The "stats do not do justice" idea is simply a don't-go-there. Stats show what happened. "Stats do not tell the full story" is a much fairer phrase - because there is always more to a player than purely what his contributions to wins and losses are. Even if Ian Bell is an infinitely lesser batsman than Kevin Pietersen, he'll always be an infinitely more attractive one. And some players' runs can merely win a game; some players' runs can win a game and win a thousand hearts to boot.
It's in this way that cricket is about more than just stats. But how good someone is is about precious little besides. Though clearly an overall career average is a pretty meaningless thing, and always needs closer examination before real truths can be discerned.
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Don't confuse the meaninglessness of a banal career average with the meaningfulness of stats, which are so much more than overall career averages.
I was going to pick up on that too. I didn't, because I accept that if it's a pretty technique you're after, Bell is hard to beat. But to my mind Penisen is one of the most watchable batsmen I've ever seen.
Hope something can be done regarding Pakistan playing tests up here (or anyway else, come to that) becuase it'd be a travesty if Gul loses his best years through no fault of his own.
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"I don't believe a word of Pietersen's book, but then I don't believe a word anyone else has said either."
- Simon Barnes renders further comment on KP's autobiography superfluous in a sentence
Umar Gul is an excellent limited overs bowler. I don't think he is great in the test format imo, though he can swing the ball and is much better now than when we faced him in 2006.
I don't know when the next schedule series against Pakistan is, but I'm sure he'll be more of a handful this time around.
As for the issue of stats showing what happened, I disagree. Stats do not take into account things such as match situations, pressure (especially in Sachin's case since he is bigger than Hinduism in India! Lol), quality of bowling faced etc.
Stats also don't tell you how fine a player a person was. I'm talking simply aesthetics but also the ability to time the first good length ball for a drive down the ground, being able to completely smother the best spinners of all time on a turning dust bucket etc.
Tendulkar for me, based on what I've seen (and I've seen all the bad of Tendulkar whereas I've only seen the good from Pollock, both Richards, Sobers, Bradman, Gavaskar etc and no play and misses, no mistimed shots etc. Only the dismissals) is No.1 and IMO deserves a much greater average than all of those I mentioned.
He at the very least deserves an average way above that of Ricky Ponting who has only cashed in during the batting era and after a great start from the openers more often than not.
I kind of agree with Richard on the subject of Ian Bell. I think aesthetically he is better than PIetersen (and even Viv Richards) when he's driving good length deliveries as though it's second nature.
I think KP and Viv are more talented since both can/could take a ball on a good length from outside off stump and whip it through the leg side. That requires a lot of skill. But either of those were as pleasing on the eye through the off side as Bell (on form) is IMHO.
All-Time Test XI:
Gavaskar, Boycott, Tendulkar, G.Pollock, V.Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist (wk), Warne (c), Waqar/Wasim, Lillee, Ambrose.
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