I love good old Davo, but there is definitely merit to suggesting Lindwall or McGrath in his place; McGrath dominated the modern era in a similar way to Davidson, whereas Lindwall was a statistical equal to them both, by all accounts a yard quicker and could bat as well. All three are in and around consideration if we lock O'Reilly, Warne and Lillee as three of the four bowlers.
Lindwall has the benefit of combining best with Miller; McGrath has the sheer volume of wickets and Davidson has the variety of being left armed. All have benefits, and none would weaken the XI.
because the first post deserved a "lawl....." seperately
On CW we tend to rule by the numbers - a bowler with an average .02 runs lower must be exponentially better than the other, X didn't perform in India so Y gets the gig, if we adjust Stat A for era and narrow it down to matches beginning on a Wednesday Bowler X has a hole in his record, so Bowler Y gets selected - it ends up getting completely ridiculous.
There's an element of the rose tint, sure, but what would humans be as a species without romanticism? Why can't we look back at a man like Larwood, who bowled with fire before bowling with fire was cool, and rate him above a bowler with a slightly better average? Why can't we look past the numbers and see that he tamed Bradman, that his career was cut hopelessly short by injury and administrators? Why must we be ruled by the statistics?
If we were purely ruled by numbers, how boring would selecting XIs be? Where would the game be? "So, promising young bowler A paid 27 runs per wicket in the CC this year. Old County Pro B paid 26. He gets the gig".
Larwood had an aura about him that no other bowler can match. His name struck fear into batsmen, and he changed the game forever. Forget the statistics, forget bowling averages. He reformed cricket in a way no bowler ever has, or ever will do.
Its another reason why Frank Worrell always makes my WI All Time XI. His value is far more than can be expressed in statistical analysis. Larwood is the same.
Ask Tangy, ask Jager. Ask any of the Larwood supporters and I'm sure they'll agree (at least to an extent). The statistics of Harold Larwood paint a picture wholly different to reality. He cannot be expressed in numbers (as beautiful as mathematics is).
In my mind, he was the greatest bowler of all time, bar none. And no amount of numbers being thrown at me will change my mind. Ever.
There is a difference between being great, and being the best. So while something can be the greatest of it's type, it is not necessarily the best of its type.
Cars are a good example of this. The Model-T Ford is probably the greatest car of all time because it transformed the automotive industry, but in a quarter mile drag race it would be thrashed by a 1976 Datsun 120-Y. We can all admire the beauty and V8 rumble of a 1980 Corvette, but it would be no match for any contemporary Porche 911 in a race around a Formula 1 circuit. The Corvette may be a great in terms of style and animal magnetism, but the Porsche handles better and goes around the hair-pin bends of a track faster.
In cricketing terms we could use the example of Bernard Bosenquet. It could argued that while Larwood is the greatest fast-bowler of all-time, Bosenquet is the greatest spin-bowler of all time. Why? Because he transformed the art of spin bowling by inventing the googly. Leg-spin bowling was never the same after Bosenquet.
However, I've never seen Bosenquet selected for any All Time Great team. Instead cricket lovers choose the likes of O'Reilly, Grimmett, Benaud, and Warne. The answer for this is simple - in all probability they bowled the googly better, and applied their trade of leg-spin better. In other words we choose these men because they represent the best.
Which brings me to the point. Larwood maybe the greatest fast bowler in the last 150 years because he is an archtetypal demigod, but Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee, Curtly Ambrose, Richard Hadlee, Imrans Khan, and Alan Donald all have one thing in common - they are simply better than Larwood at getting batsman out. The records and numbers say so.
Last edited by watson; 24-09-2012 at 12:34 PM.
Watson bang on the money for me. Exactly what I'd like to say if I were sufficiently eloquent.
"If that Swann lad is the future of spin bowling in this country, then we're ****ed." - Nasser Hussain, 1997.
Great, eloquent post, and I agree with most of it. Numbers can be very misleading. They can also be very revealing though. And Larwood's contemporaries, in the same teams as him, against the same opposition, had better numbers.
“I shiver, thinking how easy it is to be totally wrong about people - to see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it’s the effect or vice versa.”
I agree that he is over rated, but why does Benaud ect rate him so highly based purely on his first class record. I acknowledge that I largely do the same with Richards and Procter, but what Test Cricket they did play they excelled in and they also proved themselves in WSC. Larwood struggled in test cricket, which is, pardon the pun, the greatest test for a cricketer.
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 | Waite+ | Procter3 | Steyn1 | Tayfield4 | Donald2
Hobbs | Hutton*^ | Hammond^ | Compton | Barrington | Botham5^ | Knott | Trueman1 | Laker4 | Larwood2 | Barnes3
If Larwood had played just after the war (new ball every 55 overs and seaming wickets) then I rather think that his average would have been a long way south of 20, and the casualty list a long one
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