These paragraphs from Ashley Mallett's recent essay got me thinking about the idea of Greatness;
So what does it mean to be Great? Bradman seems concerned with averages, while Cardus compares great batsmanship to poetry. Headley and Worrell changed the way the cricketing community thought about race, and Tendulkar continues to inspire a nation. But then Grace and Ranji invented modern batting, Bosanquet gave us the googly, and there is a line of other cricketers who bought something new and exciting to the game.Bradman never really understood Trumper's genius. He would ask the likes of Alan Kippax and Arthur Mailey why they thought so highly of him. "How can you speak so glowingly of a batsman who averaged 39?"
Cardus saw both Trumper and Bradman at their best, but he maintained that you could not compare a batsman or a bowler purely on figures alone. Perhaps it was Cardus who could have best answered Bradman's question. "I am concerned with Trumper as an artist, not as a scorer of match-winning runs," he wrote. "You will no more get an idea of the quality of Trumper's batsmanship by adding up his runs than you will get an idea of the quality of Shelley's poetry by adding up the number of lines written by Shelley."
It is now 98 years since Trumper was laid to rest. But his name lives on and will do so as long as the game of cricket is played. The cricketing gods loved Trumper above all others, for whenever he strode handsomely to the wicket the crowd rose as one to applaud and even the blades of grass seemed to bow respectfully in the wake of the great man's entrance, becoming a rolling sea of green, nature's own version of a Mexican wave.
Ashley Mallett on Victor Trumper's death | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo
Greatness seems hard to define - but what is it to you?