otherwise we would see more stumpings off pace bowlers now and that would be a good thing.

    As I mentioned earlier there are merits to standing up. A keeper puts pressure on a batsman's footwork if he stands up. But in the end the percentages argument has been favoured so keepers stand back.

    Btw that Voce stumping came on the matting in Trinidad iirc. I've heard reports that Voce being a versatile bowler who could bowl slow spin to fast bodyline reverted to bowling cutters that match and won the game for England.

    I have my own opinion as to what is the most pathetic argument I have heard in my short time on CW. It is the idea that bowlers don't take fc matches seriously so we should ignore stumpings they achieved in those games. HOWEVER a guy larking about in a net in 1901 and bowling to a 50 year old is considered positive proof of his speed and intent! The things some people will say just to justify the paucity of their argument. It makes me laugh and shake my head.

    (Mind you I have seen keepers standing up to fast men in internationals - how would Migara rationalsie that?)
    Last edited by the big bambino; 06-02-2013 at 02:40 PM.

  3. #318
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    The Colourphonics

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  4. #319
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    And look at his physique. A man that skinny can't bowl 85mph...


  5. #320
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    I think it's fair to say that if it was considered obligatory in the modern game for keepers to routinely stand up to all bowling below 'express', then the debates about the merits of batsmen/keepers vs "pure" keepers would be very different!

  6. #321
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    Initially when keepers started standing back they were subject to criticism bordering on ridicule - 'slip fielder in gloves' is a taunt one comes across pretty often to describe these keepers. So there was a time when the shoe was well and truly on the other foot. Instead of questioning the speed of the bowler if the keeper stood up, critics questioned the merits of the keeper if he stood back
    Last edited by SJS; 06-02-2013 at 05:16 PM.

  7. #322
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    Yeah but back then they had no teeth to lose...

  8. #323
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    Yeah but back then they had no teeth to lose...

  9. #324
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    I suppose a possibly strained comparison can be made with baseball as catchers "stand up" to pitchers who routinely throw the 90mph+ speeds. Though they aren't normally expected to take the edge or have to account for the additional difficulties like stumps in the way, bounce off the ground and a batsman's fat arse. When those extra obstacles are taken into account you can understand why the preference to standing back occured.

  10. #325
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    McGrath would be the "easiest" quick in the last 30 years to keep up at the stumps to.

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    Generally those who bowl fuller and are more accurate.

  12. #327
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monk View Post
    McGrath would be the "easiest" quick in the last 30 years to keep up at the stumps to.
    The most accurate bowlers are also the easiest to keep to. So I guess a bowler like McGrath or Hadlee, except when bowling real express stuff, would be a great keeper's delight.

    A bowler like the mercurial leg-spinner Doug Wright, for example, might have been more difficult to keep to, particularly for someone not familiar to the bowler than a medium fast to fast medium accurate bowler. Also with the quicker bowlers the signaling to the keeper became much more important so that an intentional short-pitched ball, for example, would be signaled to the keeper. Of course, the same applies to keeping to spinners at times. I remember both Farroukh Engineer and Kirmani bringing off spectacular stumpings off Prasanna of deliveries intentionally bowled full pitch down the legside. to a batsman who was coming out of his crease too often.

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    I think I can recall Gilchrist keeping up to the stumps to McGrath and Gillespie at times. Generally as a deterrant to a batsman getting down the wicket or batting a fair way out of his crease. If the quick bowler is accurate enough, the skill in itself (keeping up) is not overly difficult. However, there is greater risk of personal injury to the keeper off edges, and less chance of taking edges.

    Modern keepers generally keep back because it's better percentage wise I think. Batsman nowadays use far less footwork that in days gone, and it's better to have more time to see and take an edge when standing back.

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    A keep wouldve appreciated Afridi signalling his quicker one. What a blockbuster that one was. Then he did have a "mercurial" temperament so I'm sure the keep was as surprised as the batsman many times.

    True abt Doug Wright. Paul Gibb had trouble with him. iirc I read syndicated excerpts from Alf Gover's book mentioning he had his keeper stand up after coming back from injury. It worked for him and the keeper stayed up even after Gover regained top speed. Once again he was a pace man who pitched it up.

    However he became less and less successful. Finally someone gave him the tip that batsmen don't have to worry abt his short one anymore. So back went the keeper and Gover's best years for Surrey began. So there is another reason why Keepers shouldn't necessarily make it a practice to stand up to pace men all the time. Only as a tactical play.

    Another reason I'm relating the Gover story is that I can't find an instance of him obtaining a wicket from stumping though he bowled many matches with the keeper up. So you can't ever be sure how often pace men from any era employed the tactic of having the keeper stand up just by checking his stumping stats.

  15. #330
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    Quote Originally Posted by the big bambino View Post

    Another reason I'm relating the Gover story is that I can't find an instance of him obtaining a wicket from stumping though he bowled many matches with the keeper up. So you can't ever be sure how often pace men from any era employed the tactic of having the keeper stand up just by checking his stumping stats.
    No you cant but you can find out from some autobiographies as well as pen portraits by contemporaries

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