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Thread: McGrath vs Sydney Barnes?

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    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    McGrath vs Sydney Barnes?

    Who do you guys think is the better bowler?

    Barnes: Averaged 16.43 to pick up 189 wickets.

    McGrath: Averaged 21.64 to pick up 563 wickets
    Last edited by ganeshran; 19-11-2011 at 06:35 AM.

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    International 12th Man Outswinger@Pace's Avatar
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    First clarify the premise of the comparison please. What was Sydney Barnes?

    A fastish finger spinner who got bite off the wicket with a very strong wrist and finger action? Or a seam bowler whose main strength was applying cut to the balls rather than swinging them conventionally?

    If anyone has some insights on his bowling style (or possibly has seen him live), please bring 'em to the table. Cricinfo descriptions confuse me a lot in this case.

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganeshran View Post
    Who do you guys think is the better bowler?

    Barnes: Averaged 16.43 to pick up 189 wickets.

    McGrath: Averaged 21.64 to pick up 563 wickets
    It's a tough comparison.

    The first key point we must consider when comparing those careers is the fact that Barnes played in an era that was much more bowler-friendly in general. If you standardise their averages across time then Barnes's rises considerably. Even beyond what those numbers (which are still in Barnes's favour in terms of average) tell you, an argument can be made to suggest that the drop in bowling averages as the balance tips towards the bowlers is not linear, and that the better bowlers will dominate even more relative to the mean the lower the global batting average is. Should one believe that then the difference in averages becomes almost insignificant.

    On the flip side, the same applies to the number of wickets they took. They played a lot more Tests in McGrath's day so a career of 189 wickets in the early 20th century was really worth about the same as a career of 563 wickets in more modern times. The bowlers had Test careers of very similar lengths so the longevity issue is basically negated.

    So it's close; they had very similar careers relative to their peers. I lean towards Barnes though.
    Last edited by Prince EWS; 19-11-2011 at 07:00 AM.
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    International Captain Himannv's Avatar
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    Very hard to decide due to the type of eras they played in and the kind of bowlers they are. I think PEWS covers that point with more detail than I could possibly put together. In my opinion its probably Barnes who was better based on what I've read of him.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    can't say for sure about McGrath being better than Barnes but if you standardize the averages using this thread (Cribbage's Standardised Test Averages (new batting list: post 444; bowling 445)) then I think that Barnes > Asif > McGrath
    And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smalishah84 View Post
    can't say for sure about McGrath being better than Barnes but if you standardize the averages using this thread (Cribbage's Standardised Test Averages (new batting list: post 444; bowling 445)) then I think that Barnes > Asif > McGrath
    That doesn't take longevity into account though.

    Asif was McGrath-esque while he was actually on the park but he wasn't on the park nearly enough throughout his career for .. a variety of reasons .. which made him a significantly less valuable bowler.
    Last edited by Prince EWS; 19-11-2011 at 07:17 AM.

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    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outswinger@Pace View Post
    First clarify the premise of the comparison please. What was Sydney Barnes?

    A fastish finger spinner who got bite off the wicket with a very strong wrist and finger action? Or a seam bowler whose main strength was applying cut to the balls rather than swinging them conventionally?

    If anyone has some insights on his bowling style (or possibly has seen him live), please bring 'em to the table. Cricinfo descriptions confuse me a lot in this case.
    Barnes was a Chris Harris, with +20k on the ball.
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    Hall of Fame Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    The real obstacle in rating Barnes' career is that he preferred to play for his native Staffordshire than a major county. As a result he played hardly any FC cricket compared to his peers, during a time when a FC record tells you just as much, if not more, about the player than Test records.

    If you want to be entirely left-brained about it, PEWS has given a fair summary - it's an even call. Anecdotally, there isn't much to go on either. Both players find themselves the subject of many a lyrical waxing.

    I would say that which bowler you'd pick depends on what role you're planning to give them. If you want variety, go Barnes, if you want consistency, go McGrath.
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    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outswinger@Pace View Post
    First clarify the premise of the comparison please. What was Sydney Barnes?

    A fastish finger spinner who got bite off the wicket with a very strong wrist and finger action? Or a seam bowler whose main strength was applying cut to the balls rather than swinging them conventionally?

    If anyone has some insights on his bowling style (or possibly has seen him live), please bring 'em to the table. Cricinfo descriptions confuse me a lot in this case.
    We had a good thread on this a year or two back which someone with a proper computer and without 2 screaming kids to look after might hopefully be able to dig up.

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    International Captain ankitj's Avatar
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    It's an unfair comparison because of vastly different eras that the two played in. I would go for Sydney Barnes simply because when I am making lists of greatest bowlers, I generally put his name before McGrath's. But I will not try to defend that with any arguments.

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    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    It's a tough comparison.

    The first key point we must consider when comparing those careers is the fact that Barnes played in an era that was much more bowler-friendly in general. If you standardise their averages across time then Barnes's rises considerably. Even beyond what those numbers (which are still in Barnes's favour in terms of average) tell you, an argument can be made to suggest that the drop in bowling averages as the balance tips towards the bowlers is not linear, and that the better bowlers will dominate even more relative to the mean the lower the global batting average is. Should one believe that then the difference in averages becomes almost insignificant.

    On the flip side, the same applies to the number of wickets they took. They played a lot more Tests in McGrath's day so a career of 189 wickets in the early 20th century was really worth about the same as a career of 563 wickets in more modern times. The bowlers had Test careers of very similar lengths so the longevity issue is basically negated.

    So it's close; they had very similar careers relative to their peers. I lean towards Barnes though.
    Great post PEWS. I have the same question that outswinger@pace had. What was his bowling style? Any idea

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    State Vice-Captain JBMAC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganeshran View Post
    Great post PEWS. I have the same question that outswinger@pace had. What was his bowling style? Any idea
    Barnes is described by press of the day as right arm medium pace....I would envision then someone in the Walker, Massie type
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    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBMAC View Post
    Barnes is described by press of the day as right arm medium pace....I would envision then someone in the Walker, Massie type
    Press is avery deceptive source to use, especially when terms as swing, drift, turn, where the context of it unknown. Swere was used in early literature, and must be describing both swing and drift. As given in cricinfo about Barnes, there is no way a bowler can achieve both swing and spin in same delivery, because it's mechanically impossible. But drift and spin, is possible (drift is lateral movement in air due to forward spin of the ball whereas swing is due to backward spin on the ball, and as a result Warne's back spinner swings in the air!). It's simply not possible to bowl at 130k and get spin of reasonable proportions.

    That's why I think Barnes was primarily a over the wrist bowler, who bowled slower ball (similar to Venky Prasad's or Chris Harris') as the stock ball, but was reasonably quick with that too. He must have been a bloody quick bowler if he bowled seam up, but can think that it must have needed a major change of action to bowl fast.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    maybe he was the first one to bowl cutters?

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    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smalishah84 View Post
    maybe he was the first one to bowl cutters?
    Cutters don't swing mate. The seam rotation goes haywire when you bowl a cutter, by pulling your fingers on on side of the ball. It will deviate off the pitch but will be gun barrel straight through air.



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