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Thread: England's Finest Leg Spinner

  1. #1
    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    England's Finest Leg Spinner

    England's Finest Leg Spinner

    Either Doug Wright's figures don't tell the whole truth about his talents, or Sir Donald Bradman was prone to exaggeration. In this feature Martin takes a look behind the numbers

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Thought be the title this was about Titch Freeman.

    I hadn't heard of Wright before zorax brought him up on the podcast. Had to take a moment to process the notion that he was more informed than I was.
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    School Boy/Girl Cricketer Starfighter's Avatar
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    I remember somebody, it may have been Arthur Mailey (but I'm not sure) described his run up as being like 'a small boat rocking on a heavy sea'. Perfect description.
    There's a David Frith video which has him bowling Hasset with a perfect leg break (better than Bishoo's last year), but he was no doubt a victim of inconsistency due to the mechanics of his bowling action and run up. He was also a little temperamental according to Mailey.
    Quote Originally Posted by GIMH View Post
    On a bad day, Broad takes no wickets. Asif's bad days tend to be spent in prison.

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    International Debutant the big bambino's Avatar
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    No other cricketer's stats are so much at odds with his reputation. Its not only Bradman who rated him. So did Hammond, Miller, Ken Archer and Lindsay Hassett. The latter was a great player of spin and had many successes against O'Reilly and Grimmett. Yet Wright bettered him and is the most likely reason for Hassett's relatively disappointing record against England. Bill Woodfull called him the best bowler he had seen to visit Australia on viewing his bowling in the 46/47 series. There are just too many who should know that rated him to dismiss him on his average.

    On reflection I think there are good reasons explaining his high average. The majority of his tests were played just after the war when his opponent's batting was strong and the pitches roads. His career finished just as the bowler friendly pitches of the 50s became common place and the batting (especially Australia's) began to age and deteriorate. As a comparison Bedser struggled in the period 1946-1951 averaging 30. Even that figure was achieved courtesy of the sub standard pitches in the 50/51 series. Not that the change in pitch character would have suited Wright anyway. The conditions changed in favour of seam bowlers and finger spinners more so.

    The most perceptive comment I read about him came from an author who said he would have been an asset in Brearley's teams. He would have been an incisive shock weapon under a thoughtful captain and surrounded by support he didn't have when he made his tours of Australia. There he was forced to play a stock bowling role for which he was never suited.

    So yes an unlucky bowler who was much better than his stats. You'd like to play him on roads for his ability to produce the break through ball. Plus there always seemed to be at least one player in the opposition he seemed to master.
    Last edited by the big bambino; 14-02-2016 at 10:06 PM.


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    School Boy/Girl Cricketer Starfighter's Avatar
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    A minute in there's a very good side-on, slow-motion shot of Wright bowling. Shows his whirly action very well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the big bambino View Post
    On reflection I think there are good reasons explaining his high average. The majority of his tests were played just after the war when his opponent's batting was strong and the pitches roads. His career finished just as the bowler friendly pitches of the 50s became common place and the batting (especially Australia's) began to age and deteriorate. As a comparison Bedser struggled in the period 1946-1951 averaging 30. Even that figure was achieved courtesy of the sub standard pitches in the 50/51 series. Not that the change in pitch character would have suited Wright anyway. The conditions changed in favour of seam bowlers and finger spinners more so.
    That makes it sound like Wright didn't play in the 1950-51 series, which he did (11 wickets for 500).

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    International Debutant the big bambino's Avatar
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    Clearly that implication can't be assumed. I mentioned the period 46-51. Pretty certain 50 and 51 fall in that range. The reason Bedser benefitted in that series whereas Wright did not is explained in the last 2 sentences. On seaming pitches Bedser (along side Bailey and Brown) dismissed Australia before Wright could get a turn. Wright only ever got an extended bowl on the occasions when conditions flattened which were the circumstances in cameo summarising his whole career.



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