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Thread: Should we value limited overs cricket more highly when rating modern greats?

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Should we value limited overs cricket more highly when rating modern greats?

    This is topic that has come up in another thread, but given the err nature of that particular thread, I thought it could do with its own. If at all possible I'd like the major participant(s) of that discussion to keep their discussion in the thread it's already in.

    Firstly, I should make it clear that this isn't really about which format of the game you prefer or take more seriously. I'd gladly see the best ODI player in the world retire from one day cricket if I thought it might mean he averaged 2 more runs per dismissal with the bat in Test cricket, because while I watch a lot of one cricket, I don't really care for it in the way I do the multi-day/multi-innings stuff.

    But I'm beginning to think that isn't quite the point, because the players certainly don't think the same way. I've made the point on this forum before that it's unfair to judge players of yesteryear by how they'd fare in modern conditions because it wasn't their job nor their aim to develop a style suited to cricket 70 or more years down the track, and that their worth to their captains, their teams and themselves was determined by how they adapted to the conditions and standards of the time. I think the same applies to this situation; players aren't aiming to only develop a game for Test cricket, so why should we judge them based only on Test cricket?

    Shane Watson for example is a player I've long thought would be a far more effective four and five day cricketer had he never had to develop a game for limited overs cricket. He's sacrificed parts of his four day game to develop his limited overs cricket further, because that's what CA wanted of him, because that's what was going to increase his value (both monetary and on-field) and because it's all part and parcel of being a modern cricketer to develop a game suited to multiple formats.

    Someone like Pollard takes it a step further by seemingly having no interest in Test cricket at all. He's played less and less four day cricket domestically as time has gone on to a point where he now surely spends all his technical and physical training working on ways to improve his limited overs cricket. Personally I think this is terrible for the game but again, that's not exactly the point.

    The cricketers themselves clearly aren't conforming to our - or at least my - view that Tests should be prioritised above all else, and neither are the boards or the majority of the fans. So who are we to say otherwise when rating these players as cricketers? Of course it doesn't mean we can't have our own personal preferences and wishes for what and how these players develop but limiting ourselves to Tests only when rating these guys holds them to a different criteria than they themselves are shooting for. Developing a limited overs game is a big part of being a professional cricketer these days and I'm sure there are a lot of trade offs in skill development, so to ignore it is arguably as big a sin as me rating Vusi Sibanda and Daren Ganga as better batsmen then Chris Gayle because I enjoy watching them so much more. Players should be judged on how valuable they are as cricketers in the time they play; for a modern cricketer, one day cricket is a big part of that.

    The easy way out is of course to just rate them entirely separately, treating them as separate games and having different rating systems. A lot of CricketWebbers follow this model including myself, however I don't think it really works like that in reality for the cricketers involved. Some skills are applicable to multiple formats and some aren't, so they need to find the right balance to get the most out of themselves as overall cricketers. For some, the balance is different to others, and I'm beginning to think we should be looking at the package that is a cricketer rather than just the parts that interest us the most.
    Last edited by Prince EWS; 24-05-2013 at 12:35 PM.
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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Would appreciate it if people who wished to reply actually read the OP and didn't just answer the question, too, despite it probably being tl;dr material.

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    International Vice-Captain BeeGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    The easy way out is of course to just rate them entirely separately, treating them as separate games and having different rating systems. A lot of CricketWebbers follow this model including myself...
    This is the model I follow and endorse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    ...however I don't think it really works like that in reality for the cricketers involved.
    I don't care what the players themselves think. Most of them are self obsessed idiots whose opinion I have low regard for.

    The cricket watching public decide how cricket evolves and how it is perceived. Not the players.

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGee View Post
    This is the model I follow and endorse.



    I don't care what the players themselves think. Most of them are self obsessed idiots whose opinion I have low regard for.

    The cricket watching public decide how cricket evolves and how it is perceived. Not the players.
    My point was really more about what their jobs are and the value they present to their teams than what they think about it.


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    International Vice-Captain BeeGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    My point was really more about what their jobs are and the value they present to their teams than what they think about it.
    OK, but I still think that has to be divided along format lines.

    To me it's no different than saying, when we asses Jeff Wilson as a cricketer we should also take into account his performance when he played rugby for NZ because there is a crossover of skills.

    IMO, the formats are that different.

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    Cliffs - certain modern cricketers could have been/can be better at tests if they didn't have to focus on the shorter formats as well.

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGee View Post
    OK, but I still think that has to be divided along format lines.
    There's nothing wrong with saying X is a better Test cricketer than Y but Y is a better ODI cricketer than X. Obviously the games are very different, however if we're talking about how good a "cricketer" or an "overall cricketer" someone is or something similar, we should probably be taking both into account, and not just saying X > Y because only Tests matter. The reality of the matter is that it's a modern cricketer's job to develop a game for any or all formats to enhance his value.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGee View Post
    To me it's no different than saying, when we asses Jeff Wilson as a cricketer we should also take into account his performance when he played rugby for NZ because there is a crossover of skills.
    As much as I'd love to argue that it wasn't, limited overs cricket is still cricket; rugby isn't. If you were assessing Jeff Wilson as a sportsman then taking into all the different sports he played would be apt, and if you're assessing Jeff Wilson as a cricketer then taking into account all the different types of cricket he played makes equally as much sense to me.

    ---

    Truth be told, I'm only really playing devil's advocate. I love posting on a forum on which we'd all scoff in unison if someone tried to tell us Suresh Raina was as good a cricketer as Michael Slater. To me, if you can't defend your way to a draw and you have a set over limit then it barely qualifies as cricket at all, no matter which level you're playing it, so I enjoy our "Tests unless specifically stated otherwise" rule and the general consensus that someone's value as a cricketer should be measured by their ability to perform in Test and, to a lesser extent, First Class cricket.

    The fact that I enjoy it doesn't mean it's necessarily right though. Developing a game suited to the limited overs game, as I said in the OP, is a big part of modern cricket. It's something every modern cricketer will attempt to work on and perfect, sometimes to the detriment of their Test and First Class game, so in evaluating their place in the world as overall cricketers I don't really feel it's right to just ignore it.
    Last edited by Prince EWS; 24-05-2013 at 01:50 PM.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Furball's Avatar
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    It should play a huge role in how players are rated. For me, it seperates great players from very good ones, because truly great players can perform in all formats.

    To take a very modern example, Michael Hussey. Not only a very good Test batsman, he's (IMO anyway) the complete package when it comes to an ODI/T20 batsman - works the bowling around, lightning quick between the wickets so steals a lot of runs, and has the ability to clear the rope when he needs to. A fantastic batsman in all formats of the game; I'd have no problem ranking Hussey as a greater batsman than someone like Mahela Jayawardene, who might have better Test numbers but isn't as impressive in the shorter forms, because IMO Hussey's ability in the shorter formats is indicative of his greater adaptability and versatility as a batsman.

    Related to this, I'm always suspicious of players who only really excel at one form of the game. I'd much rather have an ODI batsman who averages 45 in FC cricket and 40 in List A than a batsman who averages 30 in FC but 50 in List A.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Agent Nationaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGee View Post
    This is the model I follow and endorse.



    I don't care what the players themselves think. Most of them are self obsessed idiots whose opinion I have low regard for.

    The cricket watching public decide how cricket evolves and how it is perceived. Not the players.
    Aren't majority of the fans idiots as well, since most of the people in the subcontinent don't even watch Tests. And it does seem to me we are heading to a bleak future where Tests might even get scrapped because of profit from LOIs for the boards. In addition more and more cricketers are losing the essential skills needed to play Test cricket because they are focusing too much on LOIs.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Furball's Avatar
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    In fact, Michael Hussey is probably the best overall batsman of the last 10 years.

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    International Vice-Captain BeeGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    As much as I'd love to argue that it wasn't, limited overs cricket is still cricket; rugby isn't. If you were assessing Jeff Wilson as a sportsman then taking into all the different sports he played would be apt, and if you're assessing Jeff Wilson as a cricket then taking into account all the different types of cricket he played makes equally as much sense to me.
    Well this is the whole crux of the matter, isn't it?

    I'll be dead in the cold hard ground before I accept that T20 is cricket, damnit! /oldmanrant

    Anyhoo, I think trying to rate players across formats would become so abstract and difficult as to render the exercise almost pointless.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Agent Nationaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GingerFurball View Post
    It should play a huge role in how players are rated. For me, it seperates great players from very good ones, because truly great players can perform in all formats.

    To take a very modern example, Michael Hussey. Not only a very good Test batsman, he's (IMO anyway) the complete package when it comes to an ODI/T20 batsman - works the bowling around, lightning quick between the wickets so steals a lot of runs, and has the ability to clear the rope when he needs to. A fantastic batsman in all formats of the game; I'd have no problem ranking Hussey as a greater batsman than someone like Mahela Jayawardene, who might have better Test numbers but isn't as impressive in the shorter forms, because IMO Hussey's ability in the shorter formats is indicative of his greater adaptability and versatility as a batsman.

    Related to this, I'm always suspicious of players who only really excel at one form of the game. I'd much rather have an ODI batsman who averages 45 in FC cricket and 40 in List A than a batsman who averages 30 in FC but 50 in List A.
    This is a good point. We use Tests to rank players but then ODIs to separate closely ranked players.

    I do agree with PEWS that the shorter formats are hurting the players chances of being better at Tests.

    For example T20 has certainly ruined their techniques. But then again you will always have your Sehwags.

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    International Vice-Captain BeeGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    Developing a game suited to the limited overs game, as I said in the OP, is a big part of modern cricket. It's something every modern cricketer will attempt to work on and perfect, sometimes to the detriment of their Test and First Class game, so in evaluating their place in the world as overall cricketers I don't really feel it's right to just ignore it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Nationaux View Post
    Aren't majority of the fans idiots as well, since most of the people in the subcontinent don't even watch Tests. And it does seem to me we are heading to a bleak future where Tests might even get scrapped because of profit from LOIs for the boards. In addition more and more cricketers are losing the essential skills needed to play Test cricket because they are focusing too much on LOIs.
    We may be in a transition period and we may be seeing the decline of Test and FC cricket. We may not like it, but it might be inevitable.

    We're sitting on our horses shaking our fists at those damn noisy automobiles that have started appearing all over the place.

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    The easy way out is of course to just rate them entirely separately, treating them as separate games and having different rating systems. A lot of CricketWebbers follow this model including myself, however I don't think it really works like that in reality for the cricketers involved. Some skills are applicable to multiple formats and some aren't, so they need to find the right balance to get the most out of themselves as overall cricketers. For some, the balance is different to others, and I'm beginning to think we should be looking at the package that is a cricketer rather than just the parts that interest us the most.
    The games are similar enough so that the vast majority if skills are transferable - e.g a Test cricketer is much more likely to be good T20 batsman than a baseball player might be, for example. However, the objectives, strategy and specific tasks that are asked of a player are separate enough so that I see comparing T20 and Tests as similar to comparing a bowler and a batsman. ODIs are of course somewhere in the middle between both and probably blur the lines a lot more. I'd probably come up with a system to create ODI + Test and T20+ODI type categories. Actually, I'd just come up with a Test and ignore the rest but in the spirit of the question, I think those two divisions are more useful. I think you're not going to get that much useful data after mixing all three formats. You might get a number or a list but for all practical purposes, the list will be completely meaningless because it won't really make sense for any of the three formats individually. And in fact your combined team might be quite average in each of the formats - because you've sacrificed so much. If the boards are moving towards creating relatively separate teams (and captains) for each of the formats, I think that's the sensible way to do it in terms of ratings as well.
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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    The games are similar enough so that the vast majority if skills are transferable - e.g a Test cricketer is much more likely to be good T20 batsman than a baseball player might be, for example. However, the objectives, strategy and specific tasks that are asked of a player are separate enough so that I see comparing T20 and Tests as similar to comparing a bowler and a batsman. ODIs are of course somewhere in the middle between both and probably blur the lines a lot more. I'd probably come up with a system to create ODI + Test and T20+ODI type categories. Actually, I'd just come up with a Test and ignore the rest but in the spirit of the question, I think those two divisions are more useful. I think you're not going to get that much useful data after mixing all three formats. You might get a number or a list but for all practical purposes, the list will be completely meaningless because it won't really make sense for any of the three formats individually. And in fact your combined team might be quite average in each of the formats - because you've sacrificed so much. If the boards are moving towards creating relatively separate teams (and captains) for each of the formats, I think that's the sensible way to do it in terms of ratings as well.
    Well, I was in no way suggesting that you should select the same team for each format, or that a combined rating system would have any practical use for selection (although tbf it'd be useful for determining central contract offers ). I was more just referring to how we evaluate a player's worth, success or standing in the game, or indeed how we'd answer a question such as "Was Michael Bevan a better cricketer than Michael Slater?"

    As much as I often wish it wasn't, limited overs cricket is cricket. You could make a compelling argument to suggest that given Michael Slater and Michael Bevan both played during a two-format era and both attempted to develop games for both formats, both those formats should be taken into account. Both failed in one and succeeded in another at international level but Bevan succeeded to a higher degree in his successful format and he conquered the other format domestically which Slater did not. You could replace Bevan's name with Raina's to make the whole thing seem even yuckier.

    With the formats becoming more distinctive and nations having more specialist squads as you said, does that not back up the idea that the definition for success as a cricketer needs to be changed or perhaps is already changing? Does it not make players who can play multiple formats successfully more valuable than those who cannot?

    It definitely is a bit like comparing a batsman to a bowler, but we do things like that all the time when we say Bradman or Sobers or Imran or whoever else is the best cricketer of all time. Or hell, even when we give out man of the match awards.

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