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Thread: Ian Bell'S 100th vs Graham Thorpe's 100

  1. #1
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    Ian Bell'S 100th vs Graham Thorpe's 100

    I wanted to do an Ian Bell 100th test tribute thread, but thought it would be interesting to do it in the context of a comparison with Graham Thorpe, who he effectively replaced in the England team and who played exactly 100 tests.

    Bell is, after 99 tests, marginally ahead in terms of runs scored (6787 compared to 6744), average (45.24 compared to 44.66), and centuries (20 compared to 16).

    Basically, their stats are as close to identical as you can get. But I think almost everyone would rate Thorpe higher than Bell. I know one obvious reason would be that people think it was harder to score runs in the first part of Thorpe's career than it was in the first half of Bell's career. But Bell has been part of four Ashes victories, the win in India, etc., things Thorpe never did.

    So, how do Bell and Thorpe compare at this moment?

    And what would Bell need to do to in the remainder of his career for him to be considered the better of the two?

  2. #2
    International Coach Pothas's Avatar
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    Thorpe second only to KP as the best England batsman during my time watching cricket, think he is still unappreciated.

    Can't believe Bell is playing his 100th test, like to think I have never wavered in my support for him, although that would probably be a lie. He played a really important role in the England actually being good phase, if he can now play the lead role in making them a half decent batting side again then that puts him up the list a good deal.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member stumpski's Avatar
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    Interesting one, and I agree that most people would rate Thorpe higher. He was our Border really, at least until personal problems caused him to lose focus a bit. Bell has played in a much stronger line-up while Thorpe's middle-order partners - Hick, Ramprakash, Crawley, even Hussain, were in and out of the side. While Thorpe exuded mental toughness Bell has been perceived, perhaps unfairly, as a bit flakey, and liable to fold under pressure. I think that criticism is less valid now than it was although even in Australia there were some a couple of soft dismissals. Neither has been seriously viewed as captaincy material, although Bell has said that he wants a couple of years in charge at Warks when his England days are over. And oddly, both started out bowling some part-time dobbers before jacking that in at an early stage.

    It's quite possible of course, as he's only 32, that Bell could be a fixture for a few years yet. Could end up finishing second to Cook in the runs table. His conversion rate is a good deal better than Thorpe's too.

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    International Regular OverratedSanity's Avatar
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    Bell being part of ashes victories and the win in India isn't a big plus, really. He's had a far better side around him than Thorpe did.

    Thorpe was one of the few English batsmen who managed to stand up to the Aussies and get tough runs. I'd hazard a guess he averaged close to 50 against them which is an outstanding effort. The thing that really seals it though is that until recently I believed Bell was a bit of a downhill skier, and rarely got the runs in crunch situations. He's gone a long way towards changing that in the last two years or so, however. And Bell hasn't really come close to achieving what Thorpe did by defying Murali and Vaas virtually single handedly to win a series in Sri Lanka and playing a crucial part in their win in Pakistan too. Thorpe also did well against virtually every side he played all over the world... Struggling to think of any country he didn't get runs. Again Bell is getting better and if he continues delivering the goods as he has recently, he could end up better. As it stands, though , Thorpe just achieved considerably more in his career than Bell has so far, regardless of what the average say .
    Last edited by OverratedSanity; 19-06-2014 at 10:51 AM.


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    Hall of Fame Member grecian's Avatar
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    Thorpe the better player, I rate him as best England-bat I've seen though, so I'm a bit of a fan.

    Bell has had too many runs were he's just looked out-of-his-depth. Could all change though of course, over the last few years he's finally looked the part against the best bowling, if he carries on for another 3 years he may well over-take.
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    Hall of Fame Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pothas View Post
    like to think I have never wavered in my support for him, although that would probably be a lie.
    that's so him
    Every 5 years we have an election and have to decide who are the least obnoxious out of all the men. Then one gets in and they age really quickly. Which is always fun to watch.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    If Thorpey had learnt a bit earlier how to come back next morning and start again he'd have been up there with the Pollocks and Sobers of this world, rather than just a bloody good bat

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    International Coach Shri's Avatar
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    He was part of an England side we outsiders could all condescendingly give a pat in the back to because there were almost zero ****s in the sides he played. Bell has actually achieved something for England so I naturally hate him. So Thorpe it is.

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    U19 12th Man ImpatientLime's Avatar
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    Last edited by ImpatientLime; 20-06-2014 at 09:08 AM.

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    International Coach flibbertyjibber's Avatar
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    Thorpe is one of my favourite ever England players, I love Bell but Thorpe was a class above him. Thorpe played in an era with far more very good/great bowlers too and his record is bloody good and was a lot better than any other England player of the same era.

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    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Two players of very similar class and similar achievement. I think it's hard to put one above the other.

    I bow to no-one in my admiration for Thorpe. But as ever we need to be mindful of how the passage of time distorts our recollections and judgments, particularly when comparing a current player with someone from a past generation. When we think about our favourite players of the past, particularly those we may have grown up watching, we remember their strengths and forget the full extent of their weaknesses and failures. We also tend to remember the good bowlers they faced (and don't get me wrong, Thorpe faced more than his fair share of them) and to forget the dross.

    We will do just the same with Bell once he's retired. We will remember that he had the ability to frustrate, but that feeling will fade into the background. What we will remember above all is that he scored a shedload of important runs with a beautiful and classical technique. We will remember his great innings against good teams, his match-winning and series-winning efforts. We will look back on the teams he played and see that he faced some terrific bowlers: Warne, Murali, McGrath, Steyn, Shoaib, Gillespie, Kumble, Harbhajan, Ajmal, Ntini, Vaas, Vettori, Zaheer Khan, Johnson.

    As to Thorpe, I think there's a tendency to (as Dubya might say) misunderestimate him as a mere nurdler, an accumulator. I never saw that at all. He was not fluid like Gower or Bell, but he was stylish in a compact way. I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed cricket more than the first two days of the first Test in 1997 when first we bowled the Aussies out for 118 and then Hussain and Thorpe put on 300 against a stellar bowling attack. Hussain's 200 is better remembered but Thorpe got 138 IIRC and it was a bloody outstanding innings.
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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about that IMO. The overriding feeling about Bell has been that he's an immensely talented player who has underachieved due to a tendency to give his wicket away a bit too easily - why would that change after he retires?
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    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    I know what you mean, but I think there's a subtle but real distortion that rose-coloured hindsight brings, especially when you're considering players of whom you have fond memories. Yes we will remember that Bell was flawed but the flaws gradually recede in the memory. To take the example of Graham Thorpe, his career was for a long time immensely frustrating in that he would fail to convert good starts into big scores. After 32 Tests he had scored 19 half centuries but only 2 centuries - which for a player whose ability and mental strength we are now praising is pretty underwhelming. What the team needed at that time was for its batsmen to score hundreds and he just didn't deliver. As time goes by the frustration which that caused at the time fades.

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    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I'm not sure about that IMO. The overriding feeling about Bell has been that he's an immensely talented player who has underachieved due to a tendency to give his wicket away a bit too easily - why would that change after he retires?
    If he finishes strong it may be forgotten. If Bell has another good Ashes he's possibly going to be overrated, which is incredible to imagine

    Bell has so much cricket left, almost a lock to go down the better player I reckon.
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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Thorpe's career pretty much coincided with my interest and involvement in cricket so Id probably feel more comfortable judging him than Bell.

    I never quite got the love for Thorpe. He was a decent/good player. Little more than that though that isn't anything to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Nothing wrong with being a B- player in a team of C level talent.

    I have always king of sneered at Bell but he has certainly grown as a player and is now, arguably, England's best batsman for the first time. Hard to accurately judge how he will go down in history until after he retires.

    All told, I think I would probably take Bell based on aesthetics.

    EDIT -- Perhaps I am being unfair and my assessment that I saw more of Thorpe's career may be inaccurate. I left England in late 2000 and watched far less cricket for a few years though I still followed it closely . From 2001 on Thorpe scored 2765 runs in 37 Tests at 55.30 with 9 tons. The Thorpe I knew and watched averaged 39.39 in 63 Tests with 7 hundreds.
    Last edited by Goughy; 21-06-2014 at 06:27 PM.
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