Or, what was the toughest era to score runs in?
I am thinking the late 70s through to the late 80s/early 90s must rate.
WIs pacemen-Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Hadlee, Lillee
From the mid 70's straight through to the end of the 90's when most of the great bowlers retired. Of those decades the 70's may have been the hardest, as that was the last decade before the wide spread use of helmets and other protection and the aggresive fast bolwing utilized by Lillee, Thompson, Holding, Roberts and others.
Talent wise though the 90's had Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, Donald, Pollock, Mcgrath, Akram, Waqar ect, so Atherton and Co. never really had an easy time of it.
Last edited by kyear2; 27-08-2012 at 01:18 AM.
Simpson^ | Hayden | Bradman | Chappell^ | Ponting | Border* | Gilchrist+ | Davidson3 | Warne4^ | Lillee1 | McGrath2
Greenidge | Hunte | Richards^ | Headley* | Lara^ | Sobers5^ | Walcott+ | Marshall1 | Ambrose2 | Holding3 | Garner4
Richards^ | Smith*^ | Amla | Pollock | Kallis5^ | Nourse | Cameron+ | Procter3 | Steyn1 | Tayfield4 | Donald2
Hobbs | Hutton*^ | Hammond^ | Compton | Barrington | Botham5^ | Knott | Trueman1 | Laker4 | Larwood2 | Barnes3
The 90s were the best period of test cricket bowling ever.
In the 70s and 80s, with the exception of the WI of course, you generally had 1 world class paceman per team. By 91, Marshall, Hadlee and Imran retired, and you had a new generation.
By the mid-90s, you had 4 world class opening bowling pairs (Ambrose/Walsh, Waqar/Wasim, Donald/Pollock and McGrath/Gillespie). On top of that, you had a spin revival. Greats like Warne, Kumble and Murali came to the scene, and Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain were world class spinners for the second half of the 90s.
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Statistically it was probably the 1890's and early 1900's.
From 1877 to 1907, average was around 23 which is significantly lower than the other eras but the game and techniques were still evolving and add those factors of uncovered pitches; it's interesting to see the difference between 1940s and 1950s. 1940s had highest average although fewer tests being played and 1950s being the lowest 32.42 although not much of a surprise with likes of Lindwall, Trueman, Davidson, Bedser, Adcock, Hall, Tyson and others
Last edited by AndyZaltzHair; 27-08-2012 at 10:35 AM.
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I think the partial decline of the West Indies after 1991 (Marshall retired, Bishop injured, Patterson in and out of the side) evened up the game and meant that generally speaking the contests were very competitive.
The way you've laid out your response goes a long way towards explaining why England were so mediocre for much of that period as well. We either didn't have the bowlers in either pace or spin, or when we did tended not to pick them for whatever reason...
In terms of all-time greats, there's a case for saying that the 1970s and early 1980s saw slightly more absolutely top-drawer performers, but the depth was better in the 1990s and test cricket was generally a more robust examination that was more likely to find out anyone who came up short either mentally or technically.
Worth putting it out there - who had the best attack in the 1990s (probably Australia by a nose, but Walsh and Ambrose were still dynamite on any given day) and who had the weakest (probably one of England, New Zealand or Zimbabwe, who did have one world class strike bowler it should not be forgotten).
I think Test bowling attacks are stronger now than in the 1980s or before. I think that attacks in the 1990s had the edge over current attacks.
Contrasting the West Indies attacks of then and now is a quick win, but a significant one IMO that tips things a long way.
Australia were probably stronger on balance.
England is a close call.
New Zealand had one world class strike bowler and some useful back-up, which is more than can be said now.
India and Pakistan might be the two nations who are definitely stronger now than back then.
So a close thing, but the 70s and early 80s have it by a nose above the current era for me...
And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW
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156 wickets average 18 and SR of 48. Which current Pakistani bowler is anywhere close?
People don't seem to actually notice for whatever reason, but Pakistan's pace stocks right now are actually mediocre at best. Junaid's pretty exciting and could change that with more exposure to Tests but that's just one largely unproved bowler. Gul and Cheema are only slightly above average bowlers if that and just recently Sami was recalled - and as much as I love Sami, that does say it all.
Overall Pakistan have a good attack because Ajmal is world class and both Rehman and Hafeez are a real handful in the right conditions while their seamers manage to 'do a job', but there's no way their current lot of quicks would compare to even just Imran and a couple of park medium pacers frankly. Imran himself would offer more than their whole fast bowling group.
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