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Thread: Early era batsmen

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    International Vice-Captain Monk's Avatar
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    Early era batsmen

    A thread on cricket's early era batsman (pre 1910) could be interesting.

    I have a specific question, and I wonder if anyone could answer it for me:

    It seems from about the 1920s on, an average of around 50 became a pretty decent indication of a top notch batsman. But before then, it was different.

    All the great early era batsmen have quite low averages compared to the great batsman from about the 1920s on. WG Grace, Trumper, Hill, Darling, Shewsbury and Giffen all have sub 40 averages (some low 30s), yet they are considered the very best of their era. Is there a specific reason/reasons for this? Were wickets more difficult? Were bowlers better? Was it a case of the competitive attitude of the time?


    Quite interested in opinions, and if anyone knows of anyone whose looked in to this extensively, I'd love a link or a reference. Thanks!
    Last edited by Monk; 25-01-2013 at 11:42 PM.

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    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    No doubt Burgey can help with your questions.

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    What effect did the horse-drawn roller have ?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Better pitches was one of the main factors, although they were already improving by the late 1890s when the Golden Age began, I suspect the main factor was an increase in tactical awareness - after the Great War the devil-may-care attitude of the Golden Age went - there were more professionals in the English game, and the batter's' income depending on weight of runs, so they took fewer risks, and the bowlers (rather more of whom were pros) weren't about to make their lives any easier

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    Better pitches was one of the main factors, although they were already improving by the late 1890s when the Golden Age began, I suspect the main factor was an increase in tactical awareness - after the Great War the devil-may-care attitude of the Golden Age went - there were more professionals in the English game, and the batter's' income depending on weight of runs, so they took fewer risks, and the bowlers (rather more of whom were pros) weren't about to make their lives any easier
    Yeah. The tracks were much improved from the 1890s onwards - almost overnight. You could make the argument that is takes a generation to learn their cricket on these tracks as children and develop their game to take full advantage of the batsman friendly conditions.

    Of course the game was also evolving. Pad play had been around years but was becoming less of a cowardly thing to do. Batsmen were getting in to line far more regularly and had 2 lines of defence. While LBWs rose dramatically, so did runs scored.
    If I only just posted the above post, please wait 5 mins before replying as there is bound to be edits

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    International Vice-Captain kyear2's Avatar
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    Just because they were the best of their era, doesn't mean they were automatically great. The level of cricket drastically improved after the first war and so did the pitches, so the rediculous bowling averages started to disappear. I generally don't rate players from before the war, in particular the bowlers, because not only have we never even see glimpses of them, for the mass majority we are not even sure what they bowled and the level of competition was generally weak.
    On the other hand, after the war we see the re-establishment of Hobbs, the emergence of Bradman, Headley, Hammond and Hutton, and though the batting conditions, especially in Australia were easier, we see players with modern techniques who would be able to thrieve today. We also see the emergence of better fast bowlers, though the Aussie pitches were peepared to an extent nulify them and encourage spin, they were al three of greatest ever spinners operating at the time, so there was always a challenge.
    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 | Waite+ | Procter3 | Steyn1 | Tayfield4 | Donald2

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

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    State Regular L Trumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyear2 View Post
    Just because they were the best of their era, doesn't mean they were automatically great.
    Yes, it does.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L Trumper View Post
    Yes, it does.
    Agreed, particularly WG, who was, at his peak, as dominant over his peers as Bradman was in the 1930s

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    Cricketer Of The Year Agent Nationaux's Avatar
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    I don't rate the good Dr and never will.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Nationaux View Post
    I don't rate the good Dr and never will.
    Why not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midwinter View Post
    What effect did the horse-drawn roller have ?
    Interesting question. Why do you ask ?

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    Cricketer Of The Year Agent Nationaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    Why not?
    No one has seen him play and there is no footage so why should I rate him? And if you say because he was better than his competition, then wasn't he the only one to actually take his cricket seriously as compared to everyone else and he was also a cheat.

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