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
Can't think of an example in history where a great team depended on 5 specialist bowlers at the expense of a genuine batsman. Australia tried it a couple of times with Gilly, but only in extreme conditions and always reverted back afterwards.
"If that Swann lad is the future of spin bowling in this country, then we're ****ed." - Nasser Hussain, 1997.
You also then make the assumption that Imran-Marshalll-Lillee-Warne-Murali would then knock over the opposition's batting order for less runs, on any type of wicket, even though their top 6 would be about as strong.
The advantage of playing 3 quicks plus Warne and Murali is that the attack has maximum potency on a variety of wickets. On a flat track that gives the fast bowlers absolutely nothing you really need 2 high-quality spinners operating at both ends to bowl-out a high-class team twice in 5 days. At least I think so.
Last edited by watson; 06-10-2012 at 05:29 PM.
Also fully agree, Sobers was a better bat than Sachin and Lara, no argument.
Last edited by kyear2; 06-10-2012 at 09:20 PM.
This isn't really about picking the best players for an all time XI and I don't see how you could tell someone that Larwood isn't good enough to make a fictional side. By all accounts he was very quick and accurate and I think we can probably guess that he could bowl a reasonably accurate bouncer. He's also considered an ATG by most people and if I remember correctly he was even picked for an England All-time XI on Cricinfo. If someone wants to pick him ahead of another player on the basis of his skills for this exercise, I don't see why they shouldn't be able to. There is reasonable evidence to support his quality as a bowler from plenty of eyewitness accounts.
"I will go down as Darren Sammy, the one who always smiles" - Darren Sammy
Larwood had an atypical career, even for the time period.
He debuted in 1926, only two years into his first class career, and took the wickets of Macartney, Gregory and Collins in a draw, attributed to a flat pitch and the match being 3 days long. (Australia selected an XI of batsmen and all rounders, Mailey and Gregory the only specialist bowlers). Not an easy lineup to bowl out, when Jack Ryder is at 9. Its worth noting after 4 matches the series was still locked at 0-0.
The fifth game was a Timeless Test, and Larwood took 3/82 as the Australians batted ridiculously cautiously (1.98 per over). In the second innings he doubled his match tally - 3/34 as the Australians collapsed to Larwood and the spin of Wilfred Rhodes.
He then took 1/27 against the West Indies, before being unable to bowl in the second innings, returned from injury in the third Test and took 2/46 and 3/41, then got shipped over to Australia for the 1928 Ashes. In the first Test he took 6/32 and 2/30 on a batsman friendly pitch (Larwood himself had just made 70 with the bat) as England won by the small margin of 675 runs. The second and third Tests both had him pay around 40 runs for each wicket, and in the fourth and fifth - with his workload - he was undoubtedly struggling, taking 1/150 each time. It is, however, worth noting that the last game went into an 8th day, and every pitch they played on was incredibly conducive to batting. Think India vs. Pakistan in 2005 style roads. Every game had a 500+ score.
He came back to England and took 8/186 for the series against South Africa, and then started the 1930 Ashes with 2/21 from 20 overs in the match - although he missed the last day due to gastro. He missed the second match but came back for the Third - Bradman's 334. Wisden had this to say:
[...] Geary's bowling had no terrors at all while Larwood still looking very drawn as the result of his illness, had not the stamina to bowl at his full pace and was terribly expensive. [...]
He then missed the Fourth, ostensibly due to his illness, but was brought back again for the Fifth. Funnily enough, having been unwell for a while, he still didn't perform. He added returns of 1/139 and 1/132 to his 2/21 for the series.
The next summer he 'played' in only one Test - a rained out affair against New Zealand that brought only 71 overs of play, and then he went off to the 1932 Ashes. His match returns:
10/124, 4/102, 7/126, 7/150 and 5/142. 33 wickets in 220.2 overs, at a cost of less than twenty on the hard, batting tracks of Australia against Bradman's Australia.
And then he was never selected again.
Rvd, with the greatest of respect, it all sounds like a lot of 'what ifs' and excuses, and potential that was never fulfilled.
- The first series I'll give you as decent. Just coming into the side - can't really say a bad word about it.
- However, when talking about the Timeless Test, you mention Larwood's 3/82 and 3/34, however all the English bowlers were flourishing. Tate got 3/40 & 1/12, Rhodes got 2/35 & 4/44, etc. It wasn't a difficult day to be an English bowler.
- For the next Ashes, you argue the First Test was a batsman's pitch, yet the Australian's made scores of 122ao and 66ao. Jack White (who indeed) took a sterling 4/7, Tate was also once again in the money with excellent match figures of 5/76.
- You refer to Larwood's massive workload throughout the rest of the series. However, the second test shows Maurice Tate bowled a shade under 50 overs in the fourth innings, having already bowled 21 in the first. In the third test, Larwood's 'workload' further decreased as he managed two less overs for the match. Tate once again had a 46-over inning in the first, and matched it with 47 overs in the third. In the fourth, Tate again bowled a tremendous amount more (22 overs throughout the game) and ended with four wickets. However, the star of the show was without doubt Jack White who bowler over 120 overs, nabbing 13 wickets in the process. Larwood was given a back seat. As for the fifth, Larwood was again outbowled, in overs and figures. As you suggested, the Australians batted incredibly slowly at 1.80 runs per over. However, it wasn't Larwood who took on the extra bowling. It was again Maurice Tate, who bowled 62 overs in the first innings, and George Geary, another fast [medium] bowler, who bowled 71. Tate against bowled more in the final inning to take his overs to the game to 100 - an extraordinary achievement for a fast bowler.
- He was once again outbowled by Maurice Tate in the South African series, again in both workload and overall figures. He was also outbowled by 41-year old leg-spinner Tich Freeman, who ripped through the poor South African side, who [with the exception of Bruce Mitchell] had no-one we would consider in an ATG side.
- The 1930 Ashes was much the same. Outbowled by Tate again, as well as newcomers such as Ian Peebles.
- I won't refute any comments you made on the bodyline series as I am firmly of the belief it was quite easily his greatest series. He bowled excellently, by all accounts. But one series doesn't make the greatest bowler of all-time. Maurice Tate would be turning in his grave.
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