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Thread: Geoff Armstrong- The 100 Greatest Cricketers

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    International Regular Monk's Avatar
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    Geoff Armstrong- The 100 Greatest Cricketers

    Unsure if this book by Armstrong was reviewed on CW ever, but this thread stems from a discussion in the random auction draft about Martin Crowe not being included in Armstrong's list of 100 cricketers. Armstrong selects who he considers to be the 100 greatest, and then places them in 9 teams (plus his favourite, Doug Walters). Armstrong also writes an excellent bio on each of the players in the book. Anyway, do you think Crowe should have been in, and what do you think of the rest of the list?

    The first XI- WG Grace, Jack Hobbs, Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Graeme Pollock, Garry Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Imran Khan, Malcolm Marshall, Shane Warne and Sydney Barnes.



    The second XI- Len Hutton, Victor Trumper, Viv Richards, Wally Hammond, Brian Lara, Ian Botham, Alan Knott, Richard Hadlee, Dennis Lillee, Fred Spofforth, and Muttiah Muralitharan.



    The third XI- Sunil Gavaskar, Herbert Sutcliffe, George Headley, Greg Chappell, Frank Worrell, Kapil Dev, Wasim Akram, Jack Blackham, George Lohmann, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn McGrath.



    The fourth XI- Archie MacLaren, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Keith Miller, Wilfred Rhodes, Alan Davidson, Jim Laker, Godfrey Evans and Curtly Ambrose.



    The fifth XI- Barry Richards, Arthur Shrewsbury, Ricky Ponting, KS Ranjitsinhji, Denis Compton, Frank Woolley, Richie Benaud, Syed Kirmani, Ray Lindwall, Fred Trueman and Alec Bedser.



    The sixth XI- Virender Sehwag, Geoff Boycott, Rahul Dravid, Charlie Macartney, Javed Miandad, Mike Procter, Les Ames, Harold Larwood, Joel Garner, Bishan Bedi and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar.



    The seventh XI- Bob Simpson, Matthew Hayden, Rohan Kanhai, Neil Harvey, Ken Barrington, Monty Noble, Johnny Briggs, Wasim Bari, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and Charlie Turner.



    The eighth XI- Graham Gooch, Billy Murdoch, Clem Hill, Peter May, Dudley Nourse, Jacques Kallis, Ian Healy, Hugh Trumble, Fazal Mahmood, John Snow and Waqar Younis.



    The ninth XI- Stan McCabe, Herbie Taylor, Vijay Hazare, Clive Lloyd, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Andy Flower, Andrew Flintoff, Bill Lockwood, Jeff Thomson, Tom Richardson and Arthur Mailey.

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    State Vice-Captain harsh.ag's Avatar
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    So difficult to rank teams this way, especially after the 3rd XI. At a casual glance, major exclusions seem to be

    Spinners:
    Clarrie Grimmett, Anil Kumble, Erapalli Prasanna, Derek Underwood, Abdul Qadir
    Laker, Benaud, Rhodes and Chandrasekhar have been overrated

    Pacemen:
    Allan Donald, Courtney Walsh, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn, Colin Croft
    Holding, Roberts and Waqar are under-ranked.
    Bedser, Larwood and Lindwall have been overrated

    Batsmen:
    Gordon Greenidge, Kumar Sangakkara, Martin Crowe, Arthur Morris, Bill Lawry
    Perhaps Cook and Smith
    Shrewsbury is a welcome addition, but Murdoch and MacLaren do not merit a place here.
    McCabe and Kallis are under-ranked (Poor Kallis, again)

    Wicketkeepers:
    Andy Flower should be higher up, and Kirmani should be replaced by Farookh Engineer or Rodney Marsh

    The 4th and 5th XIs' bowling makes no sense whatsoever to me, given the options available. Too much all-rounder love going on. Need better bowlers in these two line-ups.

    Apart from that, nice work by the author. Just couldn't hide the fact that he is British, and is too afraid to leave Tendulkar out of the first XI (understandably )
    Last edited by harsh.ag; 08-02-2013 at 05:05 PM.
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    International Captain hendrix's Avatar
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    Hanif Mohammad is a bigger exclusion than Crowe, IMO

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    International Vice-Captain Days of Grace's Avatar
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    I own that book. It was written about five years ago, so I'm sure that if there was a second edition, Kallis would be moving up in accordance with the greater respect afforded to him these days.
    Greatest Ever Test XI: JB Hobbs, L Hutton, DG Bradman (c), IVA Richards, BC Lara, GS Sobers, AC Gilchrist (wk), Imran Khan, RJ Hadlee, MD Marshall, SK Warne 12th man: M Muralitharan


    Favorite XI: WG Grace, VT Trumper, IVA Richards, DCS Compton, FMM Worrell (c), AC Gilchrist (wk), CL Cairns, SK Warne, FS Trueman, SE Bond, T Richardson 12th man: H Larwood


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    State Vice-Captain harsh.ag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Days of Grace View Post
    I own that book. It was written about five years ago, so I'm sure that if there was a second edition, Kallis would be moving up in accordance with the greater respect afforded to him these days.
    Ah then Steyn, Cook, Sangakkara and Smith safely out of range. Why in god's name would he not include Donald and Grimmett and Kumble and Greenidge though.

    My major problem is that he is so blatantly pro-English, it is just sad. He should have titled the book 80 Greatest Cricketers and my English Favorites
    Last edited by harsh.ag; 08-02-2013 at 05:35 PM.

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    State Regular L Trumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harsh.skm View Post
    So difficult to rank teams this way, especially after the 3rd XI. At a casual glance, major exclusions seem to be

    Spinners:
    Clarrie Grimmett, Anil Kumble, Erapalli Prasanna, Derek Underwood, Abdul Qadir
    Laker, Benaud, Rhodes and Chandrasekhar have been overrated

    Pacemen:
    Allan Donald, Courtney Walsh, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn, Colin Croft
    Holding, Roberts and Waqar are under-ranked.
    Bedser, Larwood and Lindwall have been overrated

    Batsmen:
    Gordon Greenidge, Kumar Sangakkara, Martin Crowe, Arthur Morris, Bill Lawry
    Perhaps Cook and Smith
    Shrewsbury is a welcome addition, but Murdoch and MacLaren do not merit a place here.
    McCabe and Kallis are under-ranked (Poor Kallis, again)

    Wicketkeepers:
    Andy Flower should be higher up, and Kirmani should be replaced by Farookh Engineer or Rodney Marsh

    The 4th and 5th XIs' bowling makes no sense whatsoever to me, given the options available. Too much all-rounder love going on. Need better bowlers in these two line-ups.

    Apart from that, nice work by the author. Just couldn't hide the fact that he is British, and is too afraid to leave Tendulkar out of the first XI (understandably )
    Lindwall is overrated? No way, there is very good case to be made for him to be austraila's greates fast bowler coupled with his batting he is as good as any.

    As far as 4th , 5th XI considered,,

    Are you telling me below one is not a good bowling attack? You've gotta be kidding!
    Keith Miller, Wilfred Rhodes, Alan Davidson, Jim Laker, and Curtly Ambrose.

    Even 5th XI has bloody great fast bowling attack, and benaud is pretty good spinner and arguably best of his time.
    Frank Woolley, Richie Benaud, Ray Lindwall, Fred Trueman and Alec Bedser.

    As far as OP is considered, not just Crowe there are one or more other omissions too. But I agree Crowe should be there. If he selects it now Sangakkara would be a shoo in.
    And Greenidge , Hanif, Arthur Morris all are ahead of Gooch IMO. Above all I think Bruce Mitchell is the biggest omission

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    State Vice-Captain harsh.ag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L Trumper View Post
    Lindwall is overrated? No way, there is very good case to be made for him to be austraila's greates fast bowler coupled with his batting he is as good as any.

    As far as 4th , 5th XI considered,,

    Are you telling me below one is not a good bowling attack? You've gotta be kidding!
    Keith Miller, Wilfred Rhodes, Alan Davidson, Jim Laker, and Curtly Ambrose.

    Even 5th XI has bloody great fast bowling attack, and benaud is pretty good spinner and arguably best of his time.
    Frank Woolley, Richie Benaud, Ray Lindwall, Fred Trueman and Alec Bedser.

    As far as OP is considered, not just Crowe there are one or more other omissions too. But I agree Crowe should be there. If he selects it now Sangakkara would be a shoo in.
    And Greenidge , Hanif, Arthur Morris all are ahead of Gooch IMO. Above all I think Bruce Mitchell is the biggest omission
    I guess Lindwall can be called arguably better than Holding, Roberts, Garner, Waqar. Cool.

    In the 4th XI, Alan Davidson can be replaced by all the names above easily. Plus, Laker and Rhodes should be replaced by the likes of Grimmett and Kumble/Mailey. Of course it's a good bowling attack, I just don't think it is the 4th greatest of all time.

    5th XI, Bedser and Benaud need to be replaced. Grimmett, Mailey, Qadir, Kumble are all better than him easily. No need for another all-rounder.

    Yeah, Bruce Mitchell is a big omission, and come to think of it, so is Aubrey Faulkner. Faulkner will kick Flintoff's ass all year long. Better than many on that list. I am glad that Macartney was included though.
    Last edited by harsh.ag; 08-02-2013 at 05:57 PM.

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    International Vice-Captain watson's Avatar
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    to answer Monk's question: I think that Martin Crowe should have been included by virtue of the fact that he is New Zealand's greatest batsman, laid the foundation for series wins in the mid-80s, and was fabulous to watch as a spectator.

    Since Javed Miandad represents Pakistan as their greatest batsman (6th team), it seems fair that Inzy should make way for Crowe in Armstrong's list.
    Last edited by watson; 08-02-2013 at 07:58 PM.
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    International Vice-Captain watson's Avatar
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    The omission of Anil Kumble is indicative of Armstrong's philosophy when selecting his ATG players;

    Anil Kumble has taken over 500 Test wickets, but I believe this is proof of his enormous tenacity and durability, rather than his greatness. In my view, Kumble is not entitled to be ranked ahead of bowlers such as Bhagwhat Chandrasekhar, Hugh Trumble, Johnny Briggs, and Arthur Mailey, who all make the top 100, or even Abdul Qadir and derek Underwood, who did not.

    Page 12
    Geoff Armstrong prefers players who brought something new and exciting to the game, or inspired by their uniqueness. Successful, but 'run-off-the-mill' players seem to get the shaft for the most part.

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    Grimmett's exclusion is the biggest thing for me. He is easily one of the top 5 spinners of all time, imo. Find it hard to believe Hanif Mohammad and Bill Ponsford were left out.

    I also own this book and there was some definite disappointment when reading it. Kallis is underrated ridiculously. Even back then, he warrants far better than that.

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    International Vice-Captain watson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coronis View Post
    Grimmett's exclusion is the biggest thing for me. He is easily one of the top 5 spinners of all time, imo. Find it hard to believe Hanif Mohammad and Bill Ponsford were left out.

    I also own this book and there was some definite disappointment when reading it. Kallis is underrated ridiculously. Even back then, he warrants far better than that.
    Here is Armstrong's rationale for choosing McCabe over Ponsford (it again highlights Armstrong's selection philosophy);

    Question marks also existed over Ponsford's ability against very quick bowling. Footage of him batting against Larwood in Brisbane during the 1928/29 series - where the tourists made 521 in their first innings - shows him backing away as he faces the great English fast man. This seems more a problem of technique than courage, for four years later Ponsford was very brave, most notably in Adelaide when he made 85 and took a series of blows on the body. However, he was dropped twice during the summer, for the second and fifth Tests, as his footwork was consistently shown up by the speed and skill of Larwood and Voce. Compared to the way McCabe used his bat as D'Artagnan had used his sword, Ponsford looked very ponderous indeed.

    page 284

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    International Vice-Captain watson's Avatar
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    And here is a small part of Armstrong's rationale (it actually goes for 2 full pages) for preferring Mailey to Grimmett;

    Leaving Grimmett out to fit Mailey in this top 100 is extremely difficult. But the fact Mailey took an English wicket every 60.48 deliveries, a better Strike Rate than not just Grimmett, but also Jack Gregory and Ted McDonald, the outstanding Australian fast men of the 1920s is a compelling argument in his favour. Mailey's Strike Rate is also better than a number of other exceptional spinners from different eras, such as South Africa's Hugh Tayfield (79.81), India's Subash Gupte (75.73), England's Derek Underwood (73.61), Pakistan's Abdul Qadir (72.57) and India's Anil Kumble (65.48).

    Page 312
    Last edited by watson; 08-02-2013 at 08:20 PM.

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    International Regular Mike5181's Avatar
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    Fred Spofforth ahead of guys like McGrath? There's so many baffling selctions in there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post
    And here is a small part of Armstrong's rationale (it actually goes for 2 full pages) for preferring Mailey to Grimmett;
    Hmm, even though Mailey averaged almost 10 runs more than Grimmett, and ha a worse economy. Might have something to do with Grimmett averaging 65 overs a match.

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    International Vice-Captain watson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coronis View Post
    Hmm, even though Mailey averaged almost 10 runs more than Grimmett, and ha a worse economy. Might have something to do with Grimmett averaging 65 overs a match.
    The fact that Armstrong places more emphasis on Strike Rate rather than Average/Economy is consistent with his selection philosophy. Mailey was an exciting risk-taker and a unique/original cricketer, hence he was the greater player
    Last edited by watson; 08-02-2013 at 08:49 PM.

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