Had a debate with Howe Snr. on this today. Dad says the following dubious statement:
"A 50 from an opening batsman is as hard to get as an 80 from a #4 batsman".
His reasons being that opening batsmen have to face the new ball, fresh opening bowlers and pitches at their greenest. He also says the main reason opening batsmen have averages only slightly lower than middle order players is because they get to knock off low second innings totals.
I disagree. I'd say that due to modern wickets and modern trends in bowling - such as some teams relying (just as much, if not more) on spin and reverse rather than the new ball - opening the batting isn't really that much harder any more. I still think it is slightly tougher, but that the typical difference in average of around 5-10 runs is closer to the mark than Dad's estimate of 30.
Keen to get people's views on this.