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Thread: Gavin Larsen - Quality, Average or Period Player?

  1. #1
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    Gavin Larsen - Quality, Average or Period Player?

    Watching cricket in the 1990s, I thought what this guy did was incredibly difficult, and took far more skill than many appreciate.

    The margin for error at the speed at which Larsen bowled is basically in the realm of milimetres.

    To put the ball consistently into a tiny area that renders you difficult to get away requires seriously high levels of focus, concentration and consistency of action.

    We've all used the term 'dobber' playfully, but those who scorn the art of the laser-accurate trundler should probably ponder why, if it's such an easy artform to get one's head around, did every ODI side in world cricket not have two such bowlers in their line-up?

    England messed about dreadfully with all-rounders and bits/pieces players in the 1990s. A dismal and quite obvious attempt to find a Larsen clone was one of their many failed experiments.

    The stats in the wicket column were usually unremarkable, and he basically averaged one per ODI, but his economy rate (even allowing for an end-of-career dip which I'll go into in a minute) was a mightily impresive 3.76.

    For a bowler to choke the scoring in such a way without the menace of 'wicket-power' is IMO akin to a boxer winning title contests without the means to deliver one-punch knockdowns, or a tennis player competing at the top of the world rankings without either a rocket serve or a booming forehand.

    The level of skill that goes into bowling that accurately on a consitent basis is phenomenal IMO.

    His test stats are also surprisingly good, and warranted further persistance in the format. I remember his debut quite well in '94, as he plugged away without much success or support, desparately trying to claw back some of what Heath Davis had flushed down the toilet.

    Something that should be stated in the interest of balance - there was a quite apparent slide in the last 12-18 months of Larsen's career as the ODI game was changing. Batsmen started consciously targeting him for the treatment, and I remember a couple of matches during the 1999 World Cup where they were operating from well outside the crease to steal the play.

    Would his type of bowler be as successful today in all but favourable conditions, with a more aggressive mindset being the norm from ball one? Almost certainly not in terms of runs-per-over, although more wickets to compensate are a near certainty also.

    Thoughts appreciated - thanks.

  2. #2
    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    I remember seeing him bowl the first time in the 1996 world cup - the match where Astle scored a century.

    Wasnt a remarkable bowler but had pinpoint accuracy. Quality player IMO
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    Yeah I remember Gavin Larsen. Always wondered what happened to him. But yes, he was superbly accurate and would frustrate batsmen to no end, but they sorted him out in the end, huh?

    Another very accurate bowler was John Traicos, the off spinner who played for Zimbabwe in the 80s when he was close to 40. He actually played for South Africa in 69-70 against Australia if you look him up. Another bowler who could just tie down one end.

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    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    Firstly Gavin Larsen was not slow. I've seen him crank up 137k during test matches. But he chose to be 125kish during ODIs, because it gave him maxumum amount of movement. But here and there he used to unleash a quicker ball then too.

    Larsen would have been a flop on flat beds today. Would have been mighty succesful on seaming wickets and uneven wickets of SL/BAN.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migara View Post
    Firstly Gavin Larsen was not slow. I've seen him crank up 137k during test matches. But he chose to be 125kish during ODIs, because it gave him maxumum amount of movement. But here and there he used to unleash a quicker ball then too.

    Larsen would have been a flop on flat beds today. Would have been mighty succesful on seaming wickets and uneven wickets of SL/BAN.
    I always thought 'right arm medium' didn't tell the full story - as you rightly say, he would mix the pace of his deliveries from slow-,medium right up to fast-medium, at least until injuries took their toll near the end of his career.

    Didn't see enough of his bowling in test matches to form a view as to why he was much better than one would expect, but his stats compare very favourably with most NZ bowlers of the time.

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    He's now first team manager at Onslow in Wellington club cricket. Looks shorter than most bowlers... seems very driven to get the best from the seniors.
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    Funny action, like he was pushing the sky away with his left palm. But I'd like to see footage where he reached 137 klicks/hr. Seems outlandish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arachnodouche View Post
    Funny action, like he was pushing the sky away with his left palm. But I'd like to see footage where he reached 137 klicks/hr. Seems outlandish.
    Would certainly like to see the stock delivery, followed by the quicker ball, to illustrate the point.

  9. #9
    International Coach Hurricane's Avatar
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    I don't believe he was 137. Unless he had a whole different run up in tests.
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    We must be talking before about 1996/97, after which he slowed down noticably and was really nothing more than a standard medium pacer.

    Can only imagine that 137kph (circa 85mph) was the odd ball here and there, and must have been the absolute limit of what he could manage off that run.

    I'd think 75mph in ODIs and 80mph in tests would be closer to the mark.

  11. #11
    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arachnodouche View Post
    Funny action, like he was pushing the sky away with his left palm. But I'd like to see footage where he reached 137 klicks/hr. Seems outlandish.
    Andrew Hall FFS bowled near 140k with his funny action. Larsen had a perfectly balanced economical action, and the pace is the last thing you note. Very similar to Abdul Razzaq in that respect. I never said he averaged 137k with the ball, but have seen some reaching that mark. He was more of late 120s in test matches.
    Last edited by Migara; 26-03-2013 at 09:00 AM.

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    Hall could do anything though. What a champ.

    Probably the most South African cricketer ever.
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    Hall of Fame Member honestbharani's Avatar
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    lol.. yeah.. kept for 49 overs in an ODI against India.. a tight last over means he gets called up to bowl.. Takes the gloves and pads off, picks the cherry and bowls 6 yorkers at 140 Ks.. Champ does not even begin to describe what he did that series..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazinho View Post

    England messed about dreadfully with all-rounders and bits/pieces players in the 1990s. A dismal and quite obvious attempt to find a Larsen clone was one of their many failed experiments.
    They had one, he was called Mark Ealham and he was bloody effective in ODI cricket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImpatientLime View Post
    They had one, he was called Mark Ealham and he was bloody effective in ODI cricket.
    Fair point on Ealham, who was a very good ODI player and not dissimilar to Larsen.

    Was more of a dig at England team selection and the fact that they went through a few failed options both before and after Ealham,

    Comment at least partially retracted.

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