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Thread: Sir Don Bradman - Is it fair to rate him above batsmen of other eras?

  1. #1
    State Vice-Captain karan316's Avatar
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    Sir Don Bradman - Is it fair to rate him above batsmen of other eras?

    A lot of times we hear people saying that X batsman is the best "after Bradman" or Y batsman comes close to Sir Donald Bradman even if that player does not belong to Bradman's era.
    Is it really fair to rate him above all the other players in the history of cricket??

    Lets take a look at the conditions faced by the batsmen of different eras compared to Sir Don's era.

    Number of oppositions

    Bradman has played most of his matches against 1 team with an average of around 92 and one series against each minnows [India, SouthAfrica and WestIndies were new in cricket that time] and scored heavily against them. There were only 2 major teams at that time and out of which Australia were better, England didn't even have quality bowlers at that time apart from the bodyline series.

    In the later eras, teams had to play against different oppositions who all specialised in
    different skills(e.g. India were known for their great spinners and West Indies were known
    for their brutal fast bowlers),on different grounds, conditions,etc. and had to adjust
    according to it.

    Rules of the game

    Bradman played test matches when there was no time limit of five days so Bradman had full time to get used to every type of situation unlike how it became later when there was a 5 day limit.

    The LBW law in Bradman’s time was that could only be given out if the ball pitched and hit in line with the stumps and then went on to hit them. This automatically rules out the in-swinger, the in-cutter, and the off-spinning deliveries that pitch outside but come in enough to hit in line. This is as potent a weapon for the bowler as the catch or even more as you can pad up to any ball outside off and get away. The batsman also gets the advantage when he is unsure which way the ball would go as he can again pad up and nullify the in-coming as well as the out-going delivery. Bradman was out leg before just six times in his career. The argument that he was so good that he was rarely struck in front of the wicket does not hold as he was bowled 23 times.


    Bowling quality of the opposition

    The bowling has become so advanced in modern cricket as compared to what it was before.The invention of reverse swing, doosra and all the different kinds of variations that make it difficult for the batsmen to stay at the wicket and keep scoring the runs easily.

    Players like Sachin have played against Ambrose-Walsh-Bishop, Wasim-Waqar-Akhtar-Saqlain, McGrath-Lee-Gilespie-Warne, Donald-Pollock,Murali and many more. What about Bradman?
    How many of bowlers of England were world class at that time??


    Bodyline bowling (which was dealt with players in the later eras)

    His average which was usually over 100 in maximum series came down to just 56 in bodyline series. This was the time when he was put under some real pressure with bouncers and aggressive bowling.

    The players of later eras, had to face bouncers and hostile bowling a lot more then Bradman did and they still managed to score heavily.
    Lillee,Thompson,Holding,Marshall,Roberts,Colin Croft,Joel Garner,etc. were all very brutal
    bowlers and also used the bouncers effectively but someone like Gavaskar still managed to score against them with ease without a helmet, he averaged 65 against the great West Indian fast bowlers who were much more skilled than most of the bowlers in Bradman's time.


    Workload

    Bradman played 52 test matches over 20 years, in modern cricket you play that amount of matches in around 5 or 6 years (along with the other formats). The fitness level required to manage the schedule of modern day cricket is much higher than before. Sachin has played 162 tests in 20 years along with 440 ODIs.In the present schedule,Every year there are atleast 10 Tests and 30 ODIs each year.


    Pitches

    And talking about the wickets, the wickets of that time weren't so bad, most of them were
    batting wickets apart from the sticky wickets where Bradman never succeeded and Jack Hobbs was considered a master on them.


    All I m trying to prove here is that you can never ever compare between players of different eras, Bradman was the greatest of his era and i salute him for his contribution to the game and his country, but similarly a lot of others have been excellent and dominated their respective eras, rating Bradman above all the others on the basis of his average is not fair.
    Last edited by karan316; 15-11-2011 at 12:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Hall of Fame Member honestbharani's Avatar
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    Yes
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    Quote Originally Posted by vic_orthdox View Post
    In the end, I think it's so utterly, incomprehensibly boring. There is so much context behind each innings of cricket that dissecting statistics into these small samples is just worthless. No-one has ever been faced with the same situation in which they come out to bat as someone else. Ever.
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Yup.
    Quote Originally Posted by KungFu_Kallis View Post
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    International 12th Man Outswinger@Pace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honestbharani View Post
    Yes
    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Yup.
    +2

    /thread


  5. #5
    Hall of Fame Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Players of different eras face different challenges and receive different aids. Just because it's difficult to compare them (and not a lot of people are very good at doing it) doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.
    Every 5 years we have an election and have to decide who are the least obnoxious out of all the men. Then one gets in and they age really quickly. Which is always fun to watch.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    What you can never do is draw a definite conclusion, but that's part of the appeal in doing it

    In my opinion, and I know the OP (which is something of an oversimplification anyway) won't agree if you take away the making of such comparisons then you take most if not all of the romance out of the game

    But if you think the exercise is futile you can always give it a swerve

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    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    I havent seen Bradman bat

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganeshran View Post
    I havent seen Bradman bat
    There's plenty of footage around

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    International Vice-Captain robelinda's Avatar
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    Wait until Warner plays 52 tests. See ya Don.....
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    International Coach morgieb's Avatar
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    **** thread is ****.

    Yes it's fair to rank him above the other batsman. His average is nearly 40 runs higher than everyone else.
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  12. #12
    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    There's plenty of footage around
    Really? On which site? I have seen just few clips of 5-6 mins each. Never saw an extended innings clip

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    International Captain wellAlbidarned's Avatar
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    Sir Don Bradman - Is it fair to rate him above batsmen of other eras?

    YES.

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  14. #14
    State 12th Man Flametree's Avatar
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    OMG, has this not been done to death?

    One of the geat things about test cricket is that averages have been remarkably consistent through history. Pre-WW1, batting averages were lower, which makes Jack Hobbs' record in that period so great. But since then the equation has been fairly simple -
    decent batsmen will average 35-40
    successful test batsmen will average 40-45
    very successful test batsmen will average 45-50
    great players will average 50
    very rare players will average 55-60
    ...
    and then Bradman averages 99.94.

    If you really believe batting was so easy in the 1920's and 1930's, then his teammates - the likes of McCabe, Ponsford, Woodfull, Ryder and Fingleton - must have been absolutely useless, since they only averaged 42-51...

    I haven't checked to see if they actually all played against Bradman, but England bowlers in the 20's / 30's included Tate, Allen, Larwood, Bowes, Nichols, Farnes, Geary, Verity, Freeman, plus Bedser post-WW2. Go read their profiles on cricinfo - I think you'll see they were pretty decent bowlers.

    You've missed the point of Bodyline - it wasn't that the bowling was short, it was the field-settings. How would Gavaskar have gone against the Windies if the field was two short legs, two leg slips, and two men out for the hook, with every ball short and aimed at the body? Yes, Gavaskar did well against the Windies (though his average is inflated by the 1971 series well before the Windies had a four-pronged pace attack....) but the bowlers were trying to get him caught at slip, not just bowling at his body constantly.

    The thing which really makes me laugh about posts like this is that the one era where batting has definitely been easier is the last decade. The increased demands on players which you seem to believe belittles Bradman's achievements actually works in favour of modern batsmen - it's way harder to be a successful bowler these days then it was then. That's why Dale Steyn is the only bowler operating now with more than 100 wickets and and average below 25 (ok, Mohammed Asif was there too, and Murali only recently retired). Modern bats, helmets, body armour, flat wickets, fast outfields, short boundaries etc also make bowling tough. The DRS and umpires giving batsmen out lbw to spinners are recent developments bringing things back in bowlers' favour.

    In the last decade anyone who's anyone has averaged over 50 : Hayden, Ponting, Hussey, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Lara, Kallis, Smith, Younis Khan, Mo. Yousuf, Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Samaraweera, Pietersen. With Cook, Bell, and Chanderpaul currently going at 49... So even if you don't rate Bradman the best, you are absolutely joking if you believe any current player can make the claim.

  15. #15
    International Vice-Captain Days of Grace's Avatar
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    Bradman basically averaged double that of other batsmen from the same era, who were no slouches. That should tell you something.

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