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Thread: Angus Fraser

  1. #1
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    Angus Fraser

    Being English, and growing up watching cricket when we were pretty dire, he always struck me as someone who stood out from the English crowd.

    Never gave anything away, hated being hit to the boundary, hated losing generally.

    Could bowl sides out in anything resembling helpful conditions and tie batsmen down on a road-track if needs be.

    Prior to his hip injury, was clearly a few mph quicker than the medium-fast plodder that most remember. Never expres quick, but certainly lively and capable of generating Ambrose-esque bounce off a decent length.

    THAT version of Angus (sole positive in 1989 Ashes, First three Tests of 1989/90 WI series) was well rated, feared and for good reason.

    One of the few English players to be respected by Australians during the 'dark period'. Their main gripe seemed to be with our softness and tendency to roll over, and you couldn't level that at Gus in this lifetime or the next.

    The effort he put into every ball and clear knackered-ness he exhibited at the end of a spell was evidence of how much he cared.

    If only we'd had ten others like him...

    For whatever reason, Ray Illingworth never took a shine to Angus. One bad game and he was out. Just as well he was England's top performer in a mediocre period.

    He eventually sussed out how to cramp Brian Lara for room and bore him out. On one occasion, he had Lara caught behind in a county game and a shout went up from the crowd when he returned to the outfield.

    "Oi Gus" went up the cry..

    "Yeah" he said - expecting some kind of compliment for dismissing Lara.

    "I came to watch Lara bat, not you bowl. I'm off" - charming...

    When he got Lara again in a Test match in the West Indies, Angus went up screaming with delight. His team-mates wondered why he was so ecstatic having already done the little master several times.

    "That's 123 test wickets - one more than Ray Illingworth", was the explanation.

    Illingworth was an arse who set English cricket back ten years IMO. The strange downer he had on Angus, their most successful bowler of the decade by any statistical measure, is a massive part of the reason why.

    In the interests of balance, it's worh adding he was a mediocre fielder suited only to work on the boundary and a poor batsman who had courage, a decent defence and understood he might get hit (think Tufnell with balls).

    However, injury and the Yorkshire control freak (yes I'm a Lancastrian) deprived England of their best bowler and that bowler of a 3-4 hundred wicket test career instead of the relatively paltry 46 test caps he actually got.

    177 wickets at 27.32 and a miserly economy rate aren't to be scoffed at - especially in a team that oscillated between average and pathetic.

    So - mainly for those from outside England, was Angus bona fide world class, just outside or an average bowler that a few of us (myself included) have over-rated in our heads?
    Last edited by Dazinho; 14-06-2012 at 03:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Cricket Web Staff Member stumpski's Avatar
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    He was controversially omitted (by Illingworth) from the 1994-95 Ashes tour - although later called up when McCague was injured and Benjamin went down with chickenpox. The risible excuse was that he looked 'tired' - disregarding the eight weeks rest he would have had before leaving (no boot camps in those days). He did, tbf, often look knackered - red-faced, perspiring, permanently grumpy. Probably didn't do himself any favours in that regard, yet he generally delivered when he was picked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpski View Post
    He was controversially omitted (by Illingworth) from the 1994-95 Ashes tour - although later called up when McCague was injured and Benjamin went down with chickenpox. The risible excuse was that he looked 'tired' - disregarding the eight weeks rest he would have had before leaving (no boot camps in those days). He did, tbf, often look knackered - red-faced, perspiring, permanently grumpy. Probably didn't do himself any favours in that regard, yet he generally delivered when he was picked.
    Angus was no natural athlete - no argument there.

    That said, anyone who preferred McCague and Bejamin to him needed their head examining!!

  4. #4
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazinho View Post
    Being English, and growing up watching cricket when we were pretty dire, he always struck me as someone who stood out from the English crowd.

    Never gave anything away, hated being hit to the boundary, hated losing generally.

    Could bowl sides out in anything resembling helpful conditions and tie batsmen down on a road-track if needs be.

    Prior to his hip injury, was clearly a few mph quicker than the medium-fast plodder that most remember. Never expres quick, but certainly lively and capable of generating Ambrose-esque bounce off a decent length.

    THAT version of Angus (sole positive in 1989 Ashes, First three Tests of 1989/90 WI series) was well rated, feared and for good reason.

    One of the few English players to be respected by Australians during the 'dark period'. Their main gripe seemed to be with our softness and tendency to roll over, and you couldn't level that at Gus in this lifetime or the next.

    The effort he put into every ball and clear knackered-ness he exhibited at the end of a spell was evidence of how much he cared.

    If only we'd had ten others like him...

    For whatever reason, Ray Illingworth never took a shine to Angus. One bad game and he was out. Just as well he was England's top performer in a mediocre period.

    He eventually sussed out how to cramp Brian Lara for room and bore him out. On one occasion, he had Lara caught behind in a county game and a shout went up from the crowd when he returned to the outfield.

    "Oi Gus" went up the cry..

    "Yeah" he said - expecting some kind of compliment for dismissing Lara.

    "I came to watch Lara bat, not you bowl. I'm off" - charming...

    When he got Lara again in a Test match in the West Indies, Angus went up screaming with delight. His team-mates wondered why he was so ecstatic having already done the little master several times.

    "That's 123 test wickets - one more than Ray Illingworth", was the explanation.

    Illingworth was an arse who set English cricket back ten years IMO. The strange downer he had on Angus, their most successful bowler of the decade by any statistical measure, is a massive part of the reason why.

    In the interests of balance, it's worh adding he was a mediocre fielder suited only to work on the boundary and a poor batsman who had courage, a decent defence and understood he might get hit (think Tufnell with balls).

    However, injury and the Yorkshire control freak (yes I'm a Lancastrian) deprived England of their best bowler and that bowler of a 3-4 hundred wicket test career instead of the relatively paltry 46 test caps he actually got.

    177 wickets at 27.32 and a miserly economy rate aren't to be scoffed at - especially in a team that oscillated between average and pathetic.

    So - mainly for those from outside England, was Angus bona fide world class, just outside or an average bowler that a few of us (myself included) have over-rated in our heads?
    Weird post in that, as I read each sentence, I thought I might have written every single word myself. With the obvious exception of the disgusting Lancastrian crap, obviously. I am equally interested to know people's views on Gus.


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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    Weird post in that, as I read each sentence, I thought I might have written every single word myself. With the obvious exception of the disgusting Lancastrian crap, obviously. I am equally interested to know people's views on Gus.
    Such appreciation of a big ungainly lad from the smoke shows just what generosity of spirit we Lancastrians have

  6. #6
    International Regular NasserFan207's Avatar
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    Yeah good bowler. Was never much of an athlete as you say and so always destined for a limited career sadly.

    Wasn't the most exciting to watch bowl, but did the job.
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    @Fred & Mr Z Haha. Still fighting to this day.
    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby View Post
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  8. #8
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Well if fred's a Northerner then I'm Bjork. That said, since his election to the office of Grand High Wizard of CW, I should neither mock him nor disrespect him.

    Anyway my point was that Dazinho has summed up superbly the essence of the enigma that is Gus Fraser. Apart from his rather unsavoury Lancastrian confession the only thing from which I'd dissociate myself is the suggestion that Gus was the sole England success of the 1989 Ashes, since both The Judge and Jack Russell acquitted themselves very well in that series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    Well if fred's a Northerner then I'm Bjork. That said, since his election to the office of Grand High Wizard of CW, I should neither mock him nor disrespect him.

    Anyway my point was that Dazinho has summed up superbly the essence of the enigma that is Gus Fraser. Apart from his rather unsavoury Lancastrian confession the only thing from which I'd dissociate myself is the suggestion that Gus was the sole England success of the 1989 Ashes, since both The Judge and Jack Russell acquitted themselves very well in that series.
    Fair comment mate - I can't help being from the wrong side of the Pennines, but there you go. I don't dislike Illingworth for being a Yorkshireman, my MD is from Leeds and a top bloke. I dislike him for being Illingworth, a childish and vindictive dinosaur who ran English cricket from a disturbingly 'retro' stance...

    When England were just so, so terrible in the early-mid 1990s, you'd thank the man upstairs that there was at least one bowler who could tighten it up and maybe take a wicket that would swing things.

    Alternatively. you'd be watching McCague break down, Benjamin being knocked for a tankload by Slater et al and wonder why Raymond's sheer spitefulness had tainted our one shot at competing with world class batting line-ups.

    Fraser + Gough nearly got the 95 Ashes back to 2-2 having given the Aussies a 2-0 start. When the two of them clicked in tandem you had a world class bowling unit.

    The point about Gus not being an athlete is a fair and very relevant one.

    Ian Botham stated in his book '100 favourite cricketers' that Gus had a circumstancial problem allied to a structural one. When Cork and Gough opened the bowling vs South Africa in 1998 and Gus was first change, the three of them managed to blast the Springboks out regularly.

    When reqiuired to open the bowling and essentially carry it, he was bowling 40+ overs an innings which, combined with his lack of natural athleticism, probably created the injury spiral that took years off his career.

    For a medium-fast type, his peak ended abruptly and early at about 33 years of age.

    The Gus of 1989-91, who knocked over the Indians on road-tracks, scared the **** out of the West Indies on their own turf and kept a very poor England side semi-competitive against the Aussies (until injury) was rated 2 in the world behind Curtly Ambrose for good reason.

    No shame in being a close second to Curtly.

    Even the post-1993 version was easily England's best bowler and stood out like a sore thumb as we picked medioctity galore. Imagine how England might have fared had we stuck with the quality we knew instead of going for Simon Brown and Mike Smith.

    I'm thinking of the 1997 Ashes in particular. Stick Angus in that side and you've suddenly got a bloody close series.

    And even if you found his bowling stodgy, seeing out those 13 balls from Allan Donald in 1998 was a triumph of massive balls over clear lack of ability. He was a dreadful batsman technically, but had everything you could reasonably ask of 10 or 11.

    Re -1989. Point taken about Robin Smith in particular, although Gus stood out as the biggest plus I'm sure we can agree. He was the only one who looked like getting someone out!!

  10. #10
    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Best Pommie bowler since John Snow.
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    International Vice-Captain watson's Avatar
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    If I'm down in the trenches fighting the enemy, then I'd want Angus Fraser beside me.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post
    If I'm down in the trenches fighting the enemy, then I'd want Angus Fraser beside me.
    Personally I'd rather this bloke, but if I wanted a post-John Snow Englishman to bowl for me, I think I'd get him in.

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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Should mention his doughty lower order defence too; IIRC he batted out the last over from Donald (again from memory) in the third test at OT in 98 with England 9 down and looking at an innings defeat having followed on well over 300 in arrears.

    Ultimately allowed us to win the series, which was our first win in a five test rubber since we'd beaten the crims way back in 86/87.
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    International Vice-Captain robelinda's Avatar
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    Pretty good bowler. Might have to dig deep and upload some of his wickets. His batting was very solid, ungainly, but solid.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Disappointing lack of acknowledgment of Jacka VC tbh.

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