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Thread: Why is the lower middle order specialist so under-rated?

  1. #1
    State Vice-Captain
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    South Africa

    Why is the lower middle order specialist so under-rated?

    Collingwood is of course the prime example. He didn't have a great technique and he didn't look pretty. His average is also pretty mediocre. Yet he played a massive, massive role in the English team.

    The job: Fighting on for when the top order tumbled, helping the lower order keep off of strike and ultimately hitting out for when the top order did their job. The first two decreases the strike-rate and the latter decreases the average. Is it then a fair metric to compare the player with others in the team based on the statistics regularly used? How does this actually quantify the role that they play?

    It's an utterly thankless job, at least within the media. It is probably the most team player position you can have; while the top and the bottom order fight for glory, you fight for your team.

    There's been quite a few people that suffered worse statistics because they came in down the order. Another example besides Collingwood is S. Pollock, although his bowling made him a valuable asset in any case. I always thought he made for a better bat, but it never really materialised because he never truly had the position to play the role of a glory-hunting batsman.

  2. #2
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend zorax's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Hong Kong
    Laxman did that role for ages for India. Is being sorely missed now.

    Hussey does this job wonderfully for Australia. Before him they had Gilly down at 7 who could pull the team back from a collapse.

    Matthews is turning out to be that player for the Lankans. South Africa unearthed Duminy and now Faf when they both performed such heroics on their debuts.

    Prior does a good job at this for England. Vettori for NZ when he used to play. BD have usually gotten most of their runs through guys like Rafique, Masud and now Mahmadullah and Nasir who bat down low in Tests and ODIs.

    Can't recall off the top of my head anyone who has done that role for Pakistan or West Indies in the recent past (Hooper? Misbah? Ridley Jacobs? Moin? Latif? Wasim?)

    I don't think they've been overlooked or undervalued at all tbh. Most sides rate them highly really. Usually the keeper doubles up as this role if they're good enough with the bat.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Pune, India
    Yup... its a difficult place to bat.... ure expected to rebuild when the team's in trouble and get quick runs when the team is in a good position.
    VVS and Hussey both masters at it... theyve rescued their teams from hopeless positions so many times its not even funny... really do rate those two really high, because theyve played a role which demands a great deal of mental toughness and versatility in play.

  4. #4
    U19 Vice-Captain Rasimione's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    The best was Gilly. he was a brutal batting machine. but for me its a thankless position needing someone who understands cricket. for us Jonty was priceless with his no risk policy of stealing singles. Faf and Duminy look like they going to share the load going forward.

  5. #5
    U19 Cricketer
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    1st thing is the batsman has to be super consistent , with that in mind generally dour players tend to be under-rated as they look ugly doing it (OP has mentioned it as well) and their batting does not stick in you mind..if a player is swashbuckling nobody will under-rate the player(Gilly)..also if you are part of a team which has a super-duper star like India with SRT(Laxman was under-rated because of him may be) and WI with Lara( Shiv )..

  6. #6
    The artist formerly known as Monk Red Hill's Avatar
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    May 2012
    Border was very good at this late in his career. Has a dour rep, but the guy could really play some shots.

  7. #7
    State 12th Man turnstyle's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    I'd say he wouldn't be rated on here because someone would question why he's so low in the order. Can't he play the new ball?? He's mentally weak and can only make runs at 4-300 etc etc. But if he had played 30 years ago before forums, he'd be a hero.

    ....or something like that.

  8. #8
    U19 12th Man steve132's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    How is "lower middle order specialist" being defined for the purpose of this thread? There is a HUGE difference between players who bat at number 5 or 6 (and who would be considered recognized batsmen) and those who bat at 7 or 8. Allan Border is regarded as one of Australia's greatest batsmen. Garry Sobers spent much of his career batting at number 6. My ideal of a number 7 would be someone like Alan Knott, who could improvise, score quickly when needed and hold the side together in the event of an early collapse. He was not, however, a batsman comparable to Sobers or Border.

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