Oh, for certain they did, but for different reasons. Packer purely wanted cricket for his television station, he didn't give a damn about the welfare of the game; Bacher and co. wanted it because they didn't believe South Africa should've been outlawed. All right, that was a pretty shallow belief, but they weren't deliberately trying to destabalise the game in England, Australia and West Indies as they ended-up doing; they were merely trying to right what they saw, wrongly in the eyes of most, as a wrong.
In my book South African domestic cricket (which remained First-Class in the eyes of all throughout isolation) is a different matter to Test cricket. First-Class matches can be handed-out on a whim; there is a very specific nature to Tests. Debarring countries from playing Tests had a means and an aim; ruling matches non-First-Class would have been and was completely pointless - there is no stigma attached.
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We spend so much time debating the records of Test players of the same era, dissecting, removing, analyzing every stat even when the opposition is relatively standardized. How can you even begin to do the same to FC records? I don't see it.
Of course, this is true. But if the criteria is "judging by the records", those who don't care about records would automatically be removed from this discussion, surely? The only people who would decide whether its fair or not to judge players on FC record would be people who already think it's fair to judge players on Test records?
Hmm, maybe it's just me but I think you're being a bit pedantic. I would never say a player's record should be ignored, I just believe that the analysis of statistics can sometimes (and I do stress, only sometimes, I do appreciate good statistical analysis, I just hate OTT stuff) suck all life out of the game, because sport is not a science. I don't think the question is really focusing specifically on averages, but rather achievements, i.e. can we judge those who didn't play Tests based on what they did elsewhere?
I don't think the standardisation of records etc needs to be a factor in whether or not you can fairly judge a player based on their FC achievements.
As far as I am concerned first class cricket should never be ignored or totally disregarded. Ramps and Hick scoring 100 centuries is an amazing achievment and one which should be celebrated regardless of their performances in tests.
Well, if you care about records at all, then obviously standardization would be the first thing to look at, otherwise you don't really care about it at all (which is fine too, of course, if that's what you prefer). Otherwise, it's just numbers without meaning surely? What are they except in context against other numbers?
I don't think they do deserve First-Class status. Standard, even at First-Class level, is not absolutely the only consideration. Packer matches do not have to be First-Class for their worth as far as assessing a player's calibre is concerned - many people, rightly, look in part at Packer matches when assessing players, especially the likes of Barry Richards. But Packer had at the heart of his aim the disruption of First-Class and Test cricket in order to serve his own purposes. This to me makes it abhorrant to ever recognise such games as First-Class. They were entirely private enterprises. No-one has ever recognised games under Sir Paul Getty's aegis as First-Class either, despite the fact that a large number of outstanding cricketers have sometimes been involved and despite the fact that Getty was a cricket affectionado who, unlike Packer, cared deeply about the game's welfare.
And look at it this way - in 1964 Bobby Simpson was the dominant Test player. But would he really be regarded as the best player around ahead of Garry Sobers, who was in barnstorming form in the Sheffield Shield and County Championship? Of course he wouldn't. Sobers' domestic performances were easily strong enough to maintain his pre-eminence.
Last edited by Richard; 25-12-2009 at 04:50 AM.
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