I don't mind coughing to the odd typo Mr Z - after all you don't get banned for it .......... do you?
Appreciating cricket's greatest legend ever - HD Bird...............Funniest post (intentionally) ever.....Runner-up.....Third.....Fourthcricket player"; "Bob"), 1/11/1990-15/4/2006
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Perhaps he just ignored any cricketer who played in WSC.
Bradman also went to great pains to explain that Gilbert's over that dismissed him was as fast as, or faster than, anything he ever faced - but also that Gilbert's fitness, temperament and consistency meant he couldn't ever be considered one of the fastest ever over an extended period of time.
The crazy thing about Sir Don's XI is that he said the presence of Sobers - and his subsequent versatility with the ball - was the key, as it allowed him to play five bowlers. I would think completely the opposite, particularly if you've got a bloke averaging 19 coming in at four wickets down to face history's finest. If Sobers' versatility means he can act as the fifth bowler and that one of the other bowlers (probably Grimmett or Bedser) can be dropped to get 12th Man Hammond into the side, then you have this team:
Notwithstanding the baffling absence of Hobbs (particularly at the expense of an admittedly brilliant batsman who played in all of four Tests), I think even that one change of Hammond for a bowler makes Bradman's side considerably stronger.
The problem with Roland Perry is that he's simply not very good. He clearly likes cricket and enjoys his subject matter, but so do the rest of us and we're not getting paid for it. As a writer he is no better than moderate, as an analyst of the game he is limited. Worst of all, however, is that he is sycophantic to the point of inducing nausea. There doesn't seem to be a critical writing bone in his body, even when there should be and even when, more to the point, the story is enhanced by applying a critical eye. His books invariably seem to be less of a detailed study of the game and its players and more a fawning PR exercise for whoever he is making money from at the time.
Still, his books sell by the truckload and he gets commissioned to write more. Total books commissioned, written and published by The Sean - nil. So what do I know?
Likewise, Holding has always said (as have those who faced him) that he was merely "fast" after his injury in '77, having been probably as quick as anything except Tyson for the couple of years before it. Ditto, of course, Thomson after his own injury in '76/77.
Almost all of those who have pushed speed to the very boundaries of plausibility have been able to do it only for a few years, at best. Shoaib Akhtar and Shaun Tait's injury problems illustrate this perfectly.
I think what Bradman was getting at was that it was difficult for Gilbert to maintain that kind of speed for any more than a few overs at a time, let alone a few seasons.
And I think dear Mr Boycott would argue that Holding was still as fast as ever in 1981...
As good as ever, beyond all question.
As fast as ever? Well, we won't ever really know. For starters, Boycs was absent as Holding was running amok in '76.
Peter Willey would perhaps be a better man to consult on Holding's relative speed, but as I say - he himself has always maintained he lost the ability to bowl fast beyond fast after that injury he suffered which allowed Garner in in '77.
That's interesting Rich, I didn't realise Holding had said that - I'd always been under the impression that his pace in the early 80s was a blistering as ever. Would be good to get some accounts from the likes of Willey, as you say.
There's a really good mini-biography of him on CricInfo somewhere as well... well, available on CricInfo... and I think there might be some mention of his speeds in that.
Certainly makes it plain that his Test career should've started and finished at home in, respectably, '76 and '86. Had it done so, well... look at the averages yourself, if you don't know 'em already. Amazing how much of a difference that series in Australia and that one-off Test in New Zealand makes.
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