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Thread: During which era have bowling attacks across test cricket been the strongest?

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    The artist formerly known as Monk Red Hill's Avatar
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    During which era have bowling attacks across test cricket been the strongest?

    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
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    International Vice-Captain kyear2's Avatar
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    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 12:18 AM.
    Aus. XI
    Simpson^ | Hayden | Bradman | Chappell^ | Ponting | Border* | Gilchrist+ | Davidson3 | Warne4^ | Lillee1 | McGrath2


    W.I. XI
    Greenidge | Hunte | Richards^ | Headley* | Lara^ | Sobers5^ | Walcott+ | Marshall1 | Ambrose2 | Holding3 | Garner4

    S.A. XI
    Richards^ | Smith*^ | Amla | Pollock | Kallis5^ | Nourse | Cameron+ | Procter3 | Steyn1 | Tayfield4 | Donald2

    Eng. XI
    Hobbs | Hutton*^ | Hammond^ | Compton | Barrington | Botham5^ | Knott | Trueman1 | Laker4 | Larwood2 | Barnes3

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    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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    International Captain weldone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subshakerz View Post
    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.
    Indeed.
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    State Vice-Captain Debris's Avatar
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    Statistically it was probably the 1890's and early 1900's.

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    State 12th Man Flametree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debris View Post
    Statistically it was probably the 1890's and early 1900's.
    True. In more modern times, since World War 1 the decade with the lowest rate of runs per wicket was the 1950s.
    Last edited by Flametree; 27-08-2012 at 04:08 AM.

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    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 09:35 AM.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyZaltzHair View Post
    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
    With spinners like Laker, Lock, Wardle, Iverson, Benaud and Tayfield, as well as Ram and Val, batting must have been trickier, particularly as the groundsmen didn't do the batsmen too many favours either

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    Quote Originally Posted by subshakerz View Post
    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.
    That's very hard to argue with.

    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).

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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    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.
    There are so many variables such as the preparation of pitches, protective equipment etc, but when looking at the whole picture I'd take the view that the 70s and early 80s possessed more quality in depth than the current era.

    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...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazinho View Post
    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...
    Pakistan currently has no pacer anywhere near the quality of Imran Khan
    And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW

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    Quote Originally Posted by smalishah84 View Post
    Pakistan currently has no pacer anywhere near the quality of Imran Khan
    Not near the quality of the bowler Imran became later in his career, no.

    His peak as a bowler was from the mid-80s into the tail end of his career, whereas my comparison was with the 70s/early 80s.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazinho View Post
    Not near the quality of the bowler Imran became later in his career, no.

    His peak as a bowler was from the mid-80s into the tail end of his career, whereas my comparison was with the 70s/early 80s.
    I am pretty sure you are mistaken. Late 70s to early 80s 1979 - 1983

    Bowling records | Test matches | Cricinfo Statsguru | ESPN Cricinfo

    156 wickets average 18 and SR of 48. Which current Pakistani bowler is anywhere close?

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    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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