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Thread: Windies pace quartets overrated?

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    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Windies pace quartets overrated?

    Just a question - do we adopt an element of rose-tinted nostalgia about just how good the West Indies pace quartets were? Before you go for the lynching rope and acuse me of being an ignorant idiot, let me say that I'd think they would clearly be some of the, if not THE, best bowling attacks in the history of the game. I truly get that they were a collection of genuinely brillant bowlers who had success around the world. I rate Marshall as the best seamer of all time, Ambrose within the top 5-6, and guys like Garner, Holding, Roberts and even Walsh, as in the very upper echelon.

    My question is directed to the attitude that they were so very clearly superior to every other bowling attack, or that they would automatically decimate any opposition from any other era, or that we have never seen their like since.

    Now, I admit I probably need to do a fair bit of careful research to answer my own question, which I'll be doing over the next little while, but it occurs to me that perhaps there's room to acknowledge that they weren't actually 10ft tall supermen (well, Garner was almost 10ft tall) who played a different game to the rest of cricket history. They were a few supremely talented bowlers supported with some excellent support, who had a sustained and brillant period of success.

    But they can't have been perfect. Occasionally batsmen did manage to withstand them. The Windies did loss some (not many I am very aware) matches. The attack did lack variety compared to attacks that have a world class spinner - often that didn't prove to be a problem, but it's a valid question mark. They played in an era where a more relaxed attitude to over rates existed, and when there weren't the restrictions on bouncers that now exist. Helmets were a relatively new phenomenom, and didn't offer the batsman the level of protection that now is offered (ie. face grilles ffs!).

    In the modern game, the number of bowlers who have managed to average in the low 20s has markedly declined, and just as we often suggest modern batsmens' average would worsen were they teleported back to 1982 to face the fury of the full-blown Windies' quartet, I think its reasonable to suggest that some of those bowlers average might have crept up a few runs if they had had to bowl on the kind of pitch that has been common place in the last 10 years, to batsmen in modern helmets, with modern bats.

    Hell, I might be wrong, but just a question that I thought would generate some interesting discussion.
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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    I don't know what sammy2 looks like, but god would I love to see his face when he sees the thread title.

    In answer to the fundamental question, I don't really have much to contribute but I reckon this thread could be very interesting. Either that or it will become a stats war. Watch this space.
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Well, if you disagree they were the best attack (or might not have been), which do you think was better or gives them a run for their money? And which Windies quartet are you talking about?
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    This thread just looks like fishing for a stupid argument.


    Personally I don't think they are overrated. Genuine quicks (e.g. Marshall) are the only bowlers to ever be successful on all surfaces, the Windies are the only team to ever have 4 good ones at once, the results they produced pretty much support the argument that they weren't overrated.


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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Well, if you disagree they were the best attack (or might not have been), which do you think was better or gives them a run for their money? And which Windies quartet are you talking about?
    The title says 'quartets'

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    RTDAS pasag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oitoitoi View Post
    This thread just looks like fishing for a stupid argument.
    Hardly. It looks like a poster trying to challenge past assumptions and stimulate debate.
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    Hall of Fame Member chaminda_00's Avatar
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    West Indies batting line ups carried their pace attack at times. The thing with their quicks how often where they truelly at full potential. More often then not they had one quick that was below the top standard. Is there a better bowling attack? For Australia's one of 1990s and 2000s were better due to variety and Warne factor. But like the Windies attack, more often then not they had one bowler below the top standard at that time in their careers.
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    I don't think they were overrated....

    I think the pace attacks of the 1980s were among the best ever.

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    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Please note guys, already two people have questioned who I think was better. That's not my question. I'm quite open to them being the best attack ever, and if they aren't they're right up there.

    What I'm questioning is what I think is sometimes the assumption/conviction that amongst the bowling attacks in history, there are the Windies quartets, then a huge amount of daylight, then the rest - that they were so much better than anything else there's ever been. Or from another angle, that they were so good that it was impossible to succeed against them (a slightly different question again, but goes to the same issue).

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    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oitoitoi View Post
    This thread just looks like fishing for a stupid argument.


    Personally I don't think they are overrated. Genuine quicks (e.g. Marshall) are the only bowlers to ever be successful on all surfaces, the Windies are the only team to ever have 4 good ones at once, the results they produced pretty much support the argument that they weren't overrated.
    What does a "genuine" quick mean? Very special quick bowlers have been the successful on all surfaces. But to say someone is genuinely quick seems to be talking about their pace, and a bowler's pace certainly doesn't mean they'll be successful everywhere - witness Brett Lee.

    And some spinners have been successful on all sorts of surfaces. Murali is one who immediately comes to mind.

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    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79 View Post
    Please note guys, already two people have questioned who I think was better. That's not my question. I'm quite open to them being the best attack ever, and if they aren't they're right up there.

    What I'm questioning is what I think is sometimes the assumption/conviction that amongst the bowling attacks in history, there are the Windies quartets, then a huge amount of daylight, then the rest - that they were so much better than anything else there's ever been. Or from another angle, that they were so good that it was impossible to succeed against them (a slightly different question again, but goes to the same issue).
    Well over the 19 years of world domination. I'd say there at times is a bit of rose tinted nostagia, because not every 4-prong attack over that period of time was totally superb or better than any other attack in the game's history.

    Based on my knowledge i'd say from 1976 to about 1986 the superb quartets played together. But after 86-95 the standard dropped off slightly but it was still solid.

    So overall at their peak yea, they where definately the best & the most intimidating given that they had 4. The Lindwall/Miller, England of the 1950s, Lillee/Thompson, potential SA attack of the apartheid era, Australia of late. Just fall short.

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    I dont think the WI attack is overated maybe by some posters ( I wont call ne names but they know who they are) but for me i do hold them in the highest of esteems. For me the ultimate attack would be either the one that raped Australia 2 nil in the 79-80 series (Croft, Roberts, Holding, Garner) or the one that beat India at home in 1983 (Marshall, Holding, Garner, Roberts). Obviiously all the said bowlers didnt peak at the same time and i think having bowlers all peak at the same time is very fair but i do think these 2 attacks are the best in cricket history based on results. For me they arent daylights better than the next best but they r better.
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    Always had way too much for the England teams of my childhood, tbh. So utterly dominant did they seem the very idea of us taking a test, much less a series off them, seemed too much to hope for.

    I'd actually say because there was such a incredible concentration of talent there's a tendancy to underrate some of the more minor bowlers who made up the quartets. The Windies (and most other test teams) would kill for bolwers like Wayne Daniel, Colin Croft or Patrick Patterson now, but they were all (if the played at all) the junior partners in the pace firms.
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    Perm any two from four and history will throw up several pairs to match them but what those attacks gave was, if my maths is correct, an unparallelled choice of six pairs of exceptional fast bowlers hence their extraordinary success

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    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Not disagreeing, but I suppose the contrary position to that is to ask, what would Colin Croft's record look like if he had played for say, India, and at most had one decent quick to partner with.

    I think you're right, and he and the others you mention would have been as good as they were, but batsmen would probably have been able to cope a bit better not having to deal with the other three in the attack at the same time. Certainly one thing that makes those attacks very special was the lack of a weak link, even the guy bowling second change was a great bowler - most other great attacks have had one middling bowler that might have offered some respite.

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